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Jan's Story

About her story

"I am one woman among hundreds of thousands of women who are learning to be courageous, and to overcome, and to live in the face of cancer."

Jan was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in June 2009 after undergoing a routine bone scan for an unrelated injury. A wife and mother, Jan described her initial diagnosis as a complete shock.

"I remember just the sensation of having the wind sucked out of my lungs, a sucker punch, or something that stops you mid-stride," says Jan about her diagnosis. "And then as you begin to breathe again, there's this one million questions that circle your mind. "

Realizing that her family needed her and that she had some things she still wanted to accomplish, Jan decided to fight. Her touching story of survival and hope is an inspiration to anyone facing the difficult journey of breast cancer.

Related Questions

  • Traciann brundage Profile

    I have the worst taste in my mouth and can't get it out. (have tried everything) Everything from candies to ice cream to chocolate to food lettuce. Any ideas? (have thrown up 5 times from the taste)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Sandy Zenda Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I replaced silverware with plastic until that metallic taste left. Hope this helps you.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Traciann,
      ARRRGH! You have THE TASTE! Since this is making you nauseated to the point of vomiting that may times, you need to contact your onc. I would give Altoids a try (you know... the "curiously" strong mint) Peppermint is a natural stomach soother. Foods tasted lousy to me and there was...

      more

      Traciann,
      ARRRGH! You have THE TASTE! Since this is making you nauseated to the point of vomiting that may times, you need to contact your onc. I would give Altoids a try (you know... the "curiously" strong mint) Peppermint is a natural stomach soother. Foods tasted lousy to me and there was not a lot that was acceptable. Hang in there but you can't keep vomiting, stomach acid is VERY tough on your teeth! Not to mention dehydration. BIg hugs, Sharon

      Comment
  • Jackie Valencia Profile

    How long can you live with stage 4 breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Dear Jackie,

      If you go to Adjuvant! Online - make sure you have obtained a copy of your histopathology report and have it beside you - register on the site - anyone can register as a Dr - its not illegal to do so - and get your log on - confirm your log on via your email - then log into...

      more

      Dear Jackie,

      If you go to Adjuvant! Online - make sure you have obtained a copy of your histopathology report and have it beside you - register on the site - anyone can register as a Dr - its not illegal to do so - and get your log on - confirm your log on via your email - then log into Adjuvant! Online again, put in your log on name and password, click on breast cancer, input all your stats from your histopathology report and hey presto, up comes the survival stats for your particular situation. You can play with the reporting data by selecting different treatments to see what stats come up - which ones extend life and those that don't. You can also present your stats in different ways eg., how long the disease statistically reduces ones overall lifespan, how long statistically as breast cancer specific free, and so on. I found Adjuvant! Online the most useful tool especially as many on line forums on this issue tend to present [to my mind] overly optimistic anecdotes because of course only those who survive are here to post. Similarly I found most health care professionals prefer to turn themselves inside out than give a straight forward answer. Their usual line is everyone is different/what would be know/it depends - then they always tell you some uplifting anecdote about someone who is still going after 23 years! That of course is true - as far as it goes - but the reality is the survival stats are well established and while there can be enormous variation, some patients such as myself find it enormously informative and empowering to know exactly what the stats say is the normal or average course of my disease. Patients right to know is not , however, given the respect legally,ethically and morally entitled due. If you are over 18 and not so mentally ill you cannot make rational decisions for yourself, if you want to know this information, then you are entitled to it.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Jackie, I'm stage IIIc and have spoken to several stage IV ladies that have been living with cancer for years. There's an awesome discussion group on breastcancer.org that has helped me a great deal. It's nice to be able to share your story with someone that's been in your shoes. The ladies...

      more

      Hi Jackie, I'm stage IIIc and have spoken to several stage IV ladies that have been living with cancer for years. There's an awesome discussion group on breastcancer.org that has helped me a great deal. It's nice to be able to share your story with someone that's been in your shoes. The ladies there are awesome.

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Stage 3c - is this serious without getting treated?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I have stage 3C as well. Yes, it is extremely important that you get treated! Stage 3C has extensive lymph node involvement. Our stage is one step from stage 4 and could easily turn into 4 if left untreated. Stage four is when breast cancer metastasizes (spreads) to other organs, such as bones,...

      more

      I have stage 3C as well. Yes, it is extremely important that you get treated! Stage 3C has extensive lymph node involvement. Our stage is one step from stage 4 and could easily turn into 4 if left untreated. Stage four is when breast cancer metastasizes (spreads) to other organs, such as bones, liver, brain, lungs, etc. I'm not trying to scare you but I want you to be one of the survivors! Please get treated. Some people say the treatments are worse than the disease. Not true in my opinion. Sure, the treatments don't make you feel good....BUT it doable! And you want to live!

      2 comments
    • Kris Shortridge Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes it is very serious. I am a stage 3 also. Without treatment, the cancer will spread to other organs

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My mother in in law underwent breast cancer surgery in last month. Now chemotherapy is under progress. What care should we take in house to prevent any infection from our one month old infant?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      So true Sharon & Anne! Your mother-in-law must be very careful to prevent any infections. Chemotherapy lowers the immune system & she'll be more prone to getting sick with colds, etc. Thank God I never became sick when I was going through chemo even though my blood counts bottomed out several...

      more

      So true Sharon & Anne! Your mother-in-law must be very careful to prevent any infections. Chemotherapy lowers the immune system & she'll be more prone to getting sick with colds, etc. Thank God I never became sick when I was going through chemo even though my blood counts bottomed out several times.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Maybe you have the question turned around. It isn't that your mother-in-law will pass something to your 1 month old but if your baby becomes sick with a virus, your mother-in-law is vulnerable to viruses and infections. With chemotherapy comes the lowering of her immune system. If anyone gets...

      more

      Maybe you have the question turned around. It isn't that your mother-in-law will pass something to your 1 month old but if your baby becomes sick with a virus, your mother-in-law is vulnerable to viruses and infections. With chemotherapy comes the lowering of her immune system. If anyone gets sick in the house, practice scrupulous hand washing, and cleaning of surfaces the sick person touches. While I was going through chemo, I never picked up a cold, etc. because we were very aware of my vulnerability. This attention to detail will help keep mother-in-law from battling an outside infection along with just getting through chemotherapy.

      Comment

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