In 2003, Janice – a devoted wife and mother of five – was diagnosed with breast cancer. She described the sickening panic and crushing fear her diagnosis caused.
I always thought that having breast cancer was the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman – and then it happened to me. Being told the diagnosis is just terrible. The shock is tremendous – overpowering. My mind raced through loads of images, which all ended with death. I wouldn’t see my children married, would never know my grandchildren – all my dreams and hopes smashed.
A friend of mine told me about Penny Brohn Cancer Care. I went to their website and found out about their courses and applied for a five day course. This was the first proactive action that I was able to do – and it gave me hope as I went into the hospital for the mastectomy.
After the operation, I went to the Penny Brohn Centre for the course. I was in a group of ten people, of all ages, all of whom had had a longer cancer experience than me – and two of the people there were terminally ill.
However, it was an enormously uplifting experience. Suddenly I was with people who would talk openly about cancer – their feelings – and share experiences and tips on how to cope. The professionals had designed a course where we had group discussions, learnt more about cancer, had one-to-one sessions with doctors, nutritionists and learnt how to look after our body, mind and spirit whilst we battled with the disease. I came home from the course with lots of tools to help me with my cancer experience.”
My cancer journey is now nearly seven years down the line. I’ve seen four children married, I’ve walked two of them down the aisle, I have one grandchild and one on the way. I now try to grasp life and enjoy it – go for important moments and important relationships. I feel truly fortunate to have had the support of Penny Brohn Cancer Care, which helped me to not only cope, but empowered me to live well.
“ Penny Brohn Cancer Care has enabled me to turn a devastating diagnosis into a very powerful, life-changing experience. It has enabled me to step back and reassess my life. It has given me the chance to live the rest of my life to the full.”