Janice Day - My Story

Janice Day - My Story

I was only 39 in 1996 when I found a thickened area in my breast. Married with two small children, miserable, overweight and unfulfilled, I went to the doctor expecting to be told it was nothing, but after an immediate referral, several tests, worried looks and consultations, the team eventually diagnosed multifocal-invasive-ductal-moderately-aggressive-carcinoma-of-the-left-breast, and gave me a 50/50 chance of surviving ten years.

I’m still here, twenty-three years later. Not everyone is so lucky, my cancer was moderately aggressive and fully aggressive cancers are much harder to overcome, so I hesitate to say that my actions and attitude directly contributed to my survival for fear of causing offence, and also because I can’t prove it, but I would be lying if I denied thinking that.

Here’s a quote from a Grantland Rice poem, which I learned at my mother’s knee:

For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played Game.

Surviving became a game to me, albeit a terrifying one, and I played it with a will. Chris Woollams had yet to create CANCERactive in 1996, and I didn’t know how to use the internet, so I had to cast around for information. Most importantly, I researched the efficacy of the treatment on offer.

I agreed to the surgery without hesitation; and following the mastectomy and reconstruction they identified that the cancer had spread into three of my axillary lymph nodes, which is why they suggested chemotherapy.

My research had revealed that chemotherapy wasn’t as effective with breast cancer in those days as it might be now, and there was even evidence that it was harmful. After much soul-searching and discussion, I chose to refuse it, along with the radiotherapy and tamoxifen hormone tablets.

Deeply affected by a passage in Beat Cancer with Nutrition, by Patrick Quillin, I took his advice and set about changing the environment in which the cancer had thrived: myself.

I acknowledged my sugar addiction and gave it up, in all its forms. Consequently, I lost seven stone and maintained a healthy weight thereafter.

I had spiritual healing twice a week and followed the teachings of Louise Hay. I did homeopathy, Tai Chi, Pilates and psychotherapy. I consumed fresh air, exercise, water and vegetables… lots and lots of vegetables. I sought fulfilment, becoming a writer and replacing my husband with an electric blanket.

It’s all there in my first book: Getting it off my chest: how I lost my breast and found myself.   

It was a long and difficult journey, but if I had to choose one thing to share with others, it would be this: whatever treatment path you choose to take, you need to know why you’re doing it. And you need to believe in it one hundred percent. CANCERactive will help you with that.  

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