#25 Young Breast Cancer Survivors

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While the average age for a breast cancer diagnosis is 55, an alarming number of women under 40 face this life-altering reality each year. This episode delves deep into the distinctive struggles of these younger warriors, painting an intimate picture of their journey.

Join us as we converse with Janelle Linares, diagnosed at a tender age of 33. Now a mentor with 'Women Guiding Women,' Janelle provides a heartfelt account of the trials unique to young survivors. From the maze of emotional challenges to the search for specialized resources, she illuminates the path for those navigating this difficult terrain.

Tune in to gain insights, draw strength, and discover the manifold avenues of support available for these brave souls. Whether you're a survivor, a loved one, or just seeking knowledge, this episode offers a profound blend of empathy, expertise, and empowerment.


Referred to in this episode:

Women Guiding Women

Young Survivor Coalition

Janelle Linares



Read the full transcript here: 

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Let's get started. Hello, I am Laura Lummer. And you are listening to Episode 25 of the breast cancer recovery coach, thank you so much for downloading this episode. And for listening to this show. If you're a regular listener, or if you're brand new listener and you get something positive, out of listening to the breast cancer recovery coach, I would love it if you could take the time to just go to the iTunes Store and leave a positive review or click on a couple of stars and make it that much easier for other survivors to find this show and maybe here's some information that they need as well. So the month of April is just about to wrap up. And in this month, there were two very special national awareness events. And one of those events is something that's particularly personal to me. This month is actually national testicular cancer awareness month. And testicular cancer is the disease that took my brother's life when he was just 32 years old. Many people don't know as I didn't know when our family didn't know when my brother was diagnosed. Testicular cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men aged 15 to 44. And it's actually just as important for young men to be practicing examining their testicles for lumps as it is for women to be examining their breast violence. According to cancer dotnet, more than 8000 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, and more than 400 will lose their lives to this disease. Now I know in comparison to breast cancer numbers, that's a pretty small number. And maybe you think that that's just not something that's that significant to worry about. But when one of those 8000 people or one of those 400 is someone that you love, trust me, that number can be very impactful. So in honor of testicular cancer awareness, and in honor of my brother, Randy Lummer. If you have men in your life that you love, please educate them on the importance of checking themselves for lumps, and the super, super super importance of getting medical attention as soon as they find any kind of abnormality because it may be something that saves their lives. Okay, so the first week of April was also national young adult cancer survivor awareness, and that's what we're going to be addressing in this show. The website young survival.org says that more than 12,000 cases of breast cancer will occur in women under the age of 40, and more than 26,000 under the age of 45. Every year, over 1000 women under the age of 40 lose their lives to breast cancer. And for those who survive they often face special challenges in managing their new bodies, along with the demands of life that at that age can often include very young children, new marriages, establishing new careers. In this show, we're going to talk with Janelle Lynn ARIS. Janelle is a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 33. She's also a breast cancer mentor with women guiding women at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. And she's going to share some insights with us from that perspective of a young survivor. As a breast cancer recovery coach, one of the things that I find most important for survivors is supporting them in tuning into their own bodies, in learning to trust their own intuition about what's right for them and their lives. And then the other thing is to help them understand that they're not alone, and that the struggles that they deal with happened to other cancer survivors as well. And why this is important is because you need to know you're not crazy. You need to know you're not weak or incapable of dealing with the quote unquote, normalcy of life. And I think that Janelle does an excellent job of sharing here, her own experiences, and how she relates to these struggles, both physically and emotionally. I really appreciate the raw honesty that she uses in the show and her passion in supporting and empowering other young survivors and other survivors in totality. And I think you'll appreciate it, too. So without any further ado, let's get to it. Welcome to the breast cancer recovery. Coach. Janelle, thank you so much for being here today.

Well, thank you, Laura, for having me. I appreciate it. Yeah, it's

my pleasure. So we're gonna get started about talking about what your diagnosis was and what was happening with you and your Life at that time of your diagnosis, what you had to go through, and then we'll move into some really special concerns that young survivors have, maybe a lot of people don't recognize or think about. And I know in us talking earlier in, these are things that you became aware of once your treatment ended, that you didn't really realize we're going to be an issue. So how old were you at diagnosis.

So I was 33 years old, at the time of diagnosis, and I actually my husband felt a lump in my left breast, and after he felt it, I definitely felt it as well. And thought it was just a lot that maybe would have was a cyst and would go away with my normal cycle. And it didn't go away. So after about eight weeks, I finally decided to call my primary care doctor, and my primary care doctor sent me immediately to get a mammogram. And after my mammogram, I was sent to the ultrasound room. After the ultrasound claim, came up with something they asked me for me to do an immediate biopsy. So within a span of three hours, I went from having a mammogram to having a biopsy. They told me the next that they wouldn't be here until at least Monday. So just enjoy my weekend. Oh, yeah.

Enjoy your weekend waiting to find out if you have breast cancer. I love that.

The funny thing was, I was supposed to go away for the weekend. And I was like, okay, sure, I'll just do all of this. And I'll go away. And I'll just forget everything that I just went through on Thursday. But anyhow, Friday morning, I was at work, and my phone rang and 1145 in the morning. And once I picked it up, and they said it was the breast center with a social worker on the phone. I just knew right away, I was diagnosed. Yeah, of course, that was pretty rough. They told me I was going to be in good hands, and just said, we already sent your file to an oncologist and our breast center. And we'll follow up with you next week. So Friday evening, I get a call from my primary care doctor and just said, Janelle, I am so sorry, you're gonna be going through this, and we already scheduled an appointment for you, you're gonna go Tuesday morning, we're just they're not going to know very much, because you've already you've only had the biopsy, you're gonna need to start doing a lot of preliminary tests.

Yeah, so you went through the whole gamut? I think in my opinion, of treatments. So what did you have done?

After all, the testing came in, I ended up being stage to be slash three, a ductal invasive ductal carcinoma, I was er for positive PR, negative h2 hair to positive. Okay. So the regimen that they wanted to put me on was to start chemotherapy first. See what chemotherapy could shrink before we moved on with a lumpectomy? Okay, so I went through the six rounds of chemotherapy. And what really surprised me about chemo was I tolerated it so well. It's great. Every cycle that I had, I had a different typical side effect. But I never had like the gamut of what people go through. When you think of chemotherapy. I wasn't bedridden, I worked through it, I was still able to be a mom. To some degree. Yeah, you know, it, I really felt like I had the flu. I had just a constant flip. Okay. And that really surprised me. I was expecting just to be in bed. Just not doing very well, during the chemotherapy sessions.

Yeah, I think that's another thing that I have found that, obviously, people are terrified right at the idea, the thought I have to go through chemotherapy. And personally having had a sibling who went through chemotherapy almost 30 years ago. That was the image that was in my head, having seen what he went through. And so moving fast forward, we have so many drugs now to manage the side effects of chemotherapy, that were even though the chemotherapy itself really hasn't evolved too much. It's evolved some, but some of the same drugs are used now that were used, you know, 30 years ago, but the drugs have been developed to manage that make the chemotherapy experience so much less deadly and more tolerable for a lot of people, which is a blessing, you know,

right. And what I did learn through that exactly, what you said is that there are drugs to manage all the side effects. And so that's when I had to learn to be my own advocate. And I really became self aware of what I was dealing with and what I was feeling and my symptoms, contacted my doctor and my doctor was able to prescribe something that would help me tolerate it better. So that was definitely a learning curve of having to learn to advocate learn to realize what I was going through and what symptoms I had and just saying this is not my normal anymore.

Well, I think it's something so important about having people like you and I, and engaging with other survivors is exactly what you just talked about. Because when I was going into treatment, I had a friend who had had breast cancer. And that was something she said to me, there is something that can help you through everything you're going to experience. Do not be shy, ask if you're uncomfortable, if you're miserable, talk to your doctor, there's something they can do for you. And I still think a lot of people, well, I think that people would kind of shy away from being their own medical advocate, because they, they feel that it's being controversial, or you know that they're too outspoken. But really, your doctor doesn't know what he doesn't know, or he or she doesn't know. And until you say this is what I'm feeling, they have no idea that that's something they need to be treating. So it's so so, so important to be the squeaky wheel and let them know, this is what's happening. I needed help, and there is help available. So I think that's a great point.

Doctors appreciate that, because they want to be there for you. They want to be able to help you. But if you don't tell them what you're going through, they can't help you. So let your medical team help you through this. Right. I'm there to help you.

Yes, I agree. So you had chemotherapy, and then then that was followed by your lumpectomy? Correct. Is that right? Correct. So

I had a lump back to me. What happened ultimately, when we got the pathology report from the lumpectomy was the tumor shrunk, but there was still some key some cancer cells still alive in the breast tissue that they removed. And I did not get clean margins. So because there was still viable cancer cells alive, they suggested that I have additional rounds of chemo. And a secondary lumpectomy. Well, I just started to grow my hair back, I had this little baby peach.

And I was like, I want to lose.


Let's let's look at my options. So honestly, I just I was over chemo, I just I wanted to move on. And that viable breast tissue comment just really kind of sat not too well with me. So I went to go get a second opinion. And that's where I learned. second opinions can kind of give you have a different perspective and a different look on what your situation is, and can really help determine your next route. And, and of going to the city of hope that surgeon at City of Hope said she would do on this Oh, which by the way, she was 32 years old. Okay, so my breast surgeon was younger than me.

But just a great identifier and oh, somebody be able to really connect to Yeah,

wow, I was like, That's awesome. Yeah. So I opted. Just at that point, like I said, I had little peach fuzz growing back, and I'm like, You know what, we're going to remove the breast. So at that point, it became reconstruction 101, because I didn't even look at reconstruction options during chemotherapy time, because I just assumed a lumpectomy would be fine. And I would move into radiation and call it good, right? I went out with a plastic surgeon and he explained his process. And I was like, alright, Sign me up.

Let's talk about that for a second. Because I think this is something really important to touch on. Because once you get into that system, the system of medical care because you have a diagnosis. It's so frightening. And you have it's so complicated. There's so much going on. And externally, I don't think people realize that unless they've gone through that experience. And if you're new to that experience, one being your own advocate, as you just talked about is so important, and to emotionally dealing with the way that time is handled. Because when you have a diagnosis, you're thinking get this out of me I don't want to die. Number one thought I don't want to die. I want to survive this. And then you call to make an appointment and you're thinking I'll be ready tomorrow morning at five o'clock get in there and then I see in six weeks and you're thinking oh my god, what's gonna happen? Will I be alive in six weeks? Will it spread in six weeks? It's really, really difficult sometimes. And it's hard because we don't know what we don't know. We don't know the doctors understand how cancer progresses or that this is safe or whatever, whatever. And so it's terrifying. And it can be a really frustrating part of this whole process. And again, we have to encourage women and empower women step back. It's your life.

Yeah. So it is important. And the funny thing was about your receipt about getting a second opinion. Two things I want to touch on that was my doctors encouraged me to get a second opinion, excellent dad, they helped me prepare my medical records to send to Sydney. I hope. So. I so appreciate my medical team at Memorial because they really encouraged me to become my advocate talking with so many other women who have been gone through treatment, there are so many doctors who get offended by that. And now my you know, that kind of scares me that they don't want you to get a second opinion.

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And then they put that patient, on the defensive, if your doctor is acting offended, you feel like you don't have the right. And it is just so important to keep informing women, this is your life. This is your body. You have to if it's, you know, emotionally or not even part of your character, to stand up for something like that. bring someone with you, who's not afraid, bring someone with you, who can advocate for you, who can stand up for you and say, no, no, no, no, we're going to get as much information as possible. And we're going to make the decision. Because as you were just talking about, you had a lot of decisions to make along this road. Am I going to take this route? Am I going to take that route? Now here's more information on what's changed. Now here's a new set of choices that I have in it is rare that cancer treatment is just this linear progression. There's always these little curveballs that come in, and I think most people will I know I sure as hell didn't know it until I was in it, you know, and I'm sure we have no reason to know it. So when you get in there, it's and it's also I think, good to have a partner, or a support person with you. Because you're freaking tired, you know, and you've gone through all this chemo, and you may have chemo brain and you're fatigued, and you're not feeling well. And you it takes some level of emotional strength to continually be your advocate to ask questions. And, you know, to not stand up to a doctor, but to really have your voice with your physician. So yeah, I think that's awesome. And more and more physicians need to realize how they come across like that bringing you into the team for your own care is and that's one of the reasons why Long Beach Memorial is just so such a great facility. Oh, absolutely, absolutely sound like a commercial for them.

Well, the second thing I wanted to say was, I ended up going through the support group, the weekly support group at Long Beach Memorial. And every woman that I met in that support group, I took from them whether it was the courage to shave my hair, because the 65 year old woman came in rock and her newly shaved head and was like, This is how I want to look like her when I lose my hair. Right? Wrong. That, you know, gi Jane.

That was my Halloween costume while I was going through chemo.

The other thing I took from that support group was to be an example of how you want to go through it. You can either be very resentful, and bitter and nasty and cranky. Or you can just, you know what, I'm going to make my lemonade, and I'm going to make the best of it. And I'm going to rock what I got.

That's right. What Let's talk for a minute about you. I know you took advantage of the support groups, which is awesome. And I love hearing how that benefited you. You are clearly at being diagnosed at 33 way below the average age of diagnosis. So what did you feel as different for a young survivor being diagnosed at a young age? In that whole experience? Of course, we have similarities between you know, what you experience in treatments or how you make decisions, but as far as where you're at in a stage of life, what were you feeling and then how did you deal with that?

Well, you know, walking in the support group walking into chemotherapy rooms, I was always the youngest in the room. Always. And you know, I didn't realize how lonely I was. I was I had a child. I had a four and a half year old son who didn't understand why mommy was losing his hair. Didn't understand why I couldn't cut or run after him in the kitchen because Mommy why I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep. You know. But, you know, it was very lonely. Reflecting back I when I said I connected with a lot of women, but they were grandmas. Yeah, kids were, you know, or their kids were later in life they were out of the home. So, you know, from listening to them. Honestly, I felt a little bit more fortunate only in regards because I never had time for myself. Pity I had a husband and I had we just bought a home. You know, we're trying to get situated in our new life. And wham. Yeah, I ended up also explaining to my son why mommy couldn't have another baby. You know, he wanted for a while mom have another baby. I want to be a brother. I want to I want a little brother. Well, that was another thing I got hit with was my fertility.

So what are the what are the implications of going into chemotherapy with regard to fertility?

Well, for the most part, you go through menopause. And it shuts down. Chemotherapy can shut down your ovaries and your entire female system. And it kicks you into something we'll call chemo pause is medically induced menopause. And the funny thing about that was I started to go through I started chemotherapy in October, and in December, I woke up one middle the night completely drenched, I mean, head to toe soaking wet. And I was like, What the hell is yes,

I just welcome to Hot flashes.

The funny thing was so that then my next doctor's appointment, I went and I explained to my oncologist I said, I don't know what's going on, but I'm just sweaty and hot. I just, I wake up drench in the look of absolute some sympathy My doctor gave me was like, Oh, honey, this is menopause. I needed someone medical to tell me what I was going through. I knew it. I read it, but I couldn't digest it until my medical profession said, Nope, that's menopause. Yeah. When I was first diagnosed, my doctor, my oncologist did recommend I talk with my OBGYN and suggest fertility or if I wanted to save my eggs

to so is there a chance if you I'm sorry, Joe. But if you go into menopause, let's say that you come back out of it after a year or so and you started having cycle is there a higher probability that the eggs you still haven't been damaged by chemotherapy and might result in some kind of birth defects? Is that a concern? No, I

don't know. There is any side effects from having pregnant having pregnancy afterwards. But I'm a six and a half year survivor. Now, as a survivor that has met so many other young breast cancer survivors, I want to say you can have a baby afterwards, yay. You can have a beautiful baby that you went through fertility treatments to harvest your eggs beforehand. There are there's also adoption, if you decide not to go that route. There are other ways of extending your family.

Right. But it's important to know that that's you know, that's a consideration that even me, I was diagnosed at 48 I already had four children. My youngest was 12. And this is always a distinction you know, with a young survivor with someone who's diagnosed at that early age. Are you done having a family? If not, how do you deal with that? How do you plan for that? It's a huge component that you know, being diagnosed at a later age just doesn't evolve typically,

right? Even if you don't have breasts, you still have your girl parts to have a baby. Don't just count. Not don't discount you can't getting pregnant because you don't have breasts,

right? Yeah, breasts and a uterus and a vagina are very different. Working parts her just

to stop stressing out like you can have a baby you don't need. There are ways later on. You know, we all go through a different journey. And now like I said, six years later, I've met many women who had beautiful babies afterwards and all natural. Yeah. Oops. So you know it's there is life after cancer. And don't think just because you have a diagnosis that it's the end all it's there are options out there. But that is something as a young survivor you need to process and deal with and as you're dealing with parents heard as you're dealing with trying to get your kids to school and homework and life, you're dealing with medical appointments and trying to get your health put on track and dealing with that, again, dealing with healing, having to explain that my son that mommy wasn't going to be able to hug him and cuddle him for months, weeks. Who knows how long it was going to be? Because Mommy's gonna have some Yes, yeah, always on her chest. So, you know,

difficult and as you said, you you viewed it as a positive because of what you had to keep you busy as compared to someone with the later diagnosis. And me having a later diagnosis in life, when I come across women like you that I deal with, I think, Oh, my God, thank God, I did not have to deal with all of that, because it was already hard enough as it is, how in the world do they have the energy to be taken care of small children. And I also have older children who could help with everything and a lot of family and stuff. But I have just a tremendous amount of respect and empathy for people diagnosed at a young age that have young children and have to deal with a very different life than someone who is older, you know, right. Yeah. Right. So what did you do? Janelle? You know, you said you felt very lonely and in the support groups, and you did have all this stuff to deal with. So you did some things with Todd cancer pavilion, I know you become an advocate for young survivors. So let's talk a little bit about your first experience with finding support with other young survivors. And then what you're doing as a result of that.

When I was first diagnosed, the women guiding Women program was really there for me. And I heard about this young young cancer group called the Young survivor coalition. But they were a national organization based on the East Coast. And I was like, I don't want to reach out to a national organization. I just, I just wanted local. Well, the survivor coalition hosted a one day summit in our conference in Long Beach at the hotel Maya, okay. I think I was the first person to sign up. And I walked into the hotel Baia, to a group of about 100 young survivors. And I'm tearing up now thinking about it, because it was the first time in five years, I was not the invisible room. And what an amazing feeling that was. So anyway, that day had forever changed my life. So I reached out to Randall at the hospital and I said, I need your help. I want to start a young survivor group bites I want to they have a face to face Meetup group that anyone can represent the young survivor coalition. And start a is called Face to face Meetup group where you just connect with young survivors in your local area. So once I met several people from the Long Beach area, I was like, You know what, if no one else is going to be the one to connect us well, my gosh, I can do it. I'm gonna do it. I worked with Randall and she went through the whole hospital approval process and has allowed me to utilize one of the meeting spaces at the Tod Cancer Center once a month to connect with other young survivors. I've been fortunate enough to have Dr. Farragut come and stop by who is the director of the psychosocial services at the top Cancer Center come by and was just well at our first meeting and we've had a gal who to teach us deep breathing and meditations techniques. I want us to be able to connect with others that just get it and connected with a breast cancer survivors in general, we get it get that you know, it's it's never ending and it's a process and you go through it a different time. It you go through different emotions during it all. And survivors get it but getting with other young survivors that you know, we need support. It's it's not art, as I like to say it's not our grandmother's cancer, it's hard cancer. It's we have just different needs, that your average survivor is 55 years old. You know there's there's a lot of various stages of young survivor but there's young survivor ages all the way down to 20. So this group really connects with those that see themselves as young you know, you may be older than 40. At time of diagnosis, you may be closer to 50 but you might have might have had had a late pregnancy in life, you might only have a young child who relates more to the younger side of what we survivors have to go through versus that to average age group of 55.

Right. And some of the topics that you sent me some of the areas that young survivors do have to face that many older diagnosed survivors don't, are what you've already talked about, as far as pregnancy and fertility issues, dealing with and rearing young, very energetic little humans. But also, I think the topic you brought up a financial challenges is really important. And body image and relationships. Because even though we see a lot of people, of course, still dating, or single, or in different relationships over the age of 40, when you're in your 20s, when you're in your 30s, that is really the prime time of life when maybe you're looking for someone or you're building your career. So maybe you don't have benefits, you haven't had time yet to build the coffers, and maybe have some financial security. Because even when you're diagnosed older, and perhaps do have a little more financial security, it's still a challenge that most people I think in the system don't realize it's not about, oh, you have insurance, you're fine. There are so many payments, in addition to what insurance covers when you're going through cancer treatment. So I think those are important things to to bring up as well that you even though you're 40, now you were 33 at diagnosis, so you do have that experience, to be able to help other people who are younger, kind of, you know, just support them in figuring that out.

Right, I did go back to work after I was done with treatment, but I couldn't balance my life. They couldn't balance all the hormone therapy that I was still on being a wife being a mother going back to work 40 hours a week, one of the things that looking back, I am the most proud of of really, truly advocating for myself and really trying to find out what my needs were as a survivor. And I went through an accommodation process at work and I reduce my hours. And I now work 30 hours a week versus 40 crate, which was a financial pay cut that I had to decide financially, this was in my best interest, not everyone realizes what are the sacrifices you have to make in order to survive and balance your life, you know, so I'm having a hard time going back to work. So we're let go from the employer because they let they ran out of disability or time allotted. So now you're worried about having to pay Cobra, you're worried about having to pay for your medical insurance and all of that, then when you try to look for a new job, you're trying to explain your medical absence from the employment field. So there's a lot that goes on with a young survivor that not necessarily an older survivor may have been time may have is already close to the retirement may even off just to say, I'm going to URL I'm going to retire a little bit early, and just enjoy my life because

because life is short life. Right? And they're in a position to

where we got to figure out our balance and be them all be the everything that we were before we were diagnosed and try to figure out who the new ones that are new, you know, our new self is after all of this. It's rough. But you know,

I appreciate you so much being that honest, you know, and I you know, I know you are that's just how you are which is so cool. Because again, I know that externally, oftentimes it's perceived as what's wrong with you, you finished cancer treatment and you live you know, I hear or even I see on social media posts, maybe someone posting something about you know, I still bald spots, my hair didn't grow back and somebody will posting like, you should just be glad you're alive. And I think you have no idea what you're talking about, you know, and they're mutually exclusive, not liking that I have a bald spot and being grateful to be alive, have nothing to do with each other. You know, I can still be grateful and still be struggling or still be challenged. But that emotional component which is something that when I were done I'm when I'm volunteering as a mentor or when I'm working working with people one on one as a health coach, that is so much more important than what you're eating and how you're exercising. It's the biggest challenge because your energy level changes oftentimes after going through chemotherapy and radiation and your emotional state changes because you've you faced your mortality and you're facing mortality at an extremely early age with a lot of people still depending on you, you No, I might be able, at my age now at 54, to look and say, you know, my youngest is 18, he's in college mothers have families, everybody's good, their raise, they're good. You know, it's really just me and my choices in my life. Totally different from being 33. And having a dependent child and just buying a new home and a young marriage, and, you know, such a different perspective in life. And I love that you were honest enough with yourself to say, I gotta take I got to take care of myself. And if that requires another sacrifice, your house, your stability and your happiness in life are worth of sacrifices. Absolutely, yeah, that's a real such an important point. I'm really glad you brought that up.

I had to really look at myself in the mirror and say, I need help. I'm having a hard time with this. And it also required me to learn not to care what other people think. Because there was a lot of judgment associated with that request. And I needed to do what was best for my bubble. Sorry, it took cancer. But you know what, if you go through cancer treatment, you can determine what is best for your bubble. And then you can ask for that accommodation. Don't be scared to follow through with what is best for you. But other people feel you need to go through. And what's best for me is not going to be best for you or my neighbor, it's good to do a lot of self reflection and go what's going to get me through. And you know, when the doctors when you're done with treatment, and all your doctors tell you okay, just you know, reduce your stress and you're like my friend, get back to my life. Yeah, last year. Yeah, you know, and so it's taken quite some time. But, you know, every day is a gift. And you know, every day is a challenge. And so my accommodation was to reduce my hours by two hours a day, and come in at 10 versus eight. Okay, so anyway, so the next morning after my accommodation takes effect. My son spilt his milk and had I had to be at work at 8am I would have screamed bloody murder spell to Oh, bomber, you spilled your milk. Let's you know what, I have time to clean that up without having to be all aggro and stressed out and not letting it bother me because it was a hiccup in my day. Yeah. And I learned that morning. I took a deep breath. And I was like, Yeah, I did the right thing. Right. Yeah. And it was just it was a weird way of confirming that I listened to what I needed to get done. Yeah, that's awesome. Kind of make sense? In a roundabout way?

Absolutely. Yeah, it absolutely does. It's like you saw Oh, it's a small adjustment with perhaps big repercussions overall long term, but also big repercussions short term that allows you that little bit of a longer fuse. Yeah. Let's talk about one more thing that you did that you found joy in after your survival that you never thought Thought you'd see yourself doing and then let's talk about ways people can connect with you. And ways they can become a part of what you are setting up for young survivors. So I know that you have a new passion idea. Let's hear about it.

Well, while I was going through treatment at one of my doctor offices, I saw a flyer called the Los Angeles be dragons are looking for you. And I was like, What is this and it was a dragon boat team. All female breast cancer dragon boat team that meets locally at Long Beach Marina. We paddle and we paddle as one and we move the boat together as one. I am not a beach person. I in Madison person. I am not a sports person. I am not athletic. I am not competitive. Well, one of my mentees at the hospital, gave it a try. And she goes Janelle, you have to try it. You're gonna love it. All right, I'll try it and I fell in love with the sport. And I had so I had radiation on my left side. And if you've had radiation, it tightens your skin and I also had reconstruction with an implant. So the radiation, scar tissue is over the implant. So it causes a little bit of discomfort quite often, and the movement of the dragon boat paddle I stretched everything that radiation was tightening on my body. And I got off that boat going, oh my gosh, I found an exercise that is stretching what I need to stretch. This is amazing. I'm young, on the team. I'm the youngest on the team out when you have women who are breast cancer survivors that are in their late 60s and 70s paddling and they have these beautiful arms. Yeah, and they're fierce. These are my inspiration. I want to be these women when I retired, the respect that we get on the beach, for being with the Los Angeles Pete dragons, because people know what our initiation was onto the team that I am blown away when I go out to be when I'm at the beach, and they're like Good morning peaks. Looking good out there. Pigs. Hey, pigs, how you doing today? That's really, that's what most people, but I don't know everyone's treatment, diagnosis plan, what they went through, that's not what we talked about. It is life after cancer, it is physical, we are competitive, we are rocking what we got, and we're fierce. That's so cool. I love being a part of it. And as

an exercise professional, I have to go back and accentuate what you just said, because a lot of people as one as you age and two, after going through different medical treatments, are afraid to exercise because they're afraid I can't do it. Or, you know, I'm going to hurt myself or I already you know, many of us, including me get arthritis going through chemotherapy, those treatments. And we think oh, this already hurts, I can't go do that. But the fact is that exercise makes that feel better. That exercise brings more lubrication to your joints and gives you more energy and it helps you more feel emotional, emotional positivity, because it brings out all those endorphins and more. So even being like, my passion is weightlifting, I love it. And so when you find something you love, and you go out there and you're doing it, then you feel good about yourself. And then you have all of those, you know, secondary effects that exercise brings you. And then also being a part of that team or the group that works out around you or whatever whatever it is very encouraging and inspiring. So I want to make sure that women understand survivors understand, don't hold yourself back from getting out there and being physically active. Because it's not a matter of staying skinny to be physically active. It's a matter of mental, emotional, physical health, and it will make you feel better.

Right? On that note, one of my when I was done with treatment, I asked my my oncologist, what can I do to help not get a reoccurrence, and one of them was 30 minutes of exercise a day, you just need to learn your body again,

that is it reconnecting with yourself and understanding what you need, and everyday is different. So let's talk about how other young survivors who hear this show and want to connect with you. You started a Facebook page, what else 10 will tell us about the Facebook page and other ways that young survivors can come together?

Absolutely. Well. One thing that I discovered to this whole young survivor group is that Facebook is a huge connecting tool to connect other young survivors. There's a private, young survivor group on Facebook that you can connect to you can just google search young survivor coalition. And under their one of their tabs, you just go ask to be connected via Facebook. And they can go ahead and add you. You can always search for me on Facebook, I'm always on there and willing to connect with you via via there. My name is Janelle Lynn Rs. I also have a private Facebook group on there as well connecting other just local young survivors in Long Beach. So if you want to just to be connected to that, you're more than welcome to do a search. Another tool that you'd be able to utilize is the woman guiding Women program through Long Beach Memorial. You do not I like to emphasize you do not need to be connected or have treatment with Long Beach Memorial to utilize this service. I have a lot of friends that I've connected through that are that are at Kaiser that are at Torrance that are just this live in Long Beach. And so I really like to emphasize that you just need to find out about the program to connect with it. You don't need to have any association with the hospital to utilize their services. You're not alone during this and having breast cancer is a horrible disease to go through. But it's one of the one diseases and cancers that has the most support. So you utilize that support that's available to you. You'll get through it.

Yeah. Yeah. And even for those, I think, who aren't in treatment, but who have finished treatment. And if you know had and are still having challenges, getting back to life, still having challenges processing everything. Don't think that it's too late. Don't think that Well, I'm not a breast cancer patient anymore. You know, it's okay. Because you don't know what you need until you figure it out whenever that is, and it's always okay to come back to the source and reach out and find support. Always. Right. Well, Janelle, thank you so much for making the time because I know you are a busy woman. And I really, really appreciate you being here. And I love hearing your insights and sharing your energy. It's really wonderful. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. You're welcome. Okay, I just love how open and how raw Janelle is. She is so willing to be an open book and share her experiences, which is so valuable for other people who need to hear this, we need to be able to connect to each other to understand that these experiences and the struggles that we endure, trying to get back to life after breast cancer are not unique, are not isolated, you are not alone. And whether you're a young survivor, or you know someone who's a young survivor, and if you you do know someone who's young survivor that needs to hear this information, please for this podcast on to her. I think that just hearing these experiences and the struggles and what we go through to kind of figure out our place in life after breast cancer and what's actually valuable in meaning to us meaningful to us in life. Which really, that's the only thing that matters, right? It's not about getting back to the same rat race that we always ran, and about reconsidering what is really important in his life. And I think Janelle made a wonderful example of that. Hope you enjoyed this episode. I really enjoyed it. I always love talking with her. And I look forward to talking with you again in two weeks.

To The Test laid all your doubts your mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures you know, you've been waiting on




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