Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It was time to get back to work on a parttime basis. Vince Thompson (in the photo) was the tall guy recruited to put the sign on omy door. What a fun greeting! It’s slow go as I get back into the swing of things. Health-wise, I feel very good, but still tire easily. My body is now in ‘puberty’ based on the size of my slowly expanding temporary implants. I actually have a little cleavage…which may be too much information for some blog readers, but it is a very important issue to me!

My mind, as well as my days, are busy thinking of the two major events happening over the next few months. The American Football Coaches Foundation CEO Coach of the Year Dinner in New York City on December 14 and the 2010 American Football Coaches Association Convention where I will be January 4-16, 2010. There are so many details to each event. I have planned and managed the NYC event since its inception but am trying to learn all I can about planning and managing the convention since I have been given the new job as AFCA’s Director of Special Events. All of this is exciting…if I had not been out of the office so much. Right now it is a big overwhelming…but I can handle anything after dealing with the THING.

I continue to receive your calls, emails, gifts, and prayers. Thank you all for your support. It would have been very difficult to get through these months without your on-going support!

If you know of anyone that has been diagnosed with a ‘THING,’ I hope you will share this blog with them. Let them know there is a strong need for humor in their lives--especially during this time--and that you can get through it. Maybe my story can help someone else. I am so blessed to be able to say I am a BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR!!


Two very special people dedicated their respective runs to my honor in the recent Susan G. Komen Race for the cure. In Orlando, Florida, Diana Stillwell (daughter of my friend and co-worker Sandi Atkinson) ran her personal best and told me that I was her inspiration near the end when the going got tough. Layne Pittman (daughter of AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff and wife, Donell) ran the SGK in Austin, Texas. Photos of Diana (in pink) and Layne (with her breast cancer survivor friend, Kathi) are below. Thank you both for remembering me during the race. I am so proud of what you are doing to raise awareness about breast cancer and raising funds for research to find a cure. YOU GALS ROCK!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



The past week I have been feeling better each day. My angel Kathy went home to my brother Bill, but not before I had a good cry over it. She’s been wonderful and I will miss her company very much. The night before she left Linda and Sandi came over and we had soup and salad, then played dominos. Kathy has us all addicted to ‘chicken foot’ and ‘Mexican train.’ There were a lot of laughs…but I could never share the reason for most of our laughs in a public blog!

Donnis came over the morning Kathy left to help pick up the pieces, as she knew it would be hard for me to let Kathy go. She was a big help in the transition.

This healing stuff is not moving as quickly as I had planned. My friends keep reminding me that I am ‘only’ three weeks post-surgery, but I have a schedule to keep. There are events coming up and I need to get back in the swing. When I was whinning (as I do occasionally) about my pain, my friend Dennis asked me if it was really pain or was I just sore. Well, that put it in perspective. I am just sore. Thanks for helping me see that, Dennis!


There may not be such a phobia—or one with that name, but I have started to really fear doctors. Not in the same way you would fear finding a cobra in your purse, but I get a real sense of trepidation when I have to see a doctor these days. I’ve heard it said that the best way to overcome your fears is to go at them with a vengeance. (Not a good idea with the purse cobra.) This afternoon I have to see my plastic surgeon. There is something that ‘may be nothing’ but it does not feel quite right in one of my implants. I’ll have to (coaching cliché alert…) ‘suck it up’ and go to see him. Maybe physicianophobia is like trauma induced amnesia and it will get better as I get better.

Editors Note: One of our astute readers has advised us that IATROPHOBIA is the correct term for fear of doctors. The editors thank the reader and request that the reader "get a life!"


On Tuesday, I had a visit from co-workers Renee Clayton, Adam Guess, Vince Thompson, Jordan Slentz, Sandi Atkinson, and Kevin Morgan. We had a ‘gut pack’ for lunch! Vitek’s is a little Waco sandwich shop that is famous for this culinary “masterpiece.” It consists of Fritos, beans, sausage, onions, brisket, BBQ sauce, cheese, and jalepeno peppers. I opted out of the jalepenos yesterday. Not sure my system is ready for them!

The lunch was fun and I enjoyed seeing everyone. Kevin had big news of the day. He and wife, Amber, are going to be first time parents in June. He even brought the ultrasound photos to show me. I know they have been wanting a baby for a while and this is just wonderful news. It was a good day all the way around

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


On Monday, two of the four drainage tubes were removed. There was, we hear, a good bit of moaning about that procedure. It is not something you do for fun! Now that she only has two extra appendages, she is feeling better and moving around easier. No longer does she need help to get in and out of the bed or a chair. She was in very good spirits on Monday night and is asking for her laptop so she can look at all her emails. She’s quite driven to get back to work, so we suspect the laptop will be a means to that end!! You go, girl!


Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness and it was very evident at Janet’s house this weekend. A most beautiful pink rose was peeking over the entry fence to her house. We believe it is a Victory Rose to honor the excellent news. Not only was the original frozen section of lymph nodes removed during surgery found to be cancer free, but the final analysis was also—no cancer in the lymph nodes. We share Janet’s relief and joy at this news and share the Victory Rose with you.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Since there were no coherent quotes from Janet during the past few days, today’s blog is from Sandi who is the blog’s hospital correspondent.

She was cheery, albeit, in a passive sort of way during this morning’s hospital visit. Acknowledging that she was ready to leave the nurses, aides, and other very kind and caring hospital personnel behind. So….

Janet clicked her ruby slippers together and is now at home, resting (read: sleeping) in her recliner. She is more mobile than during the past few days, but still moves at a snail’s pace. Dancing, aerobics, and swinging from the chandeliers will have to wait a few more weeks!

If anyone needs Janet’s address for sending her good wishes, email

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It’s all over! According to my surgeon, it went great. The plastic surgeon was not able to do the complete reconstruction, but inserted deflated implants that will be injected with a solution to expand my skin so the implants can be inserted at a later date. It will be awhile before I have my permanent ‘girls’ but that’s okay. We’ll get together eventually.

Thanks to a friend—Mary Jo—who has been through this, I heard about a camisole you can buy to help deal with the drains. The cammie has pockets to hold the drains so you don’t rip one out accidentally. OUCH!

Thank you, again, to everyone for your prayers, cards, phone calls, and other acts of kindness. It is difficult to put into words just how special it is to know so many people care about me and wish me well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


No cancer in lymph nodes. Reconstruction has begun. Expect about 4 more hours.

The Goodbye Girls

They came to take Janet to surgery about an hour earlier than expected, which created some "waterworks." Kathy, Sandi, Linda and Donnis were all there to send Janet off to surgery. Of course, with some of Janet's girls there to say goodbye to "the girls," a little bit of laughter was bound to ensue--there was a laughable moment as they wrote "yes" on each one of "the girls," indicating to operate.

More surgery updates to come...

On the Cutting Edge

Today is the day! I’m off to the hospital at 11 am and should be in surgery by 1:30 pm. I’m a little nervous, but ready to get on with my life after surgery. My sister-in-law, Kathy, and friends Linda Pulliam and Sandi Atkinson are going to do the hospital ‘waiting room’ duties today. My mother wanted to come, but I convinced her that she would not be comfortable in those waiting room chairs and she would probably get cold. So, she will wait at home and someone will bring her to see me after the surgery.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hooters, Ta-tas, Boobs

Today we honor Janet's boobies,
In their place she'll have some newbies.

God gave her a nice pair,
But tomorrow they'll not be there.

Sorry for herself, no one will let her,
Because the new ones will be bigger and better.

Do not feel down, just salute them goodbye,
And tomorrow they'll point to the sky.

By Renee


Janet will have her double mastectomy and reconstruction tomorrow, October 6, 2009. The surgery will occur at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco. It will be a long surgery and we will have updates as soon as we know anything. Friends and family will be taking turns sitting at the hospital. Post-surgery, sister-in-law/angel, Kathy, will help take care of Janet. Co-workers have prepared meals to be frozen so that Janet and Kathy will have food ready to eat when needed

Your job is to say some prayers for Janet and her caretakers. Pray for steady hands. Pray for speedy recovery. Pray for fortitude. Pray for soundness of mind and comfort for all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reality Bites!

With apologies to David Letterman, this is my Top Ten List of the realities of breast cancer and my related ‘adventures.’

10. Razor, blow dryer and curling iron are getting rusty
9. Have discovered that pasta and brown rice are my comfort foods. Whatever happened to chips and salsa??
8. I bought my granddaughter a purple wig for her 4th birthday and her daddy wore it. I need to rethink how I raised that boy!
7. Discovered that hair is over rated. Everyone should be bald!
6. Cabin fever from spending so much time at home. My walls are still pale green!
5. Short-term memory loss (but some say that’s not due to chemo!)
4. Sometimes you just have to cry!
3. My sister-in-law, Kathy, is an angel. She’s not the only one—everyone has been so supportive.
2. Chemotherapy kicks your butt!
1. Never want to hear the term ‘Red Devil’ again (nickname for chemo mixture)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Medical Update

At the September 16 appointment, Dr. O reviewed the prior test results and Dr. Patel’s case notes. We need the parameters of the tumor so the surgeon will know how much to remove in order to attain negative margins (to assure no remaining cancerous tissue). When I told him I planned to have a total/double mastectomy, he confirmed that there was no need for more chemo at this time. If, after surgery and an examination of the lymph nodes, more chemo is needed, he will determine duration and type of chemo. (Apparently, HE is running the show!) If the lymph nodes are clear and no additional chemo is necessary, the next step is radiation (required because of the size of the tumor).

The lump in the right breast appears to be much smaller since the chemo, but “the thing” in the left breast had not appeared to shrink significantly. He assured me that this shrinkage did not indicate a cancer in the right breast as well. The tumor remains about the same at approximately 6 cm, but Dr. O says the tissue has become more ‘spongy’, indicating that it was ‘softening up’. It was Dr. O’s opinion that the smart course of action was to remove the breasts; have the radiation and reconstruction if desired.

I am scheduled for an ultrasound and mammogram on September 21. Both Dr. O and Dr. T (the surgeon) will get the test results to review prior to my surgery.

Visit with Dr. O on September 16, 2009

This was Janet’s first visit with the oncologist, Dr. O after the departure of Dr. Patel and her after her last chemo treatment. As first impressions go, it wasn’t all bad after waiting more than an hour.

During the initial phase of the appointment, Dr. O was sitting at the desk, noting the test results and asking questions about how she was doing, when she had the chemo, etc. Janet went into the appointment wanting to make sure that this new doctor knew she had things to do and places to go in December and January. When she thought Dr O was at a stopping point in the ‘interview’ phase of the appointment, she said: “Dr. O, I have a schedule. Before she could continue, he briskly replied: “But I just got here, I’m getting to know you. I like to get to know my patients. If I keep looking at my watch and hurry it along, my patients get angry. That’s what managed care tries to do, get doctors to see patients as numbers and hurry them along”…….Janet quickly said, “No-o-o, not now…in December and January.’’ It was an awkward, funny moment. However, I guess Nigerians don’t have the same sense of humor….he didn’t laugh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saying Thank You in Everyway


Hair is still be on my mind, if not on my head! On Tuesday, August 18, Dianne (bless her heart!) had the ominous duty of giving me the ‘buzz’ cut. It just made sense to get it all cut off rather than wake up on a fuzzy pillow. I cried. I gagged. I cried more. But, when all was said and done, I felt empowered. It was MY choice on when all the hair came out; the THING did not get to decide! The following day, I opted for a scarf to cover my very shiny head. It was well received by my co-workers. Sara Schindler told me I looked ‘avant-garde’ in my scarf. I like that—even though my head itches constantly. On Thursday, I wore my “Sharon” wig—the one that reminds me of Sharon Osborne’s haircut. The wig drove me to distraction. I tugged and pulled on it all day—and my head itched like crazy. I want to scratch like a dog with fleas!!


This week, my friend J. B. Morris surprised me with a visit on his Harley. He even wore his famous chaps! The chaps are only famous to that group of gals he took to dinner in San Antonio, but they are VERY FAMOUS in this select group. Here we are on his Harley in the AFCA parking lot. I did not ride, as that was ‘wig’ day and there is no way the wig could have lasted for a ride around town! Over the weekend, I felt great and was able to attend “the” wedding. Vince Thompson (seen in photos elsewhere in a black wig looking like Elvis) married Lisa Graves in Goldthwaite, Texas. I rode to the ceremony with Coach and Mrs. Teaff and had a good time. By the time we got in the car to leave, I was pretty exhausted and snoozed most of the way home. Congratulations Vince and Lisa. It was great to be there and share all the joy (and fun) of your wedding day. Vince and Lisa are currently on an Alaskan cruise for their honeymoon!


No matter how you say it--I thank you all so much for your continuing support. I’ve started a scrapbook with all the cards and notes I’ve received. Looking through them over and over continues to bring a smile to my face. The overwhelming support I am receiving is so gratefully accepted. My thank you notes are late coming, but they are no less sincere in my appreciation of your kindnesses.


One of my favorite convention pals, who is also follicley challenged sent me this picture of himself with an unruly mullet wig. Thanks, Barry!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dancing in the Rain

THE FUTURE – After my fourth cycle of chemo, I’ll have another mammogram or ultrasound. Then, I will see the surgeon (Dr. T) to evaluate the result and decide on the course of action (lumpectomy or mastectomy). If the lumps in my right breast (the good one) have changed, it will indicate the possibility of some cancer and a double mastectomy will probably be my best option. Radiation will be necessary after my surgery and will consist of 24-35 treatments.

CHEMO PLUS 10 DAYS - I feel much better. The second week my energy level increased and I almost felt like my old self again. There were a few times when I would experience a sudden pain, but it was only for a minute and I reminded myself that it was the chemo blasting at The Thing. Everyone has been so supportive. I have beautiful flowers and plants in my office and home to keep me smiling and I receive cards and emails daily. Thank you all for your concern and support and prayers. These acts of kindness are received with tremendous gratitude. I feel so fortunate that I was diagnosed in this day and age when the advances in medical diagnostics and treatments are so advanced. My treatments have been virtually painless. That makes the ‘cry baby’ in me very happy. I’m not about having pain! Cheri Shrader shared a quote with me that is all about where I am right now: “Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, but it's learning how to dance in the rain". Happy dancing!”

CHEMO #1 PLUS ONE WEEK - Dr. P and I had a great discussion. Regarding diet, he said ‘use common sense’ but be careful with lettuce. Soak it for 30-40 minutes in vinegar before eating. About the hot flashes, he said the chemo put me into menopause and, even though my ovaries were removed years ago, I still produce some estrogen. He thinks the flashes will get better. I HOPE SO! Dr. Patel said manicures and pedicures (I love them!) are okay long as it is just a ‘massaging procedure’ with no clipping or cutting of the skin. The soreness of my gums is caused by the Nulasta shot and that’s that. In other words, “Deal with it, Janet!” I am okay to travel as long as I feel strong enough and it does not interfere with my chemo routine.

CHEMO 2 - Eek! I started to lose my hair--and I do not like it one bit. I don't want to advertise what it looks like now, but I am heading for the buzz cut very soon. Then I will share a picture of me with a wig.