Janet’s pos­i­tiv­ity shines through fol­low­ing dire di­ag­no­sis

Central Queensland News - - WEEKEND -

FOR Janet Kake, fight­ing breast can­cer not once but three times was “a gift”. The 53-year-old Eu­mundi grand­mother speaks of her di­ag­noses with grace. Rather than see­ing her breast can­cer bouts as bat­tles and set­backs, Janet calls them her “jour­ney”. She is also very proud of her “crotch nip­ples”.

“Hav­ing breast can­cer has brought so much love into my life,” the mother of three told Week­end.

“For me it has been very pos­i­tive. Of course there have been tears, but it has taught me about who I am. It has been an amaz­ing gift. I wouldn’t be the per­son I am to­day. I have found balance.”

Janet was first di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer when she was 33 years old.

“Breast can­cer is not in my fam­ily at all,” she said.

“I took my son to an after hours doc­tors at mid­night with a sore toe. I said to the doc­tor at the time, I have a pain un­der my left arm. He was an older man, he didn’t even look at me, and wrote out a mam­mo­gram re­fer­ral, which in those days no one did for a 30-year-old. He saved my life.”

Janet had the mam­mo­gram and while her left arm was not sus­pect, she had can­cer in her right breast.

“I never had a lump or any pain (on the right side),” she said. “I would have been dead in one year if I hadn’t found it as it was quite ag­gres­sive. That was the be­gin­ning.

“I didn’t tell any­one and I had the op­er­a­tion. I was run­ning a large real es­tate agency in Bris­bane at the time. I kept it to my­self. In my space there was no room for any­thing other my ca­reer.”

Her sons Cody and Blake were six and eight at the time. Five years later, at age 38, Janet was told she had breast can­cer for a sec­ond time. Her daugh­ter Lili Rose was eight months old. It was a turn­ing point in her life: the start of her “spir­i­tual jour­ney”.

Janet un­der­went ra­di­a­tion and a sec­ond lumpec­tomy on her right breast.

She left her hec­tic life of work­ing seven days a week in Bris­bane and moved back to her home town of Eu­mundi where she found so­lace on a hill­top prop­erty and de­vel­oped a love for horses.

“I was a worka­holic. The first time (breast can­cer di­ag­no­sis) I ig­nored it. The sec­ond time it gave me a real kick.

“I bought 43 acres on top of Cooroy Moun­tain. A friend said come and have a look at this auc­tion. I went along. I bought it in less than 10 min­utes. I did not even know what I was buy­ing. I went from a ca­reer woman to forg­ing a spir­i­tual jour­ney and rais­ing my daugh­ter.”

That was 14 years ago. Janet now runs Eu­mundi Moun­tain Re­treat. “I have no wi-fi, no TV, I’m sur­rounded by clean air and have wa­ter from the spring. I eat or­gan­i­cally and stay fit and healthy. I also spend a lot of time with my horses.”

Piv­otal to Janet’s story is the im­pact horses have had on her, par­tic­u­larly one named Arnie.

“Horses are very heal­ing,” she said.

“I’d never had any­thing to do with them un­til I ended up with 12 horses when I bought this prop­erty.

“Arnie was a rig, an un­cut horse, which is very dan­ger­ous. Ev­ery­one thought he was go­ing to kill me be­cause I love rid­ing fast through the bush.

“And that I think comes from the fast life I had in the cor­po­rate world. That horse came into my life for a rea­son.” Janet now rides with the Light Horse ev­ery An­zac Day.

Her most re­cent can­cer di­ag­no­sis came just two weeks after she told her par­ents, Gay and Jim McNa­mara, that she wanted a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy. She was 49.

Janet had five can­cer and re­con­struc­tion surg­eries in one year alone.

“Later, I had my nip­ples made out of my crotch. They look so real,” she said.

“Two weeks ago I had my nip­ples tat­tooed. I think I’m one of few in the world to have my nip­ples made out of my crotch, then tat­tooed.”

Janet said her fam­ily and close net­work of friends have been her strength, as well as shar­ing her story.

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