PINK UP: Survival tip, don't suffer in silence

PINK UP: Survival tip, don't suffer in silence

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - According to the, about 85-percent of breast cancers happen in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

That is a shocking statistic.

The woman featured in this month's Pink Up Report fell into that 85-percent.

Janet Wigfall says her faith in God is what got her through.

She has worked with the Cape Public School District for 25 years.

"My heart is here," Wigfall said. "I found my passion."

Heartland News recently visited her 5th grade classroom while she read an chapter from the current book her class is reading.

Books spark our imagination.

They teach us things.

And like life, they take us on a journey, but you don't always get to choose your path.

"I started this conversation with God," Wigfall said. "I asked him to reveal me to me."

You see, this time last year Janet Wigfall was not in the classroom, but in the middle of breast cancer treatment.

"I lifted a stack of books or boxes and I bumped my chest," Wigfall said. "I thought oh that hurt."

At first, she brushed it off, but when it happened again a few weeks later...

"I thought, okay, I guess that muscle," Wigfall said. "I really strained that muscle. Maybe I better get this thing checked out. Just in case, rule it out. There has never been breast cancer in my family and it never entered my mind. I have religiously had my mammograms."

A trip to the doctor, two screens and an ultra sound later answers came.

"It was about 8 o'clock, early May," Wigfall said. "We were all set up to do the map testing with our kids and the phone rang."

Her doctor delivered her diagnosis as triple negative breast cancer.

"I remember asking could this shorten my life and she said yes," Wigfall said. "I remember picking up a friend and going, okay, I got my diagnosis, it's cancer, and I don't want to this and the friend said yes you can."

Janet is a woman of faith and to say her diagnosis was a prayer answered might seem strange.

"Once I received the diagnosis and I though this is real, life is going to change," Wigfall said. "Once I got to that point, I said to God, okay, I asked you for this, you answered my prayer, now teach me how to do this. God said, you need to let people know."

So she did and with her world spinning, that is when the love began to pour in.

"My phone was ringing constantly with people asking how they can help," Wigfall said.

From meals to people sitting with her through treatments, Janet felt God was planting seeds in her life to help guide her though.

"There was never a time that I felt alone or not lifted up in prayer," Wigfall said. "And you have people almost in line waiting to serve and help me? It was overwhelming in a good kind of way."

And when chemotherapy kept her out the first few weeks of school last year, her school family made sure she felt the love her first day back to work.

"When I got out of the car, oh my goodness, I still, and in the parking lot I started seeing all these pink shirts," Wigfall said. "That's when I kind of lost it.  And when I walked in, there was just a sea of pink shirts and that support just made me cry."

So this year, while it may seem simple to some, sitting with her kids in class the 1st few weeks of school is symbolic of her journey.

"Tiger strong," Wigfall said. "My motto has always been to walk into the hardness and let God lead you through it. Walk into it and just walk through it."

Wigfall says she could not imagine going through treatments in silence.

And if you are just getting that diagnosis or being treated for breast cancer, her advice is to open yourself up to people and celebrate those little victories.

"Sometimes it's just thankful that your eyes open, that you can move your arms and that you can walk to the bathroom by yourself," Wigfall said. "Just find the least amount of things that you can show gratitude and be thankful for. It really kind of helps the mind to not focus on the pain and what's to come. Just live in the present, day-by-day sometimes it was minute-by-minute. Just live in that moment and not try to predict what's going to happen because life is so unpredictable."

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