In 2006, I was told after many self-exams, mammograms and a biopsy, that I had stage three breast cancer. It showed up in my lymph nodes…my doctor called it a sneaky one. I had a mastectomy, and then started six months of hard core chemotherapy. Every speck of hair fell out, and I felt very sick. I had always been a full time waitress, but I couldnt work at the restaurant during treatment because Id be exposed to too many people. Instead, I spent my days at a ranch pursuing my passion and working with some of the problem horses. The horses allowed me to keep my dignity and I was able to focus on something other than how lousy I felt.
Id never had the nerve to do horse shows or to be in the limelight, but I knew I didnt want life to pass me by without my being able to try the things I loved. When I finished chemo and radiation therapy I started feeling better, and I began to compete with my horses in events in front of thousands of people, including the Western States Mustang Challenge. In that event, I competed with Chato, a wild mustang I had trained for only ninety days. Chato was auctioned off that day, bringing in one of the highest bids of all the mustangs. Because of my story and my experience with cancer, the Mustang Heritage Foundation announced on the spot that they would donate 1000 dollars of Chatos proceeds to breast cancer research. That was one of the most exciting things I have ever done, and I never would have it if I hadnt gotten cancer. Now Im a four year survivor! If there is something that I can say to all women, its this you have to be your own advocate in testing and treatment. If there is any question at all, get a biopsy! If that advice can help even one person, then Ive done my job
Janet is an amazing horse trainer. She has competed in two other mustang challenges after her chemotherapy treatment in 2006. She took an 8th place in the Western States Extreme Mustang Challenge in 2008 and a 4th place in the 2010 Norco Mustang Makeover. She also give has her own business, Equine Connections, in Bishop, CA and is an expert groundwork clinician.
She is picking up her new Mustang for this years event in Texas on May 13th. She has done much to promote awareness for breast Cancer while pursing her passion. She was selected as one of J. Lohr Vineyards Inspiring Hope stories.
In 2006 The Mustang Heritage foundation donated 1000 dollars in her name to cancer research. Her story can be found on her personal blog.