Imagine waking up everyday knowing that you’ll eventually die from cancer.
That’s the reality a Kenmore woman faces.
Doctors diagnosed Janet Diehl with metastatic breast cancer, but she’s not letting it define her.
Her way of living has a special term… she’s a “meta-viver”.
Not much can get Janet down.
She beat colon cancer nearly 18 years ago, breast cancer in 2011 and now she’s facing another battle.
Doctors diagnosed her with metastatic cancer, meaning it’s spread throughout her body.
“It’s usually common with women who’ve been diagnosed before with breast cancer, said Diehl.
Janet noticed pain in her gallbladder and decided to go back to the doctor.
Tests revealed cancer in her stomach and back lining and in her bones.
“We know our diagnosis, the prognosis — everybody’s going to die. We just know it’s inevitable that this is what we’re going to die from,” said Diehl.
Treatments won’t cure her cancer, but that’s not stopping her.
“I know what my prognosis is but it doesn’t define me… I still get up do my thing, play with my grandchildren, my nieces, my nephews — go shopping!” said Diehl.
These days it’s her work with special needs children, crafts and her grandson that keeps her going.
She sets out to accomplish small tasks.
“Today’s job is to bring pizza to him. I put a timeline on myself until he’s at least 18 so that’s 12 years from now,” said Diehl, when talking about her grandson.
The weight of the diagnosis is enough to break the toughest of people.
But Janet doesn’t let the reality define her.
“Get up — do your life. It’s a diagnosis, that’s it,” said Diehl.
Janet’s apart of a metastatic breast cancer group formed by the Breast Cancer Network of Western New York.
She and others call themselves “meta-vivers”.
She has an important message for people out there who may find themselves in her shoes.
“Don’t be afraid. There are people out there go find the groups. Stick to a metastatic breast group because we’re meta-vivers so the survivors don’t understand what we go through daily. They’re cured, we’re not,” said Diehl, “Anykind of life you’re going to have a stumble. So this is a stumble. It’s a diagnosis. It’s not a definition of who you are. and that’s what they have to remember.”
A stumble, that she’s turned into a way of living and thriving against all odds.
If you’re in a similar situation as Janet or know someone who is — she encourages everyone to contact The Breast Cancer Network of WNY