Stories about breast cancer that can inspire and inform

Blog  |  Newsroom

Go With the Flow

In 1991, Janice Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. At the time, her sons were 3 and 6 years old. For the past 32 years, she focused on her family, health and wellness.

Then, in late 2022, Janice noticed a rash had developed on her chest. “It looked a bit like poison ivy. I thought maybe it was a reaction to detergent or perfume,” she said. “I mentioned it to my primary care provider, and he prescribed a lotion for me to try.” Three weeks later, the rash was still present. Janice was surprised when her doctor sent her to a dermatologist, telling her cancers sometimes present as a rash.

The dermatologist was puzzled by the rash, as well, and ordered a punch biopsy. He also mentioned that if the diagnosis was cancer, there was a possibility it could be a result of the radiation Janice received in the 1990s.

A week later, Janice learned she had invasive ductal carcinoma. Her treatment began with chemotherapy. Recently, she had a bilateral mastectomy and is healing well. “The pathology report indicated all the cancer was removed,” she said. Following her surgery, she’s opted not to have reconstruction. “I will remain flat,” she said. “My surgeon was very supportive.” Later this summer, Janice will undergo radiation therapy.

Janice’s husband and sons, who are now in their 30s and have wives and children of their own, have rallied around her. “When I first had breast cancer, my boys were so young. They don’t remember much about that time,” she said. “This time, they know what’s going on. They’re concerned about seeing me go through this. And that’s one thing that’s kept me centered. How I react affects them, so I’m very optimistic, I’m going with the flow and moving forward.”

Ten years ago, Janice began practicing yoga as part of her wellness routine. “Yoga centers me and allows me to clear my mind,” she said. “I especially like restorative classes.” Prior to the pandemic, Janice took classes in person. When the pandemic started, she switched to taking classes online at home.

Yoga helps Janice stay calm and centered as she makes her way through a second breast cancer diagnosis. “It makes me stop and take time to take care of my body, my mind and my soul,” she explained. “I’ve been through this before. I don’t know where it’s going or what to expect exactly, but my thought is, I can have a pity party and make everyone around me miserable, or I can be positive, upbeat and keep my faith. It helps me to keep looking forward. Take one step at a time, one day at a time.”

Learn more about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.