I’ve mentioned Janette a few times in the things I’ve written here. She lives in North Carolina, has three sisters, one of whom is her twin, and one brother. She also has three kids, loads of grand kids with a new little boy expected any day now, she loves Daryl Hall and calls him her “man.” Janette is a sweet woman who can kick anyone’s ass if they push too hard, and she a good friend to me. We, along with our friend Cathy, call each other “sistas.”

Why am I telling you so much about Janette? Because she called me at 10:00 this morning in tears. Janette has cancer and not just one cancer she has a few different ones. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma ten years ago. Then late last year she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and had a mastectomy. The cancer has now spread to her liver and she just found out that it’s also in her Cervical Spinal Nerve 2. Out of all the cancers she’s been diagnosed with this cancer frightens her more than the others. Let  me just say that Janette is dying. Everyone knows it but even Janette never said it out loud to me until this morning when I told her I knew she was dying and have even spoken about it with our friend Cathy and to another of Janette’s friends. I admitted that I suspected that things were not going well to Cathy but never said it to Janette herself.

The reason for her tears this morning is that Janette’s having severe pain in her neck caused by the cancer in her Cervical Spinal Nerve 2. If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve in your neck you’ll understand had horrible the pain can be. Her doctors don’t seem to be taking her complaints seriously. Janette has told me multiple times that she feels as if she’s being brushed under the rug. I understand that.

I truly believe that when some doctors see a 66 year old woman with terminal  cancer they might not go out of their way to help much. Janette needs pain medication to control or even take the edge off the neck pain but she’s also given a million excuses why she can’t get a prescription. One excuse is that she might become addicted. For real? Becoming addicted to pain medication is the least of her problems.

Janette called and begged me to write about what she’s going through with her process of dying. She’s tired of platitudes, “the sun will come out tomorrow”, “you’re strong”, “keep fighting” and things like that. What Janette wants everyone to know is that she is not strong, she is not brave, and that whenever she seems that way it’s all an act that she feels she has to put on. The last thing she wants to do is upset her children, grandchildren, her sisters, and brother and the rest of her family so she smiles through it all but inside she’s terrified.

I tell Janette that she can call me anytime at all and she can feel free to get it all off her chest. That’s what she did this morning. My sister died from Colon Cancer seven years ago and I saw what a battle with cancer can and does do to the victim and their family.

She wants me to spread her story to other people fighting this disease. She needs help. Janette want to know how all of you fighting and all the caregivers get what you need? How do you get your doctor to listen to you and not brush you under the rug? How do you get your family and friends not to be afraid and to not try to sugar coat the fact that you’re dying and might not be around when Christmas rolls around this year? How do you explain to people that telling you not to be afraid does not work? How do you get people to understand that you’re afraid and need them to listen to you cry and to talk with you? How do you live with the fact that your time is limited?

I do my best when I speak with Janette. I never told her that she’ll be fine because I don’t believe that. I cry when I think of her but the last thing she needs is to comfort me because I have to be a part of her support group.

We’ve been on the phone for hours this morning. The only time we weren’t  was when she called her doctor’s office, stopped being nice, and told his nurse that she needed some relief from her pain. Today is her doctor’s day off but he called her back and told her to go to his office. That’s where she is now.

More than anything Janette wants whatever is left of her life to be lived with some sort of dignity and with some quality. She wants to be able to hold her new grandson when he’s born and tell him she loves him. She wants to be able to play with her little three-year old granddaughter, and she wants to be able to talk to her older grandchildren and tell them more stories about her life growing up. She wants to hold her children and tell them not to worry too much, and she wants to love her siblings and smile with them and maybe laugh a little too.

“How do I do this Sharon? How do I get people to listen to me, treat me with respect, understand what I’m going through? I’ve thought about this and the only option I see is to go to you and ask you to please write about me on your blog. Please ask people if they have an answer to the best way to die with cancer. I just want to wake up in the morning with little or no pain and to know that all my family and friends are supporting me and to not treat me like a child. I know I’m dying but I need a ton of support.”

So I’m asking you, cancer fighters, caregivers, friends and family of people who are going through what Janette is going through to please post on the blog and help Janette get through this hard time. I will make sure she sees your posts and I’m sure she will comment.

Thank you all.

UPDATE on Janette – The night this article was written Janette fell in her apartment and broke her back. She’s in the hospital now and is scheduled for back surgery next week. She will then be put in a back brace so she can heal and then she will have to go to a rehabilitation center. All this will take months.

I spoke with her late last night and she said that she thanks everyone for their beautiful comments. I’ll be sending her everything you’ve been posting. The only time she brightened up was when I told her how many people have read this article about her.

Please share this piece about Janette if you can. I’m so worried about her. Last night she said, “I’m in a real pickle now, Sharon.”

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Dying With Cancer – A Plea For Help From My “Sista” Janette Broome

  1. I can’t tell her how it is or how it’s going to be but I can tell her I have prayed for comfort. I understand at this point it isn’t going to change and that she’s not going to heal. God is now preparing her and now everyone needs to come to her with the support they have. I grew up with the twins and love them dearly. It breaks my heart to see and know what Janette is going through. I’ve witnessed my mother and grandfather fight this horrible disease. As far as the doctors are concerned I would be finding another one that would give her the relief she need, or continue to call them every hour.. Don’t worry about being addicted. What she needs is relief. My prayers will continue. I do ask God to wrap his arms around her and to give her peace. Take one day at a time and try and do things you want to do as long as you can!

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  2. Here’s a comment that was left on a cancer FB page from Colleen McDougal Johnson – Dear Sweet Janette, I am so sorry. I am sorry that you have cancer and going through this. I am so sorry that your family is acting like children themselves. A person never knows what cancer is like until they actually go through it themselves. Keep you head up. Stay Strong. We Love You!! Keep putting 1 foot in front of the other. By the way, the photo of you. You look wonderful. ❤
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    1. Here’s a quote from a TOTAL stranger. ”I am so sorry that your family is acting like children themselves.” See, Sharon. this is very theme that runs through your article. This is a comment by a total stranger and she came away thinking Jannette’s family is acting like children. THIS, dear Sharon, is why our family is insulted by this article.

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  3. To my friend, Jannette: Like your friend, Sharon Katz, I did fear your battle with cancer was coming to an end when you posted it had spread. Still I had hope perhaps because I wasn’t ready to face the inevitable. I was like this, hopeful, that is when my sister and my mother were diagnosed with cancer. They fought as bravely as you have and when cancer began winning, they were well cared for through hospice with plenty of morphine that took away the pain. You can call hospice in early. You don’t have to be in the final stages of a terminal illness to be under their care. You should not have to suffer at all from this point forth. Tell your doctor it is time to be realistic and to get you out of pain so that you can have a quality of life for your remaining time.

    My heart breaks for you because we are too young still to face death. I have no words but to say that I have faith there is more on the other side. Einstein said that energy cannot be destroyed and that is what our soul is quite frankly, energy made by the Creator. I envision that we will fly in our angelic quark like state of being and be where we want to be in Heaven. Have faith, my friend, there is something on the other side. Both my mother and sister sent me strong messages after they crossed over so I believe, and I’m not crazy, at least not yet. LOL!

    You are one of the wise ones from our little southern town, and I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated your friendship in high school and now. Even though we are reconnected only through Facebook over the long geographic distance between us, I so enjoy your wonderful insight and humor. Do what you have to do to find your balance as you move through this process that we ALL soon will face. And, when I make the crossover, I hope we can party in the trees as fireflies on a summer night with other mutual friends.

    With much respect and gratitude for your friendship, Betsy Love

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    1. Betsy, you are right about hospice you can use it at home whenever you need it. My sister was in one for the last ten days of her life and they took great care of her and she was never in pain. I enjoy reading all the posts you share with Janette on FB. I’ll be traveling to NC to see Janette very soon and I hope I can meet you too. Thank you for posting.

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  4. The love and support that our family has given Jannette has been tremendous. Our family has always been supportive and loving as well as understanding. Jannette is not fighting this alone as her family stands firmly beside her. I know Jannette is in pain and I know she’s afraid. We are afraid too. When a loved one fights cancer we all are in that fight. Jannette and I have talked the truth about what lies ahead. We have always been able to speak truths even if it’s terrifying. I pray she get’s relief from her pain and I pray she faces the time left with whatever she needs. God bless Jannette and God bless all of her family and friends that stand with her through these hard days. I love you, Jannette and I will always be your biggest supporter.

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    1. Annette, Janette has always told me how your whole family was and is always there for her. If she knows anything she knows all of you will do anything for her. I love the last line in your post Annette and I know Janette feels the same way about you. Thank you so much for posting your thoughts.

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  5. I love you Auntie J!!!! Praying for you, your family, OUR family that you do stay strong through all of this. What would Maw Broome tell you right now??? Think about that?? What would Shirley tell you??? You know exactly what she would say.

    I love you Auntie J!!! 🙏🏻

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  6. Here’s a comment from someone on a FB cancer board: Bonnie Norrish McLean Sharon I read your blog and you are being a wonderful friend. Being there for Janette is the best “gift” you can give her. It blew my mind when her doctor wouldn’t give her pain meds because she might become addicted. I hope he gives her some today. I am not dying but have been on narcotics since my surgery in 2007 and would not be able to function without them. Without pain she will hopefully be able to have some quality of life. You didn’t mention hospice or palliative care. Does her doctor not believe in them either? Does he not think she is dying? Btw 66 to me is young! She should still have many more years to enjoy her family. I understand her putting on a good act for her family. I did that too. I didn’t want them to be upset but I knew I was going to be all right. But when my husband became terminally ill we all talked about it, including our grandchildren, and our children came to appointments with us so they would know exactly what was happening. I hope Janette gets the support she needs from her doctor and her family. Please let her know that someone in Canada is thinking about her.

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    1. Sharon, the article does imply that her family is lacking in our concern and support of Jannette. Also, her doctor’s have done all they can do and not one doctor has “swept anything under the rug”. Her doctors are wonderful doctors and are all working together for her best care. There are times when a doctors hands are tied as to what they can prescribe for a patient’s pain. Jannette’s case is one of those times. There are many reasons as to why pain meds are not in her best interest. People reading this have no idea at the battles in Jannette’s past. They DO have Jannette’s best interest in mind.

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      1. Annette, Janette told me that she feels like her doctors are sweeping her under the rug. She feels that this is true. I did not invent that. People will believe what they want to believe no matter what is being said. These are Janette’s words, not mine! Don’t invalidate her feelings. She’s allowed to feel the way she does. If you think she’s wrong then talk to her and tell her. She’s upset and frightened. She’s allowed to feel that way and you have to understand that.

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  7. Here’s a post from someone on a cancer board on FB: Janice Poore Stokes Janette, I am so sorry to hear of your cancer. Sometimes family don’t know what to say or do. I currently am fighting stage 4 cancer & it is very scary. Prayers that your family comes around & can give you the support you need.
    Sending love and prayers

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  8. Janette, I don’t know you personally, but I am a friend of Libby’s and I have kept up with your journey and I have kept you in my prayers. I wish I had answers for you, I just wish someone did. I have several relatives that I have cared for through their cancer diagnosis and I somewhat understand your thoughts and feelings. I am a Christian and I have a firm belief in God. I do believe in miracles and I also accept realities. I do not understand your doctor not giving you pain medication. I would love to know who he is. That is the most absurd thing. I understand your frustrations, I understand your anger. You are so young and have such a love of life and who can answer why you . I would be mad to. We weren’t given instructions when we were born as to how to deal with this, so it is natural to not know and want to know. You have a lot of family, friends and strangers praying for you. Please know that your family members are just as scared as you are and just as sad. I feel if you will just open your Bible and read, start with Psalms, and hopefully you will get some sort of peace and understanding. I am going to continue to pray for you, for healing if that is possible and if not, then to take away your pain. God bless you…Love and prayers…Dovie

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  9. Be strong, Allie. You have many more friends who are praying for you and wishing you well than you can ever imagine. My wife lost both of her parents to cancer; a devastating illness that is difficult to cope with for any family. Yours is doing the best they can, remember that they are dealing with it the best that they can, they love you just as all of us who you touched in some small way have come to love you, too. We are all here for you, to make you laugh and smile, to tell you stories and to listen to yours. Your friendship, even in its limited capacity as it has grown through facebook- has been a shinig light. We all are thinking and praying for you.

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  10. Janette, I am glad that you have “sistas” in Sharon and Cathy, that you have special people that you can confide in and explain to them exactly how you are feeling, and be there for each other. I am sorry that you have cancer. I can only imagine how frightened you are. I’ve never had cancer. I don’t know how I would react. I don’t know that I would be strong. As far as pain relief goes, I’m glad you stopped being nice when you called the doctor’s office to tell them that you need something that will work for your pain to give you a better quality of life. It sounds like you need to be your own health advocate and you were.

    You have a story to tell of what you are going through and Sharon is making sure that it is getting out there for others to hear. I hope you get the support and dignity that you strive for. I can hear that you have friends (and family) who do love you. I thank Sharon for writing your thoughts out. By hearing what you think and feel, I believe will make all of us more understanding people. I am sending you positive thoughts and will pray for you. I care about happens to you.

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