Real Stories
09 February 2023

Janet's Story

Living a full and happy life after incurable cancer diagnosis

Janet Butler slide
Janet Butler swim slide
Janet Butler pilates slide
Real Stories
09 February 2023

"It’s bad enough to be told you have got breast cancer but to be told it has spread and there is no cure is absolutely terrifying.”

Janet Butler from Morecambe was diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer (SBC) in 2019. Further scans revealed it had spread to her liver and bones, news which tore her family’s world apart.

Janet needed immediate surgery and radiotherapy treatment which meant she had to give up her Pilates business while her husband Paul gave up his job to support her.

“The whole family were devastated and worried they were going to lose me. The fear of this disease affected me physically, mentally and emotionally,” said Janet.

The medication she was required to take began to have a detrimental effect on her physical and mental well-being, causing panic attacks, anxiety and social phobia which led to her being admitted to hospital.

“I felt like my life was over. The medication affected my jaw and sinuses and I had constant toothache for three months until my front teeth snapped off. I had to have dentures. My hair was falling out. I felt very frail and vulnerable and a shell of my former self, “ said Janet.

The family finances also took a huge hit as, with no steady income coming in, they had to rely on their savings to get by.

In need of some support, and with limited funds, Janet turned to CancerCare for help and she was referred for immediate hypnotherapy and counselling at our Slynedales Centre.

“I needed help immediately, and being local was great. I needed counselling to get my head around the terminal diagnosis and the hypnotherapy was an extension of an online mindfulness course. I went on to have one-to-one therapy that was tailored to me and was excellent.

“I felt like I desperately needed therapy and knew it would bring up a lot of emotions, but really help me to accept things and move forward,” said Janet.

Four years on Janet has started to recapture the things she loved in life before her diagnosis. She now has a dog, something she had always wanted, and begun teaching Pilates again.

“I walk my dog every day and spend most days in the countryside or by the seaside. I’ve started outdoor swimming which I absolutely love and makes me feel happy and alive My daughter got married this year and it was one of the best days of our lives, and I can honestly say that I feel lucky to be alive and to be retired and to be surrounded by loving family and friends.

“I am living well with SBC and I feel grateful for every day. CancerCare has really helped me on my journey, especially at the beginning when I needed it most.”

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