Cancer doesn’t abide by any calendar. That’s important to remember as we close out Breast Cancer Awareness Month—and its companion campaign, Liver Cancer Awareness. It’s a disease that defines time on its own terms.
But we—who may suffer from cancer or know someone who does—are unbound as well. Determined to beat it. Cure it. In any form. All the time.
That’s why we fight the good fight on all fronts, in October and year-round. In memory of the women and men who passed on—and for the survivors who carry on. Like Jan, a Working Solutions employee of nine years.
Two Spots Detected
Jan is a breast cancer survivor. Twice over. As a single mother, with a 5-year-old son, Simon, she first was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, soon after joining the company.
At 40, she had her first mammogram, following an annual well-woman checkup. Two spots were detected on her right breast. A biopsy of one proved positive for cancer.
Driving home at night in a pouring rain, Jan got the call from her doctor. “Soon, it was just as wet inside the car. Tears flowing down my face.” No woman in her family had ever had cancer.
A U.S. Army communications specialist who served in Desert Storm, Jan dealt with the diagnosis head-on. She met with her doctor, who biopsied the second spot, which also was cancerous.
A Full Recovery
With support of family, friends and co-workers, Jan underwent a mastectomy and later reconstruction of her right breast. She recalls Kim Houlne, Working Solutions founder, and her husband, Tim, then CEO, stocking the refrigerator with meals during her recovery.
With her sister, Sheila, by her side, Jan recovered. The outcome was uplifting. “They’d gotten it all. I was cancer free.”
Jan began life anew, continuing her finance career at Working Solutions and enrolling in Collin College to earn a long-desired degree in childhood education.
Cancer Returns, Spreads
Then in June 2015, Jan noticed changes in her reconstructed breast. She consulted her doctor, who confirmed the cancer had metastasized—returning to the right breast and spreading to the chest wall and left breast.
Jan began 12 rounds of chemo before undergoing a bilateral mastectomy. After healing from the surgery, she received 28 more doses of radiation. The treatments burned, blistering her skin with third-degree lesions.
Throughout it all, Jan persevered. She continued to work and complete her associate’s degree. Now, she is set on earning a bachelor’s degree in education.
Rebounded and Determined
“Cancer. It took away my hair. Changed my body. But it’s not taking away my education.”
And there’s one more thing cancer didn’t get. Her love from family—at home and on the job.
“The first time, Working Solutions fed my family while I was hospitalized. And this time, it was no different. They’ve taken care of me. From the start.”
Pink ribbons signify the fight against breast cancer, especially during awareness month in October.
The calendar, however, is filled with ribbons of many colors, with campaigns to beat cancer in its different forms. White for lung cancer in November, orange for kidney cancer in March and black for melanoma and skin cancer in May. And many, many more.
So pick a color. Choose a campaign. There are plenty to go around as we fight the good fight—all year long.