She felt a lump on her breast and knew it wasn’t normal. Her primary care doctor couldn’t find anything, so she decided to take a diagnostic mammogram to see if something was truly there.
Nervousness and fear were two strong emotions going through her as she waited to confirm what she knew was there all along.
Janet Watson was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2016.
She met with Edgardo Rivera, an oncologist at Kingman Regional Medical Center, to discuss the next steps she needed to take. During the visit with Rivera, and with her husband beside her, the oncologist let them know her condition was at an early stage.
“One thing I will always remember about Dr. Rivera was that he made us feel like we were the only ones in the building,” Watson said.
Watson started thinking the worst. She knew she lived a happy and fulfilling life, so she was prepared for anything that happened next.
“When it hits you, that’s how you feel,” she said.
But Rivera assured Watson it was not the end.
Watson had a lumpectomy and stayed in bed for several days. Her husband and daughter were with her the day of the surgery. Months after her surgery, she chose to go through radiation. Watson endured 33 treatments, five days a week, for 6 ½ weeks.
“At the beginning, it doesn’t affect you too much. But as time goes on, it builds,” she said.
While going through radiation, Watson felt weak and tired, but the doctors at the radiology department made her feel comfortable. She made sure to ask questions if she didn’t know what was going on because it made her feel more comfortable knowing what she was facing.
During the last few weeks of radiation she was exhausted and just wanted to go home and lay down.
“I would drive myself to and from radiation,” Watson said.
She got through the radiation treatments and earned a certificate at the end.
Throughout this time she had the support of her family and friends. Watson believes in the power of prayer, and people prayed for her every step of the way. One woman in particular told her that there’s a special prayer for those who have cancer. The woman would recite it every night for Watson.
“Those things are so reassuring,” she said.
From the start she kept a positive attitude, and it was natural for Watson. She said it does help to stay positive and upbeat during a difficult time.
Watson is now two years cancer free, but she continues to get checked every year in case it comes back. To this day, she hasn’t had any setbacks. After her radiation, she continued to have a positive outlook on life and lives it to the fullest.
Radiation changed Watson. The summer heat was unbearable, she felt more tired and like she aged 10 years in the two years of treatment. She told her doctor she wasn’t the same as before, but she still lives her life.
“I’m just glad I’m here today,” Watson said.
Not only is she a survivor, but Watson is the Kingman Cancer Care Unit president.
As KCCU president for four years, she knows many survivors with similar stories to hers, while others have different ones. Knowing there are many survivors out there has given her so much strength.
To those who are going through cancer, she is there for moral support. Many have come to her for advice or to help them address their concerns. Watson is there for a hug, a shoulder to lean on, or even an encouraging text message.
“We are survivor sisters (and brothers),” she said.
Watson said she’s not afraid of death. She believes everyone is on earth for a reason, which we may or may not know.
“We must be hopeful and make everyday count,” she said.