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From the Mouths of Survivors: Janet Loveland

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Janet Loveland, 56, Southaven, Miss.

When a well-meaning doctor gave Loveland a binder full of information about her “cancer journey,” the metaphor rubbed her the wrong way. It wasn’t so much the metaphor itself as the presumption of defining her experience. She thinks of breast cancer as just part of her life story. It was a pivotal chapter, though. She even has a title for it.

“I called it ‘My summer on the front porch.’ One of the biggest blessings of my experience is it forced me to slow down. It was humbling but necessary. I had eight rounds of chemo over four months, and during that time, I couldn’t do much physically. But I could get out of bed, and by leaning on the wall I could inch along and make it to the front porch. I had a beautiful view. I put out suet cakes and birdseed, and I used a book to learn how to identify birds. It sounds so weird to say it, but having cancer was a positive experience for me. Through it all, I found something I loved, and still do, which is bird watching. I learned that I was more deeply loved by more people than I had any idea. It was definitely life-changing, but it was all for the good.”