Published on August 3, 2015
With a background in healthcare, Janice DeArmas knew that her symptoms meant her body was trying to tell her something, even, perhaps, indicative of a pending heart attack. Walking downstairs from her job at the hospital to the ER, the subsequent cardiac tests came back negative for a heart attack. The follow-up X-ray, however, showed something worthy of admitting Janice overnight. A CT scan revealed a large tumor in her lung. Janice endured surgery, chemo and radiation and is pleased to count herself as a survivor today, but she credits a particular member of her support network, Coco. Coco is Janice's Powerful Pet—a miniature poodle whom Janice rescued. Or as Janice says, "She saved me, and I saved her." Listen to this heartwarming interview as Janice and Coco learn to "accept every day as a blessing and go forward."
Transcript | Powerful Pets As Support Network Members
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Janice, what made you go to the doctor’s office in the first place? Most of us tend to avoid them whenever we can.
And I’m one of those. I initially—I work as hospitals—so I was just feeling bad that week. I was feeling kind of clammy, feeling like indigestion, just not feeling myself. And I kept putting it off and putting it off. And then finally, I says let me just go downstairs to Emergency and let them check me out in case you know I’m having maybe a heart attack or something like that, because I’m feeling this uncomfortable feeling. So I went down to Emergency, and they checked me out for heart attack and said everything was fine. And then they did an X-ray, and they saw something in my chest and said we’re going to keep you overnight and do a CAT scan in the morning. And when they did, that’s when he came back and he said he saw this large tumor.
And then what happened then besides the sky falling in?
The sky falling in and then just the beginning of the cancer journey. Eventually, I picked a hospital that I was to go to. And I eventually ended up with surgery and chemo and radiation and the whole shebang.
Most people speak of the importance of a support of network of friends and family that help you get through this long process. I hear you have a special support network member.
I did. I have a—her name is Coco, and she’s a miniature poodle. And i rescued her. She was from a rescue shelter, and she helped me tremendously get through my cancer bout. My phrase is that I tell people she saved me, and I saved her. No matter what your day was like when you came home, she’s always glad to see you. And the walking too—good exercise—to this day, you know, two or three walks a day, you know everybody in the neighborhood. It helps you to get out. It helps you to socialize.
And you’re feeling well now.
Yes. Yes, well you know you always have that little inkling in the back of your mind once you have cancer, you know. If they say you’re cancer-free, I don’t ever think really ever feel that way, but in the back of your mind you accept every day as a blessing and go forward.