Human Hero

Human Hero

For each PuppyUp Walk, the Event Manager and their Walk Team select both a Human Cancer Hero and a Canine Cancer Hero, to be honored during the Walk ceremonies.

These Heroes are chosen because of their exemplary attitude towards their particular type of cancer, showing bravery and hopefulness in their fight against this terrible disease. 


Meet Janet Andersen – 2019 PuppyUp Lake Norman Human Cancer Hero

Here is her cancer story – Cancer … WHAAAAAAAAT?!!!?

My journey with cancer began as part of my normal annual routines. Annual wellness check, annual mammogram, etc. I went to the appointment and went about my business.

One week later I got a call to schedule a follow up. This had happened before, so I wasn’t particularly concerned. The follow up appointment was a bit different…. I wasn’t allowed to leave until the mammogram had been reviewed by the radiologist. Sitting quietly in the confining little changing rooms looking at the few materials about breast health… the inspiring story of a survivor on the wall… I twiddled my thumbs eager to get on with my day. Not today!

The radiologist came in and indicated that he had seen a change from previous mammograms, and he felt it needed to be biopsied BUT because of the location it would require a lumpectomy.  I was whisked into the head of nursing’s office where she did a great job of explaining what I could anticipate and “who is your surgeon?” she asked. Well I didn’t have a clue. Who would she suggest? Nope can’t suggest anyone…. but if it was her…. Dr. X would be her pick. Ok I said… and she made an appointment before I could leave.

Visited Dr. X and he explained everything again, “This statistically has about a 20% chance of being cancer” and scheduled the biopsy. Fast forward, biopsy was Positive for cancer and next steps were genetic testing, radiation and 5 years of Tamoxifen.

During this, I noticed one of my dogs having a problem urinating. Off to the Veterinary Hospital of Davidson we went. After a check and biopsy, it was determined that he had a rare kind of bladder cancer. Seven months before he had had a splenectomy because of a mass (cancer)… Poor guy. Nitro had been through a lot and I was distressed. What could I do to ensure he had quality of life… could I just watch him get to the point of emergency euthanasia if he stopped urinating? I decided to try chemo and see how he reacted. His initial infusions went well. Very little negative reaction. He was energetic, chasing squirrels and stealing food off the counter when I wasn’t watching. Very much the good old boy.

But eventually he stopped counter surfing and I knew things were changing. I felt if he chased squirrels, I would do all I could to keep him fed with WHATEVER I could entice him with. He eventually stopped eating and I could see he was “done”. One last check with the Veterinary Hospital of Davidson and I took him home to be euthanized. I hugged him and looked into his eyes until he was gone… He went peacefully.

I miss him and all the other dogs and cats that have graced me with their lives.

  • Sunday, April 30, 2017