Life Beyond Breast Cancer

Posted by: Amy in Illness

Tagged in: women , cancer

Janelle Hail grew up with a loving Christian mother, and a angry atheist father. Watch this motivational video as Janelle tells her inspirational life story of her battle with cancer gave her the chance to learn compassion.


Many people have asked me to share the story of how my faith in God helped me face breast cancer as a young woman 30 years ago. That faith has become the sustaining strength of my life.

Over the years, when something bad happened to me, instead of dwelling on it, I have always tried to optimistically look forward. Somehow, taking only the positive memories with me helped make the journey easier. That was difficult to do with breast cancer. It carried the weight of fear, uncertainty, and change in my life forever. At times I didn’t know how to move forward, but I had to keep going since I was a wife and mother of three young sons, ages 13, 10 and 3. Responsibilities and my love for my family were foremost. During that time I came to understand God’s love for me.

When I returned home from the hospital after having a mastectomy, I was getting dressed one morning and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was as though I came face to face with the reality of the scar that now landscaped my body. I loathed the scar because it symbolized the interruption and destruction that had come to my life.

That morning I stopped and stared down the scar as though to say, “One of us will win today.”

I dropped my head and softly cried, “Lord, please help me see myself as you see me.” That’s it. That is all I said. At that exact moment I felt a warmth come over me from the top of my head all the way down to my feet, as though a cloud of peace had settled over me. It was then that I knew how much God loved me. He opened my eyes to see myself as He saw me—not as a broken and marred body, but as His beautiful child.

I looked at my hands and held them out saying, “Thank you, God, that I have two hands to work for you. I have two feet to go where you want me to go. I have a mouth to speak for you.” At that moment gratitude overtook me and erased the scar on my heart.

To truly live life beyond breast cancer, you have to recognize rare moments in life when you allow others to catch a glimpse inside your soul. For many years I kept my personal life to myself. Because I care about you who are reading my blog and want you to understand what brought me to this place in life as CEO of National Breast Cancer Foundation, I share my story today, best told in the video I Am Second.


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