My Brave Story- Amanda Janzen

Living your life to the fullest. It's sounds almost cliché to say, so many times we hear it and we read it, but do we really try to do it? Do we treat each day as if it could be our last? Do we tell those we love that we love them?

One person that I know who lives by this is Amanda Janzen. Amanda is a beautiful wife, mommy and entrepreneur and is also a breast cancer CONQUERER. This women did not only survive cancer, but she kicked it's butt and continues to do it everyday because she lives her life so full and is on a mission to help others do the same! 

I'm so honored to share this crazy-strong woman's Brave Story of faith, triumph, and encouragement! 

Candace

 Amanda and her 3 precious girls.

Amanda and her 3 precious girls.

Standing on the shore...

I am Amanda Janzen, 36 years old, married to an amazing husband who continues to love me more everyday. We have 3 beautiful healthy girls that are growing all to quickly. Our daughter, Adelyn, is 6 years old and in 1st grade this year and our twin girls, Cassadee and Emmalee are 3 and started preschool a couple mornings a week this year. We live in a very rural area Southwest of Salina, Kansas. We farm and ranch on the beautiful Kansas prairie, a place I have always called home! My parents farm and ranch so I was raised working and feeding cattle my whole life. Farming and ranching are in my blood and I come from a long line of ranchers! I was raised in a non-denominational church and from a very young age I knew Christ and was spirit-filled. I have always had the Lord as my guide and although I have strayed and tried to do things my own way occasionally, He has always brought me back around and closer to Him each time.

He calls my name...

In September of 2014, I was 34 years old, my twins were only 1.5 years old and I had nursed them until they were a year in April. I was just gaining some normalcy in our crazy life with twins and a 4 year old. That summer I had finally gained some independence from being home bound (any mom of multiples and breastfeeding understands the struggle!) I had started playing in a volleyball league again, getting some exercise running some local 5Ks, traveling a little with my sister, etc. I had noticed a lump on my right breast, very small, but it was deep in the tissue and not superficial. I thought it was just some scar tissue from maybe a bout with mastitis while nursing. One night while playing volleyball it was causing me a lot of pain, I brought it up to my husband who encouraged me to get an appointment scheduled to check it out. My doctor wasn’t concerned but scheduled a diagnostic mammogram and sonogram to confirm, I had no family history and I had always been healthy. On September 22, 2014, my life took a crazy turn of events.

I went from being active, healthy, and in the best physical shape I had been in for a long time to being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 34 years of age.

I went from being active, healthy, and in the best physical shape I had been in for a long time to being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 34 years of age. Wow, talk about a total shock – I went through every emotion; Angry – how could God allow this to happen? Scared – I have young babies who need their mom healthy and active and to watch them grow up. Anxious – what was life going to look like for me, surgeries, chemo – I couldn’t let myself go too far. I remember when I found out my biopsy came back positive in my lymph node as well, the ONE thing I didn’t want to hear was positive, it meant a whole other mountain I would have to climb – I pulled my car over to take the phone call from my surgeon. I got off the phone and I couldn’t even collect myself – I wanted to punch my fist through my car windshield. I have NEVER felt those emotions so real, so raw. The phone calls to family are still vivid in my mind from that day. I had to collect myself, I had to find peace in the situation. I found the ONLY way to gain true peace was to lay it at the Lord's feet, I didn’t blame Him, I knew there was a bigger reason, a bigger plan for my life. I just didn’t understand why I was going to go through something so hard. I had to trust the Lord's word, I spoke life into my body, I concentrated on His goodness and love and everlasting peace.

Stepping into the waves...

Life had been busy for me with two young babies at home, it was a struggle to leave the house. We hadn’t been attending church on a regular basis but I was listening to my worship music while I would run and watch church online on the weekends, but this diagnosis was a wake-up call. It made me realize that this life wasn’t just about me and walking through breast cancer, this was an opportunity for me to share my faith with others. This was an opportunity for others to watch the Lord work in my life. Protecting me. Guiding me. Allowing me to have a peace that no one could understand. Bringing together communities in support of my family, blessing us in so many ways – financially, meals, house cleaning, and just so many, many prayers and encouragement. I would say this was no gentle nudge, it was a shaking – a wake up call, of sorts. A wake up call in my health and my spiritual walk. 

 Amanda and her sister, Kerry Cramton, one of our past Brave Stories.

Amanda and her sister, Kerry Cramton, one of our past Brave Stories.

At this point, I had to decide with all my heart that I knew he was going to hold me in his arms, the Lord was going to bring me through this battle and no one else! I had to trust in His plan and I knew I had to pray and pray fervently on every decision I was going to make regarding my plan of treatment until I had a peace about my decision. I knew only HIS name could bring me peace, during tests, CT scans, MRIs. I would say his name over and over and over again when I knew nothing else to pray.

There is power, such amazing power is His glorious name!

There is power, such amazing power is His glorious name! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and praying in the spirit – I would say His name sometimes for an entire 30 minutes over and over. His peace would come over me. I would listen to worship music in the car on the way to treatment or teachings on the Word. I would put in my ear buds and listen to worship music during my entire chemo treatment every 2 weeks. I continued to feed my soul man so I could be strong and encouraged. I knew He was by my side every step of the way. I NEVER felt Him leave my side nor forsake me.

Don't look back...

Oh the fears, so many fears try to grip you when you are diagnosed with cancer. I had several friends who had been through breast cancer and two other friends that had been diagnosed with colon cancer and were going through treatment that were my age. I lost a sorority sister to breast cancer and another to colon cancer, the fear was real. I feared not being around to raise my girls, I knew they needed their mommy. I feared if my husband would stick around, so many times through hard times such as these, marriages struggle. I feared how I would take care of my kids and husband during chemo and being gone so much. All those fears are real, very real. I feared losing my hair, looking sick, losing my breasts, losing my sexuality, my confidence. Goodness the list could go on and on. I feared surgery and recovery. I feared feeling sick all the time. I feared so many things, although I hate to admit that I let those fears come in. I learned to quickly lay them at His feet and never let them take hold or grip me. Whom or what shall I fear with the Lord? He goes before me and He has an army of Angels to surround me and protect me. I believed that this was the Lords victory to have in my life!!!

Reaching for His hand...

Breast cancer was a blessing in my life. Those words really shouldn’t be put in the same sentence, right? Something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, cancer, and then a complete blessing from God. Breast cancer has given life a new meaning. It has caused me to be more aware of my purpose here on Earth. My purpose is to share my faith and be a disciple for Jesus! Opening eyes to the goodness only the Lord can bring into your life. Caring for others more than myself. Cherishing the little things in life. Spending quality time with my kids and family and slowing down in this crazy, busy, fast paced world that we live in. Putting God first and making time for him daily. Shining my light for others to see, brightly – not just in the back of the room! The Lord has also allowed me to learn more about my body and my health and he has shown me the way to better living through improving my mind, body and spirit. I have focused on keeping his temple, my body, healthy and happy so I can share his love more effectively.

Take hold...

He has given me a passion for health and healing and helping others in their health too. By sharing my story of breast cancer and how the Lord brought me through the hardest time in my life to how He has guided me since treatment ended, I am able to live my life for HIM!! He has blessed me abundantly for staying faithful during the biggest struggle of my life. Was this trial worth it? I can't imagine my life if this trial hadn't happened to me. I know my life is now richer in faith and friendship. I know the Lord will continue to stretch and teach me and mold me into his likeness. For that I will be forever grateful and thankful.