Austin woman thriving in life with stage 4 cancer

Janet Choe, in the pink, at the Komen Race for the Cure with her family. (Courtesy: Choe Family)
Janet Choe, in the pink, at the Komen Race for the Cure with her family. (Courtesy: Choe Family)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Janice Choe likes visiting Auditorium Shores. The water, people walking and running alone or with their dogs–it all brings her peace.

The little things mean that much more to her.

“I think those are becoming more noticeable, more critical to notice that I recognize, like, ‘oh, I’m walking with my dog. Oh, he’s pooping. I get to pick it up… pick the poop up.’ I’m sure other people are like, ‘ugh… poop… picking up crap,’ but I enjoy the little things,” Choe said.

This is how she enjoys life while living with stage 4 breast cancer.

“They think stage 4 people [believe] they are going to die pretty soon, which is not the case. There are people with stage 4 who have been living 10-20 years with this disease,” she said.

It’s estimated more than 154,000 people in America live with stage 4 breast cancer. Choe wants people to know life can still be great, even after being diagnosed with cancer that has spread beyond the breasts and onto other organs.

‘If I die tonight, will I regret anything I do today?’

“I’ve come to terms with it, but then, you know, there’s life… you’re still here, so you might as well enjoy it rather than be in the bed.” She feels many make the mistake of getting down on themselves.

She was diagnosed in 2011 while living in Houston. She’s been through years of treatment. While there have been dark times for Choe, she doesn’t like to focus on those. Now, she looks forward to getting up, feeling as good as possible, and taking advantage of every moment of every day.

“That’s what I look for every single day. ‘Hey, what do I feel like today? If I die tonight, will I regret anything I do today?’ That’s my approach,” Janice said.

Choe is taking part in this year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. She hopes people recognize the importance of raising money for stage 4 cancer research. She feels at times stage 4 patients are forgotten. That’s her mission now, spreading awareness for the needs of stage 4 survivors.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen six months from now,” she said, promising to live each day to its fullest.

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