Woman battling cancer turns to crafts to help her heal, provide comfort for other patients
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A woman in the midst of the fight of her life is taking a moment to think of other women in the battle right along with her.
Janis Brunner was diagnosed with three types of breast cancer all at once just five months ago.
“She did the mammogram and said ‘do you want to see it?’ And she flipped it around and I knew soon as she flipped it around it was not a cyst or anything else, it was cancer,” Janis Brunner said.
And that’s when her cancer fight began. But as an artist who loves crafts, she immediately turned to her personal healing. Janis went to her sewing machine and started making port pillows for people who have ports inserted for chemo therapy.
“And these fasten on your seatbelt and they go over your port so they cushion and so the seatbelt doesn’t dig into that and that’s very tender,” Brunner said.
She started the project all on her own. She added seatbelt covers and arm pillows for mastectomy patients to her inventory. But after chemo treatments her body started to give out. That’s when a group of friends showed up to help Janis complete her mission. They formed an assembly line and got the job done.
“I wanted to give back to them some of the joy they’ve given me and just share with them. It’s given me a goal while I’ve been sick to get up and do some things and not just be laying around all the time,” Brunner said.
The group of women now plan to make the sewing session a monthly thing. The port pillows, seatbelt cushions and arm pillows will be given to breast cancer patients at Hendricks Regional Health.
“Breast cancer is very special and unique in this way that people really do want to pay it forward. They really do care, they really do want to help other people so watching them pay it forward just makes you feel such pride in taking care of them,” Director of Breast Services, Dr. Monet Bowling said.
Janis says giving back is a part of the journey and she won’t quit.
“Even on my hardest days, I never forget how blessed I am and I would just like to pay that forward and set an example for my kids and grandkids. This doesn’t have to knock you down.”
Janis’ breast cancer was detected after she got a 3D mammogram. A regular mammogram a year before came back clear. She’s preparing for a double mastectomy and wants to encourage all women to stay on top of their mammograms and follow up if the doctor tells you to.