TITUSVILLE, Fla. — We first introduced you to Janet Thompson back in August, as she celebrated a major milestone surrounded by family and her Orlando Health care team. Thompson rang the bell, signifying her final chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier in the year.

Unlike the majority of the people that are also diagnosed with the disease, for Thompson, it was caught early.

What You Need To Know

  • According to oncologists, about 80% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed late due to the placement of the pancreas in the body.

  • Unlike other types of cancer, officials say pancreatic cancer does not have a specific test. For example, pancreatic cancer does not have a test like breast cancer has mammograms to help detect it.

  • Even if pancreatic cancer is caught early and able to be treated, frequent testing is necessary

  • PREVIOUS: 'My treatment is done': Titusville pancreatic cancer survivor rings final treatment bell

Around this time last year, Thompson was spending her Christmas baking and decorating cookies with her family — a tradition she said dates back to when her children were young. However, she was also preparing to start chemotherapy.

“At that time, I thought it wasn’t going to be a big problem. But it actually was a very hard time,” said Thompson.

Though she was still able to get through the holiday doing some of the things she’d normally do, Thompson said Christmas didn’t quite feel the same last year. With six months’ worth of chemotherapy ahead, Thompson said she didn’t know what to expect, but she fought through every month and treatment, anyway.

Fast forward to today, and not only has she completed her treatments, but the past two follow-up scans have also come back clear.

“This time last year, I wasn’t sure that I’d even be around for this Christmas. So, I’m just beyond thankful to God that I have another Christmas and can spend it doing stuff like this,” said Thompson.

Just days before Christmas, Thompson sat in her kitchen at home in Titusville doing what she’d normally do with her family around the holidays. Gathered closely, she and her granddaughters took turns decorating cookies. She said although last year’s festivities weren’t so merry and bright, she leaned on memories from when things were good, and kept hope that things would get back to that place.

Now that she is cancer free, Thompson said she’s even more grateful for every day and looking forward to spending each moment she has, enjoying the second chance at life.