This personal story chronicles how the author sustained her hope through two bouts with breast cancer. The reader discovers her process for enduring diagnosis and treatment, making instant decisions, seeking support groups, facing a curious public, and holding family and job together. She addresses beauty challenges and gives survival tips to weary travelers on the lonely road to renewed health.
Jan gives an overview of the book:
I was living in the midst of an urban area as a busy wife and mom with three sons. Like a circus entertainer, I juggled spousal and parental duties with the responsibility of being a full-time patent attorney at a biotechnology company and managing six professionals. I was blessed with a generous medical insurance package provided by my employer. Public transportation was my means to get to work—I commuted from Alameda in the East Bay by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to my employer on the San Francisco side of the bay. Not long before we found the lump, my employer had instituted an Emergency Ride Home policy. This generous benefit entitled a worker to be reimbursed by the company for a taxicab ride home if he/she had an emergency and no other way to get to a needed destination. Usually the emergency was prompted by the employee having biked, hiked, carpooled, or taken public transportation to work.
Halfway through that fateful day, I called to arrange for an emergency ride home, since I had taken BART to work and had secured a same-day appointment with my primary-care physician. The person at my company who handled the emergency calls did not question, and I did not volunteer, the nature of my emergency. My employer simply reimbursed me for the fare and the tip so I could drive to the doctor's office. Later, I asked what constituted an emergency, and was simply told, "If you think it is an emergency, then it is." This gesture of kindness was the first of many merciful blessings I received in this whirlwind of uncertainty swirling around me at that juncture of my life.
Anxiety threatened to overwhelm me again as I stepped into the doctor's office that day. The medical facility was not unfamiliar. I had been to that office many times for preventative checkups. But never had I shivered as I did while waiting uneasily in that cold, stark examining room once my blood pressure and temperature were taken. Fear-induced goose bumps aside, it didn't help that I was draped in a thin paisley hospital gown with the opening in the front. After an eternity, the doctor entered the room. The ensuing clinical examination confirmed, much to my dismay, the presence of the lump. I was secretly hoping, but not really believing, that the lump was only imagined. As I expected from the concerned look on his face, the doctor scheduled a mammogram for as early a date as possible. Due to crowded calendars, the earliest appointment he could get was a week away. Knowing that mammograms are generally the first step in diagnosing the dreaded breast cancer, I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to push away the fear that was creeping into my heart. I put on a brave front. After all, unlike some stories I had heard, this doctor took seriously the presence of this lump and didn't slough it off as not important or not big enough. I respected him greatly for that, and didn't think he deserved to see my tears. In a daze, I went back to work again, waiting for the mammogram date to approach. While this period of waiting was only seven days, it seemed to stretch to infinity.
A retired patent attorney and Paradise resident, Jan Hasak authored Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer (Xulon Press 2008). In this inspirational memoir she shares how her hope in Christ sustained her as she underwent breast-cancer...