Thursday, October 16, 2008

Local author, two-time breast cancer survivor, to speak tonight in Chico


As a patent attorney for a biotechnology company in the Bay Area, Jan Hasak's life was never to be the same when she and her husband Jim "found a painless tiny lump in my breast in mid-December, 1995. I had turned 43 just two months earlier." She tells her story in "Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer" ($17.99 in paperback from Xulon Press).

A Christian since 1989, and mom of three sons, she writes that "I had never experienced any significant personal suffering up to that point." That was about to change.

Hasak will be signing copies of her book tonight from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the American Cancer Society's "The Shop" on Mangrove Avenue in Chico. The event is called “Life By Chocolate” with chocolates prepared by Upper Crust Bakery and sponsored by Butte Community Bank. Admission is a $10.00 donation to The American Cancer Society’s fund raiser called “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer."

"My initial journey into the world of cancer was shrouded in mourning," Hasak writes, "the feeling of loss and grief over what could have been. But later I encountered a springtime of refreshing and blessing. This book is an account of that crossing through life-threatening challenges. . . ."

Hasak blends a deeply personal account of her experience of God's sustenance with details of her research. She provides the reader with invaluable reflections on treatment options, the value of vitamins and herbal supplements, support groups, and what not to say to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. With the removal of lymph nodes she faced lymphedema, a debilitating swelling of the arm as fluid accumulates. The author's book and Web site ( provide key online resources.

When a routine checkup in 2003 finds "another lump in the same breast in which the first tumor was discovered," she writes that "I felt that my body had betrayed me in a big way." Instead of a lumpectomy with the first diagnosis, she faced a bilateral mastectomy. And another round of grieving. "God does not condemn such feelings. But in contrast to the secular world, Christians are not to grieve as if they have no hope."

"Mourning Has Broken" is a compassionate and spiritually encouraging companion.

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