A full-time manager at a biotech company, wife and mother of three sons, I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 when my youngest son was only 3. At that time I was treated with a lumpectomy, CMF, radiation and tamoxifen. A year later I developed lymphedema, an incurable swelling of the arm due to removal of lymph nodes and radiation.
After five years I stopped the tamoxifen, but in 2003 I had a recurrence of my cancer in the same breast. This time I underwent a bilateral mastectomy, two types of chemo (doxorubicin and taxol), and 6 years of Arimidex, which is an aromatase inhibitor. Because I was Her-2 positive, I also took Herceptin for a year.
Cancer free since 2003, I now maintain a Web site (www.janhasak.com) where I offer information on breast cancer and lymphedema. I've also authored two books on my sojourn through cancer: "Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on surviving cancer" and "The Pebble Path: Returning home from a forest of shadows." Both books can be found on Amazon.com and bn.com. In addition, I'm a motivational speaker at events such as ACS Relay for Life and at cancer centers and support groups. In addition, I write e-articles and maintain a blog about cancer and lymphedema called "Mourning Has Broken," which can be found at www.janhasak.com/blog.
“Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.”spread the word