(Survivor (10 - 20 years))
Personal Bio (My story)
I'm a retired patent attorney from Genentech, Inc., manufacturer of cancer drugs such as Herceptin. I worked there for over 20 years. A wife and mother of three grown sons, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43, and again at age 52 while working full time and managing attorney professionals. It was an incredible shock since I had no family history, I was a vegetarian, and I ran three times a week.
A year after my first bout with cancer I developed lymphedema in my left arm, a swelling resulting from removal and radiation of lymph nodes in my armpit. The lymphedema was more disfiguring and distressing than the cancer because it was a daily reminder of a struggle.
After my second bout with cancer I decided to write a book on the story of my cancer and how I coped and found hope ("Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer"). A few years later I decided to write poetry and put it into a fairy-tale-like allegory reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel ("The Pebble Path: Returning Home from a Forest of Shadows").
Now I write regularly for my "Mourning Has Broken" blog on issues surrounding breast cancer (www.janhasak.com/blog). I also update my website with new resources useful to cancer and lymphedema patients and with new developments in research surrounding lymphedema.
I'm also a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and a patient-advocate for the National Lymphedema Network. As a Reach volunteer I minister to other women who are struggling with breast cancer issues. As a patient-advocate, I take back information I learn at lymphedema conferences to my community. In addition, I serve on two boards, one for Lymphedema Treatment Act Advocacy and one for troubled young women.
I enjoy speaking to various audiences about the lessons I learned from my cancer experience. The venues at which I present include support groups, company departments, Relay for Life (the American Cancer Society fundraiser), and various cancer centers, libraries, and bookstores.
I'm more than happy to answer questions people have, although I must stress that I am not a medical professional and can't offer medical advice.
Location: California, Paradise
Marital Status: Married/partnered relationship
Ages of children:
Over 18 years old
Christianity and very serious about it
English (Fluently), Spanish (Okay), German (Okay)
Ask me about:
Trastuzumab (Herceptin), lymphedema, Lymphedema
Health Bio (My Health Story)
I'm a two-time breast cancer survivor with lymphedema. I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1996 and again in 2003.
- Disease: Breast Cancer
- Stage of disease:
- Cancer started in:
estrogen receptor positive (ER+)
- Tumor grade:
- Lymph nodes:
no lymph nodes involved
- Date of first symptom:
- Date of diagnosis: