Billy’s Story: A Father’s Journey

Billy’s Story: A Father’s Journey

Billy’s HealingStrong Journey

In March 2010, my daughter Elise, age 24, was diagnosed with cancer. This shocking revelation began a journey filled with questions, tears, and incredible courage. The weeks following would become a blur of doctor appointments, radiation therapies, biopsies, and several rounds of chemotherapy. As the severity of the disease became more apparent, a feeling of helplessness settled into our daily lives. Her Mom, older sister Sarah, and I were all understandably shaken. Elise, though, never lost her resolve or sense of humor. Her courage during this time was truly inspirational. As the weeks turned into months the “grind” began to take its toll. All of the summer of 2010 was spent going to the hospital or coming from it. Elise was wearing down due to the chemo treatments. In July, however, we celebrated her 25th birthday in her hospital room. The room was decorated for a party, and the mood was festive; Elise had a wonderful day.

Every day our family would cling to any positive news. Little rays of hope kept us going. As summer gave way to fall, Elise’s condition began to deteriorate. Any hope the family had was […]

Christine’s Story : Breast Cancer

Christine’s Story : Breast Cancer

Christine’s HealingStrong Journey

I had felt the lump for two years. The mammograms were clear- even my OB thought the lump was nothing.  We finally saw it with the ultrasound. Finding out the results of my biopsy hit me with titanic force. SO began my journey. I thought I was a healthy person. I come from a big Italian family with a huge sampling of many aunts and cousins and second cousins. At the point of my own diagnosis, I didn’t know any in my family who had breast cancer except me. My own mother is 90. My two daughters, my sister my nieces – all of us were shaken. I was the healthy one! Oh so we thought.

I was diagnosed with stage 2, ES+ PR+ HER- Ductal and Lobular carcinoma = breast cancer. For years, I was the one that had walked in all the cancer walks, raised funds, organized teams… for everyone else.

My mind would not get off the WHY???? and the HOW??? It took a long time for me to move beyond those two questions.

After getting over the shock, I immediately had two surgeries in the following six months. The oncologist and my surgeon […]

Joan’s Story: Breast Cancer

Joan’s Story: Breast Cancer

Joan’s HealingStrong Journey

My name is Joan Hatrak. I have been a breast cancer survivor for 11 years now. (Thank God!) My diagnosis was “Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma,” stage 2, and to my benefit, it was slow growing. I had a lumpectomy only, no chemo or radiation. Please understand, this was my choice.

I wish I could say “if you do this and this, you will rid your body of cancer,” but unfortunately I don’t have a set cure nor can I tell you what is right for you. I can tell you what I did to build my immune system so that my own body’s defenses fought it – without chemotherapy, radiation or radical surgery. Let me tell you a little about my story.

When I was first told that my diagnosis was “cancer,” I was horrified, as I am sure you are. Just hearing the words, “you have cancer” caused me to stop breathing. My head was spinning, and the rest of my body was frozen. The whole experience was surreal. My thoughts went to all the people I knew that had done everything the doctors told them to do and yet they […]

Suzy’s Story: Thyroid Cancer

Suzy’s Story: Thyroid Cancer

Suzy’s HealingStrong Journey

My healing strong journey began in 2009 when a diagnosis of cancer stopped me in my tracks.  Heading to surgery for a different health issue, the diagnosis of cancer that same month took me by surprise.  At that time, I trusted my medical care to multiple doctors and subsequently many prescription drugs for various health issues: insomnia, neck tremors, thyroid disease, fibroid tumors, and now this –

 I really felt like I had been run over by a freight train, asking “Why Me?”  “Why Now?” 

Cancer in the thyroid gland was supposed to be a piece of cake.  I was told many times by my healthcare providers that if you are going to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the cancer to get.  After surgery and radiation, my next scan showed 3 glands “lit up”.  Discussions like: radical neck dissection, plucking the lymph nodes “one by one”, combination chemotherapy, more radiation – all possibilities in my future.  The doctors seemed o.k. with that —

A second and third opinion – wanted to be certain.

Over the next several months, my whole body scan, Pet Scan and sonogram all confirmed that my lymph […]