Joan’s Story: Breast Cancer

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 were no longer alive. I want to assure you though that cancer does not have to mean death. I’d actually like to think that it was the beginning of life for me. It changes how you look at things, makes you appreciate things that before you so easily overlooked.

Well, back to my story.

After a lot of crying I decided to only do a lumpectomy. I was more frightened of the side effects from chemo and radiation than I was of the cancer so I made my decision and had the lump removed. The first thing my husband and I did after my surgery was go away for a week to Florida. I had just had a lumpectomy, and it was a good time to just relax. I found a book called “My Cancer Battle Plan” by Anne Frahm. She too had breast cancer, but stage 4 and was given just months to live. She beat it with nutrition and detoxing!! It is a wonderful book to read. Since that time there are many other books that have come out that are also very encouraging. However, I am partial to that one because it gave me hope. (I had just lost about 10 friends to cancer 2-3 years prior to my diagnosis and as I just stated, they had done everything the doctors had told them to do) This book was different because after doing all the conventional therapies without success, she turned to alternative methods. This was more in line with my belief system anyhow. Building up my body first, made more sense to me. I wanted to make my body as strong as possible and then if nothing worked I would consider some conventional methods. I prayed about things and asked God to lead me to the right things for me.

My first battle. . . I WANTED to live. I knew that the cancer would be a battle and I would be battling for my life so whatever treatment plan I chose—-I needed to believe in it with all my heart and be confident in my decision. My friends and family supported my decision. (You will need their strength from time to time.)

Secondly, I feel there is always an emotional element attached to breast cancer, especially if your tumor sites are estrogen or progesterone positive (as mine were). When we are extremely stressed for a length of time or if there is some emotional upset going on, our emotions can actually cause changes in our body chemistry causing our hormones to become imbalanced. In my case, my husband and I had gone through some marital problems that had caused a real upset in our lives. Grief, a stressful job, relationship problems etc, anything that keeps your life in turmoil for an extended period can lead to health problems.

Our GUT: There is a book I am currently reading called “Gut and Psychology.” It is written by a medical doctor who is finally investigating and proving that health begins in the gut and how important the health of our “gut” is. One of the first things I was doing was taking probiotics both morning and night on an empty stomach. Probiotics help rebuild the natural “flora” of the intestines. We need these good bacteria to establish and flourish in our gut for overall good health and to help keep the bad bacteria in check.

During my healing period, I juiced and ate raw cruciferous salads– lots of greens (the darker the better like, Swiss chard, spinach, collards). I rested and took a lot of time to reflect and heal– need lots of rest and time to meditate. It was a good time for me to reflect and heal.

I also took a broad spectrum enzyme whenever I ate something that was not raw. Once I stopped juicing I would also take enzymes every 2-3 hours on an empty stomach (this helps our system by not having to use its own enzyme reserves for metabolic activities– kind of a replacement for the juicing). Our liver is an important organ for detoxifying so I took the following products to help my liver N-acetyl cysteine, Silymarin (milk thistle), Alpha lipoic acid, Selenium, and Glutathione. I have found a product called Liver Protect that has all these antioxidants in one pill. I still take this every day. Co-Q -10, Calcium-d-glucarate, Vitamin E, Vitamin C (2000 mg/day) are some other antioxidants I took that are important for breast cancer also. Vitamin D-3, not actually a vitamin but a steroid hormone. The importance of this supplement can not be stressed enough. I took a product called Essiac Tea, and Green Tea which is also very good as it contains catechins which are potent antioxidants.

My tumor sites were estrogen and progesterone positive so I take a product called DIM (di-indole -methane) It helps with healthy estrogen metabolism.

Hippocrates, the Father of modern medicine, once said “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” At least once a day I would make a shake using a lot of the same veggies that I used for juicing (spinach, Swiss chard, a small carrot, beets, lettuce, etc). Only this time I would put them in a high powdered blender called a Vita-Mix. This machine is an amazing invention. I used filtered water as my base liquid (8 oz). Or if you want it a little tastier you can add a couple of ounces of apple, pomegranate, or any other healthy juice to your water.

Doing all this got crazy at times. Another reason staying at home was important to me. I made a schedule for myself and had timers set so I would know what to take and when. It sounds difficult but once you have the schedule that will work for you and you do it a few times, it gets easier. Over the years I have changed my supplement routine. I now have a doctor that helps monitor the things I take. I take note of toxins in my environment and try to minimize exposure.

I have talked to people over the years who have had cancer and are cancer free many years after their initial diagnosis. Some did the conventional route first and then afterwards, did things to clean out their body and build it up. Others choose the route I took and we are still alive!!! Have faith– God wants you well!!! He will help you in your journey for better health just as He helped me.

Books or Resources that Most Inspired my Healing Strong Journey:
A Cancer Battle Plan by Anne Fromm
Imagine That by Dewey Friedel
Gut and Psychology by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince

Favorite Verse:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in ALL things, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2


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