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Breast Care Center Begins Second Session of "A Time to Heal"

Breast Cancer Awareness

HANFORD – The Adventist Health / Breast Care Center is beginning a second session of “A Time to Heal,” following a successful 12-week program that ended in December. A Time to Heal helps breast cancer patients heal through meditation, massage, nutrition education and simply through the company of other survivors.

Six women who went through the first session on Sept. 22 were honored with a graduation ceremony, dinner, cake and gifts on Dec. 11. The next session begins Jan. 19, 2015.

“They’ve come a long way,” says Laurie Schirling, RN and certified nurse navigator who along with Julce Belo became certified this year to lead the program. “They’ve learned to express their feelings and just be open.”

Schirling and Belo used guided meditation, massage and other tools to help the women reduce the stress and fear that often comes with breast cancer.

“Coming here, I felt better about myself because these other women are going through the same thing,” says Rachelle Conyers, an Adventist Health employee.

Conyers discovered she had breast cancer on May 25, 2012. She felt a lump, so she went in for a mammogram and was diagnosed with Stage 3B breast cancer, an invasive form.

“I’ve been in remission for just over a year, but I’m trying to get through the five-year marker,” she says. “These women have inspired me to keep pushing to fight and to never give up.”

Isabel Gomez learned about A Time to Heal through The Sentinel newspaper. She had battled breast cancer in 2002, but was diagnosed a second time this year.

“Even though I have gone through the cancer before, this program helped me realize there are so many things I should have known the first time,” says Gomez. “Having the camaraderie here with the group and being able to relate what we read in the book and discussions, I found it very helpful.”

Gomez didn’t just have support from the women in the program. She persuaded her daughter, who battled breast cancer in 2013, to join her.

Monica Gomez completed her last treatment about a year ago. She was diagnosed at the age of 37, but wishes she would have been tested earlier based on her family history of breast cancer. She had a bilateral mastectomy, and her mom is scheduled to have the same surgery soon.

“We fight because we want to live,” says Monica Gomez. “I feel we’re that much more prepared for my daughter, who’s 10 years old. We know in eight years she’s going to be facing the test. Knowledge is power.”

All of the women agree that having support from other women who are fighting to live makes a huge difference. The ladies say they plan to keep in touch. From here, they will be invited to attend breast cancer support groups that meet on Thursdays.

The next 12-week session for A Time to Heal is scheduled to begin Jan. 19, 2015. If you or someone you know would like to join, please contact Schirling or Belo at the Breast Care Center, (559) 537-2300 or visit HanfordBreastCenter.com.

Watch the video below to hear the emotional journey the first participants of A Time to Heal experienced.