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Breast-cancer survivor pens account of her journey

Karen Holmes publishes "He Provides the Shoes: Walking with God through Breast Cancer"

Karen Holmes publishes "He Provides the Shoes: Walking with God through Breast Cancer"

August 17, 2009|By ABIGAIL YEAGER / Special to The Herald-Mail

GREENCASTLE, Pa. --Three and a half years ago, Karen Holmes was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the things resulting from her struggle was her book, "He Provides the Shoes: Walking with God through Breast Cancer," published last year through Xulon Press.

The title of the book comes from a quote by evangelist Corrie ten Boom: "If God sends us on strong paths, we are provided strong shoes."

"We all struggle through trials. Some are larger than others," said Holmes of Greencastle. "But no matter what, God is beside us providing the shoes for the trials."

Written as a combination of journal entries and Holmes' memories from that time, the book is an open, first-hand account of her battle with cancer, and is meant to provide encouragement for others facing the same situation.

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"I'm a nurse, and I used to take care of a lot of patients who had cancer, so I knew what they went through on the outside," Holmes said. "I didn't really know what was going on beneath the surface until I got cancer myself. If I can help anyone through this journey, maybe my book will give them insight."

Holmes and her husband, Brian, and their three children, Patrick, 19, Melissa, 13, and Caroline, 10, live in Greencastle. Holmes still describes herself as a typical mom.

She said that after a person goes through cancer, he or she has a greater appreciation for the small moments in life.

"You look at life differently, and try not to let the little things bother you. You do what you can to enjoy each moment," she said. "Another way (my life) has changed is, when I see someone going through cancer, I can really empathize with them, and I feel more likely to reach out to them. I'm not as hesitant to reach out now."

Holmes is living her life to the fullest now. She is talking to local churches about her experiences. She had book signings in June and July. She also writes a blog on her Web site, www.breastcancerandfaith.com , and she has done several interviews. She is also still running, an activity she enjoyed before she was diagnosed.

"As I was going through this, I thought I could never do it again if (the cancer) came back," she said. "But now that I look over the book I tell myself, 'Never say "Never."' I hope it doesn't (come back), but I will keep fighting."

Her book can be purchased on her Web site or in bookstores.

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