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News anchor recounts cancer journey


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2001, news anchor Brenda Ladun has put a public face on the disease by bringing personal experience and cutting-edge research to her viewers.

Now she is sharing more of her journey in an upcoming book and DVD, “Behind the Scenes of Breast Cancer: A News Anchor Tells Her Story of Body and Soul Recovery.”

From the beginning, Ladun has been open about her illness and how faith helped her deal with her diagnosis and treatment. In 2002, the 20-year veteran of news reporting and anchoring wrote “Getting Better, Not Bitter: A Spiritual Prescription for Breast Cancer,” which detailed the challenges of living with breast cancer and examined how each step of the journey strengthened her faith in God.

Now as a survivor who has been cancer-free for five years, Ladun wants to give her readers the benefit of what she has learned about recovery.

“I had this great eye-opening experience with the Lord getting me through this tough time, and this book is about how the Lord carries us through and continues to grow us,” said Ladun, a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Ala., near Birmingham.

In Behind the Scenes of Breast Cancer, set for release in September from New Hope Publishers, Ladun shares not only her personal experiences but also stories from others dealing with seemingly insurmountable health obstacles.

These stories of physical healing and spiritual growth have come from people at work, church, community and school settings who have recounted to Ladun the miracles God has done in their lives. The stories were encouraging to her, and she hopes that she can encourage others by sharing them with a broader audience.

“At one time or another, we’re all going to have to walk through that fire, but if we hold on to the Lord’s hand, we won’t get burned,” Ladun said. “These stories just put an exclamation point on how God’s glory can carry us through.”

The physical aspects of recovery are the major theme of the DVD that accompanies the book. Ladun interviewed several experts for the DVD who work closely with breast cancer patients, including a physical therapist, massage therapist, personal trainer, registered dietician, swim instructor and plastic surgeon. Ladun said the advice and information from these experts teach women that they can be even better after surgery than they were before, Ladun said.

“I was blessed to have very good, godly doctors who spent time explaining things to me,” she said. “I also sought information as a reporter and found advice that really helped.”

For example, one post-surgery condition Ladun focuses on in the DVD is lymphedema, a swelling of the arm that sometimes happens after surgery to remove lymph nodes. Without proper care and exercise, lymphedema can cause serious infection and loss of motion in the arm, a condition known as “frozen shoulder.”

Ladun felt led to address this condition after meeting a woman at a speaking engagement who was stricken with it.

“She was never given the information about how to get therapy, so she just didn’t know what to do,” Ladun said. “I felt the Lord was saying, ‘You’ve got all this great information; now share it with others.'”

Other topics covered in the DVD include eating well, improving posture, dealing with stress and prayerwalking, which helped Ladun return to her daily routine as a working wife and mother to three active boys.

“It’s fun and conversational but it’s all factual information that God used to show me all the things I could do after cancer,” Ladun said.

Most importantly, she wants readers to know they are not alone or without hope in facing their struggles, whatever they may be.

“When human beings tell us we can’t do something, we tend to believe them. But then there’s the Lord with this infinite power,” Ladun said. “Trusting Him in the big things, but also with the little things, would give us a lot more peace.”
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Carrie Brown McWhorter is a correspondent for The Alabama Baptist newsjournal. “Behind the Scenes of Breast Cancer: A News Anchor Tells Her Story of Body and Soul Recovery,” from the New Hope Publishers division of Woman’s Missionary Union, can be ordered at www.wmustore.com or by calling 1-800-295-6536.

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  • Carrie Brown McWhorter