Breast cancer survivor publishes book on faith

A Greencastle breast cancer survivor reveals how her Christian faith helped her get through the journey of her cancer diagnosis and treatment in her recently published book, “He Provides the Shoes: Walking with God Through Breast Cancer.

Karen Holmes was 43 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer in February 2006.

“With no family history of the disease and a healthy lifestyle — including regular exercise and a healthy diet low in saturated fat — I was very surprised about my cancer diagnosis,” said Holmes who is the mother of young daughters and had worked as a nurse. Her husband, Dr. Brian Holmes, is a neurosurgeon.

The book is a detailed journal of her two years of cancer treatments. She had a lumpectomy followed by four months of potent chemotherapy and then a year of less toxic chemotherapy that included the drug Herceptin, which is designed for those who are HER-2 positive (25 percent of breast cancer victims are HER-2 positive).

An evangelical Christian, Holmes kept a journal of what she was feeling during those two years. It included her relationship with Jesus Christ, her Protestant faith and her family.

Holmes’ experiences with breast cancer helped her realize how much she needs God.

“When you’re frightened and caught off guard, God will walk with you every step of the way,” the author said.

She said she prays differently now. “Prayer gives me the strength to get through the day,” she said.

The experience has taught her to not focus on the present and the problems she faces daily, but on God’s will.

A self-published author, Holmes believes her book can be helpful to breast cancer survivors and their families as well as anyone searching for answers through faith.

Copies of “He Provides the Shoes: Walking with God through Breast Cancer,” are available at

All proceeds from the book go to Cumberland Valley Breast Cancer Alliance and the Susan G. Kormen Foundation.