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Without a doubt, Natalie Juarez is a warrior, but some battles can't be fought alone. Natalie discovered this abruptly when she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2 breast cancer, in May 2021.
"I didn't know how I was going to get through this." As a single mother with two young boys, Natalie was facing a giant storm. Natalie discovered that her diagnosis would require surgery and six months of chemotherapy.
While under the care of AdventHealth, Natalie's friend Janet introduced her to the HEAL(Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle) Breast Cancer program, where she met Dr. Amber Ormon, a double-board-certified radiation oncologist and lifestyle medicine specialist, and co-founder of the HEAL program.
The HEAL Breast Cancer program with AdventHealth Cancer Institute is an 8-week evidence-based lifestyle medicine immersion for cancer survivors to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence and prevent, treat, and potentially reverse other chronic diseases. This program highlights six pillars, including plant-based nutrition, yoga, and mindfulness.
“In a culture that is obsessed with quick fixes, it was so refreshing to find something that was natural. A natural way of living, a natural rhythm that will help you prevent disease and illness.”
Natalie also got to experience what it was like to have community support through the AdventHealth family. Team members advocated for Natalie and worked with her insurance company to make it possible for her to begin the program. During her 8-weeks, Natalie was surrounded by other breast cancer survivors who also were committed to living a healthy lifestyle.
“Having that community made a huge difference by just having people believing that I can heal, and it made a huge impact on my experience and in my recovery.” Natalie continues to stay in contact with other survivors she met through the program on social media.
When asked what words of encouragement she might share with others facing breast cancer, Natalie shared, "Look for blessings as you're going through the storm."
Our AdventHealth family is beyond grateful to have been a blessing and support to Natalie during such a challenging time. We are thrilled to share that she is now cancer-free and continues to apply the life-changing lifestyle habits she learned through her time with the HEAL program.