About The Pebble Path

The Pebble Path

Breast cancer gets a makeover as fairy tale in this inspirational tale. Few words strike more terror into one’s heart than “You have breast cancer.” Yet the author faced that very diagnosis, twice! How did she cope? By picking up pebbles of wisdom like Princess Fanciful did in the fairy-tale world of The Pebble Path.

Following her cancer diagnosis, Fanciful travels down a shadowy path through the forest of treatment. Along the way she expresses her thoughts through poetry. The poems of The Pebble Path allow the reader to contemplate cancer’s multiple facets. Sometimes the poetry is laugh-out-loud boisterous, sometimes meditative. It is always honest.

Since cancer generates emotions that tend toward the universal, The Pebble Path will resonate with any reader whose life has been interrupted by malignancy or who works in a cancer-related field. The ogres, hags and other residents populating the forest of The Pebble Path will fascinate those searching for meaning and humor in their lives.

Book Trailer


You can purchase The Pebble Path online through Amazon.com (In Print) (Kindle Edition), Barnes & Noble, Outskirtspress.com (search for book), or the Pebble Path website in print or as a $5 e-book.

Other online venues for purchasing the book include Lyon BooksAbeBooks.com, Novels.US.com, and The Book Depository.com.

Outside the U.S., The Pebble Path is available for purchase online at such sites as Amazon.co.uk (In Print) (Kindle Edition), Amazon.ca in Print, Waterstones.comBookAdda.com, Infibeam.com and NBCIndia.com.

As always, The Pebble Path is available for purchase or for ordering at many brick-and-mortar bookstores, including most likely your neighborhood store if you live in the U.S.

Finally, you can contact Jan Hasak directly at jan@janhasak.com to order an autographed book directly from her.

Table of Contents

The Tale Begins
The First Pebble: The Gnome of Diagnosis
The Second Pebble: The Surgeon and His Elves>
The Third Pebble: Goldilocks and the Three Chemo Bears
The Fourth Pebble: Facing the Radiation Hag
The Fifth Pebble: The Troublesome Troll of Lymphedema
The Sixth Pebble: Beauty and Her Beast
The Seventh Pebble: Princess Diaries
The Eighth Pebble: The All-New Snow White
The Ninth Pebble: Climbing the Beanstalk
The Final Pebble: Fairying Beyond Remission



We don’t know the circumstances Providence will shower upon us.  Neither did Hansel nor his sister Gretel.  That tale started when these children overheard their woodcutter father and wicked stepmother discussing the family’s predicament.  How the parents would lead them out into the forest the next day to fend for themselves because the household had run out of food.  When they grasped the woman’s words, “then we will all four starve; you had better get the coffins ready,” Gretel sobbed.  But Hansel would not despair.  Resourceful beyond his years, Hansel sneaked out that same night to gather white pebbles to use on the next day’s trip.  By scattering the pocketed stones discreetly along the footpath as they trudged through the woods, he later could guide Gretel and himself back home.  The trusty flints had glistened in the moonlight like landing lights on an airstrip.

The second time he and Gretel found themselves thrust into the dense brush, however, Hansel had no loyal rocks in his pocket to use as landmarks.  The previous evening the stepmother had locked the door so he could not gather them beforehand.  All he had to lead him home this time were breadcrumbs he had dropped the length of the trail as they went along.  Birds ate up the crumbs, swallowing the siblings’ homeward route.  They wandered deeper and farther into the wilderness until they encountered a witch, one with ogre-like intentions.  As with most fairy tales, the ending was happy.  Yet the children would have avoided a harrowing experience if only Hansel could have repeated the pebble ruse on this second trip.

If cancer has been thrown your way, don’t despair, even if you have lost your bearings for a spell.  Grab pebbles of strength, truth, belief, and encouragement to line your pathways through life, to steer you home.  As you come upon each rock shining white in the silvery hue of your marathon, view it as a milestone rather than a stumbling block.  Never be satisfied with breadcrumbs of untruth or hopelessness tempting you from the sidelines.  Ignore them.  Let them be devoured.  Pick only polished flints as your signposts for gladsome living.

Some folks medicate against cancer and some meditate upon it.  This account does both.  Survivors can be overcomers with “ever-after” lives, as we shall see…


The Pebble Path, by Jan Hasak, did something for me that few books on the topic of cancer do:  it made me smile.  In an endearing character, Princess Fanciful, we discover a cancer survivor turned heroine. We follow her into the shadowy forest of demons:  diagnosis, surgeries, lymphedema, and chemotherapy.  Yet, no matter what challenge she encounters, she slays those proverbial dragons with prose and poetry, captivating the reader with her indefatigable spunkiness.  Brava to Ms. Hasak, for sharing her journey and touching our hearts.  –Sharon Bray, Ed.D., Author of A Healing Journey: Writing Together Through Breast Cancer

What a clever idea using Fanciful and Farcical as the two main characters. The humor coming from Fanciful caught me by surprise, especially in the poem, “Post-Sixties Rebel.” I really enjoyed the book and am amazed at the depth of the poems. Larry Nevenhoven, writer

In The Pebble Path, Jan Hasak gathers up the pebbles she left behind to mark her triumphant journey back home from a nightmare filled with fear, uncertainty, pain and loss. The author weaves together a courageous and unique healing story–part fairy tale, part prose–that will inspire and ring true for many breast cancer survivors. Nancy Richards, author of Heal and Forgive: Forgiveness in the Face of Abuse

The journey of cancer is a rocky road, but Jan Hasak manages to mark the way with her gems of poems. Any cancer patient will recognize the emotional turmoil and triumphs that Hasak elicits so skillfully with her poetry. In a world full of technical advice, Jan seeks to touch the soul – and she succeeds! The Pebble Path is an uplifting book for any stage of the journey. Teresa K. Matthews, breast cancer survivor and author of Cancer: The Adventure of Your Life

I loved reading the story.  Some of the poems touched me very deeply and made me cry.  As a professional I found the work an eye-opener, giving me insight into “things” patients deal with daily before, during and after chemo.  I will take what I have learned into my new practice. Elke Mowers, Family Nurse Practitioner at Enloe Regional Cancer Center (Chico, CA) and member, Oncology Nursing Society

Those traveling the Rocky Road of cancer will find sweet solace as they walk the gentler trail of The Pebble Path and discover they are not alone on their journey.  With deep sensitivity, Jan puts into words and poetry the intense feelings and circumstances that will resonate with many people: “Yes! That’s how I felt! That’s the way it was!”  This warm and insightful fantasy can’t help but bring comfort and understanding to everyone who reads it. Barbara Larsen, Critique Group Leader