Interview with cancer survivor Ginny Dent Brant-Unleash Your God-Given Healing

Ginny Dent Brant author of her new book, Unleash Your God-Given Healing, grew up in the halls of power of Washington D.C. She has served as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. She served as a trustee of the Baptist International Mission Board for eight years, and she and her husband participated in mission work in Yemen, Gaza, the Czech Republic, Russia, China, and Romania. Brant is the daughter of Harry Dent, a successful political strategist who was wrongly implicated in the Watergate scandal and later converted to Christ.

His story is the subject of Brant’s award-winning book, “Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World,” which was endorsed by the late Chuck Colson.

Award winning author, speaker and breast cancer survivor Ginny Dent Brant gives fascinating insight into her personal journey of discovery, learning and healing that took her from the deepest despair of her diagnosis to a glorious victory and healing.

Faith Filled Family Magazine is thrilled to present this interview with Ginny D Brant. She gives readers an inside look at her life as a Christian, her cancer diagnosis and an inside look at her new book, Unleash Your God-Given Healing.

Her deep faith and tenacious thirst to be fully engaged with her treatment has taken her on a unique journey that she shares with the rest of the world.  Faith Filled Family Magazine was delighted for her to share her thoughtful and sometimes humorous, insights on “the book she didn’t want to write.”

Faith Filled Family:  I read in the first chapter of the book, your positive outward appearing attitude when you were first beginning to get the details of your cancer.  I think it’s something we all initially do when facing the unknown.  Can you describe how you processed those feelings of “this is not a big deal to this is a life threatening and life changing event?”

Ginny D Brant: “When it appeared, I thought my journey would only involve surgery and a bit of radiation, I was reasonably calm. When I was told the next week that my cancer was aggressive and every weapon including chemo would be brought out to save my life, my concern escalated.

What drove me to my knees was when a surgeon showed me my MRI scan. It looked like a tornado had invaded my body. I was devastated! The surgery did not concern me as much, but chemotherapy was the one thing in life I never wanted to experience. However, I was told by three doctors at three different cancer centers, I would die without it.

That’s when I realized I was in a life or death situation. Quite honestly, my greatest fear was the chronic pain and disability I might experience if I survived. My husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief when my second opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) felt my cancer might not be stage 4. It was not easy reading the pages of side effects and signing consent papers for chemotherapy under the words ‘side effects including death.’

When CTCA introduced me to the nutritionist and the naturopathic doctor who would both be a part of my team to get me through the treatments, I felt much better. A more holistic approach to treating my cancer gave me solace in my long journey.”

 Faith Filled Family:  I am often amazed at the little oddities and subtleties of life that take our lives in a totally different direction.  Have you ever thought about what the possibilities could have been if your ring had not gotten tangled in your nightgown and you would not have brushed against that bump on your breast?

Ginny D Brant: “Since I was not the type to do self-breast examinations, which I now highly recommend, my sister claims it was the providence of God. And I wholeheartedly agree. With an aggressive cancer like mine, early detection is even more critical. My doctor detected no lump three months earlier. So, nine months later could have made my journey far more difficult. I look back now and know that God used that ring entangled in my nightgown to save my life.”

 Faith Filled Family:  In a lot of ways your optimism as a self-diagnosing doctor sounds like something I would say to keep my emotions and fears at bay.  When you told the mammogram technician that it was a fluid filled cyst, was that meant to mask your fears, or did you truly believe that it was very benign and that the test would confirm your diagnosis?

Ginny D Brant: “Fluid-filled cysts were a part of my past. I already knew that I had none of the risks for breast cancer because it did not normally run in my family for several reasons: I wasn’t overweight; I didn’t smoke or drink alcohol; I never took birth control pills or estrogen hormones after menopause; and I breast-fed all of my sons for two years!

I genuinely believed the tests would confirm that all was fine. I didn’t consider myself at risk for this cancer. My message to women is with one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer today, we are all at risk. Therefore, we must be proactive and put a breast cancer prevention plan in place.”

 Faith Filled Family:  I read in your book how Alton your husband held your hand while waiting for the second opinion of the doctors in Chicago.  You recommend holding hands whether in love or fear.  That was very touching and a universal emotion for us all who go through trauma.  It sounds like a moment of sheer survival when the only person to lean on is each other.  How comforting was that moment to know that Alton was going to be with you every step of the journey?  How has this experience strengthened your relationship with each other?

Ginny D Brant: “It’s important in the cancer journey to sense love and acceptance in the midst of the journey. But knowing that he would be impacted by what happened to me was a concern to me. What’s important is that he loved me unconditionally through the fears and all the waiting, through many surgeries, and through the loss of every hair on my head and body.

It goes beyond hand holding while waiting. He held my hand through the entire MRI and when I lost my hair, he told me daily, ‘You’re still the prettiest gal east of the Mississippi River!’ He’s a keeper, and I’ll always treasure the way he cared for me and lifted me up during the toughest years of my life.

My late parents would have been so proud to see he cared for their daughter. Every cancer patient needs this support because love promotes healing in our bodies! I didn’t have to spend any energy worrying about his love for me. He kept his promise . . . ‘for better or worse. . . through sickness and health.’ This is what marriage is all about.”

 Faith Filled Family:  I was quite surprised to read that the American Cancer society has said that one out of every two men will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in their lifetimes. My doctor has been trying to get me to get a colonoscopy test for the last ten years and I have refused, for one reason or another.  What would you say to someone like me who is in somewhat of denial about the possibility of getting cancer?

Ginny D Brant: “Cancer of the colon runs like a plague in my family. Both of my parents had it but were saved by routine colonoscopies. My siblings and I were informed at that point that we were all high risk for colon cancer. We all got our first colonoscopies around age 30.

Due to my family history, we all knew to be proactive, and polyp(s) found can be removed. Problem solved. Due to the rise in incidence in early onset colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society now recommends these screenings for the average risk adult begin at age 45. Insurance generally pays for it, so I’d get one.

If a polyp is found early, it can easily be removed. The procedure itself is minimal compared to the preparation for the scope! Never forget, early detection is key for all cancers. It can mean the difference between only needing a minimal surgery to needing a radical surgery, requiring chemotherapy, and putting your life at risk.”

Faith Filled Family: You described that you felt like Dale Earnhardt Jr, the NASCAR driver at the end of the famous two-mile pole walk. Was that the beginning of the long road back to recovery?  What were your thoughts with each lap on the hospital floor? 

Ginny D Brant: “It was sheer determination. This cancer was trying to beat me, and I was fighting back by walking with each round. It felt good to move, and it relieved much stress.  However, my movement did far more than I expected.

It kickstarted my organs and pumped the anesthesia out of my system, prevented blood clots, oxygenated my entire body, sped up the draining of my breast tubes, and promoted healing throughout my body. It’s important to move as soon as able or permissible by your doctor after surgery.”

 Faith Filled Family: I really learned a lot from the section Food as Medicine.  I had always suspected that since God mentioned the various kinds of foods to eat in Genesis that it was in line with the specifications to give us optimal health.  After all he made us.  What if anything did you find surprising in your study of food as medicine?

Ginny D Brant: “Genesis 1:29, God tells us that He has given us these plant foods to eat. What’s interesting today is that science now knows the exact chemical profile of each fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, and herb. They all contain phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients which all promote healing in our bodies.

Sadly, I used to look at food as pleasure and ate only for pleasure. Now that I know the benefits of these amazing plants, I now eat as many plants as possible to enhance my health and promote healing. Unfortunately, most Americans eat only 2-3 of these gifts of nature, when the USDA tells us we need ten to thirteen servings daily.

What amazes me is that God provided these plants to keep our bodies healthy. The DNA in these plants complements and enhances our own DNA and promotes healing. This should encourage us to change what we eat. God knows best.”

 Faith Filled Family:  In chapter 6 of your book, I was surprised to learn that US dairy products are banned in Europe because of the things we inject our cows with.  Does it surprise you that our FDA doesn’t seem interested that if it’s bad enough to be banned in another country that perhaps we should consider another method of raising our cows? 

Ginny D Brant: “I’ve learned not to trust the FDA, the EPA, the CDC, or any government agency to protect my body. I am my own best advocate. All of these agencies have their strengths and benefits, but they are also influenced by government bureaucracy, lobbyists, Big Pharma, and profit-making businesses.

I’ll give the FDA some credit for banning some food additives recently, but so much more needs to be done. When people stop buying meat and dairy injected with bovine growth hormones, maybe things will begin to change. This is why I felt compelled to educate others.”

 Faith Filled Family:  During your research for the book, did any of your findings make you distrustful of our FDA or the food industry?  If so, how?

Ginny D Brant: “I do trust them in the area of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. They protect us by verifying the safety, efficacy and security of prescription drugs.

However, they need to examine more carefully the way crops are being heavily sprayed with pesticides, harvested and preserved with chemicals, and some foods injected with growth hormones.”

 Faith Filled Family:  In chapter 8 you mention the research you found on the correlation of emotional stress and trauma and the impact it has on your physical health.  It was eye opening for me because it made me take a look at my own challenging and traumatic childhood.  How has this knowledge helped you manage your own emotional life stressors? You also mention that your cancer experience brought you and your husband emotionally closer.  Explain.

Ginny D Brant “As a counselor for 32 years, I totally missed that emotional stress could have such an impact on my health. I’m generally good at handling stress, but the grief of caring for my parents and in-laws for nearly 15 years on top of a full-time job clearly had an impact on my health.

I was stuck in a tunnel of grief that I couldn’t get out of, especially due to my father’s Alzheimer’s disease, which lasted nearly ten years. I look back and realize for the stress and grief I was experiencing; I didn’t do enough to protect my body. In addition to daily exercise, I now use deep breathing techniques and other stress relief remedies.

My husband was my rock throughout the journey. I honestly couldn’t have done as well without his total support and unconditional love.  The trial of cancer only brought us closer.”

 Faith Filled Family:  It sounds like you employed a whole menu of different things working together to defeat your cancer.  I also was fascinated to learn about the correlation of those things to God’s word.  Which of the many things that was employed did you find the most surprising as to having a positive effect in the healing process?  Things such as music, sleep, laughter etc.

Ginny D Brant: “Again, it blows my mind all the advice given in the Bible in these areas. His Word clearly tells us to endure trials (Phil. 4:6-8) by praying about everything, giving thanks in everything, and focusing our minds not on the negative circumstances around us, but on prayer, gratitude, and the good things along the way.

What amazes me is that science now confirms that prayer, meditation, gratitude, and focusing on the positive “good things” in life all calm the emotional brain which promotes healing. In addition, music, laughter and sleep also promote healing in the body! God has graciously given us many remedies to get us through not only trials, but daily living.”

 Faith Filled Family:  One thing I found surprising was the correlation between your root canal and your breast cancer.  What was your discovery about that, and did it surprise you?

Ginny D Brant: “While getting my first whole body thermogram, the technician noticed a line of inflammation that began under my only root canal which cascaded down towards the area in my breast where my cancer was found.

My integrative doctor recommended I see her dentist in Tennessee, who also taught at the University of Tennessee Dental School. He informed me my root canal and tooth must be removed. Once healed, a follow-up thermogram indicated the line of inflammation was gone!

This doctor told me he sees this frequently—that a root canal can develop an infection not showing on an x-ray, but on the same side as the cancer. He said this infection kept my immune system under constant attack on that side.

Dental health greatly impacts the health of our entire body. Not every root canal does this, but we’d be wise to care for our teeth and keep them from getting cavities in the first place. My bad!”

 

Faith Filled Family:  You have been quoted as saying that this is ‘the book you never wanted to write.’  Can you explain that, and why?

 Ginny D Brant: “When dealing with my dilemma, I asked to meet with a chaplain at CTCA. When I asked, ‘How could a health nut like me get an aggressive cancer like this?’ He encouraged me to see my cancer as a gift from God for me to help other people because I was an author and a speaker.

My response, ‘No thanks. I don’t want this gift.’ I never wanted to speak about cancer or write a book about it. After researching for several years, I felt compelled to share what I’d learned to prevent others from going down this path. I realized that many people were making the same mistakes that got me on this nightmare of a journey.

‘I can see it now,’ the chaplain said, ‘Your book with these words on the first pages, This is the book I never wanted to write.’ And guess what words appear on the initial pages of my book!”

 Faith Filled Family: In your afterward you make a very powerful statement that really sums up the Christian hope and experience of the real world.  We as Christians are not exempt from any of life’s trials.  But as you so accurately described, ‘The difference is Christ in me—not me in a different set of circumstances.’ How has this experience transformed your thinking, and what would you say to those who think being a Christian automatically exempts them from the normal hardships of life?

Ginny D Brant: “If anyone lives long enough, they’ll discover that trials are a part of life. God uses trials and suffering in our lives to focus us on spiritual and eternal values. We generally don’t dig deep into our faith or His Word until the rug is pulled out from beneath us.

Cancer forced me to look up to God for help and guidance, look within and examine my soul and daily habits, and look around for any outside influences I needed to change. It’s true that when many people first experience a newfound faith, they expect that their problems will be gone.

Instead, He gives us the strength, wisdom and power to get through them. And He uses them for our good (Romans 8:28). Unfortunately, many Christians continue to believe, ‘I can do and eat what I want because I’m doing the Lord’s work.’ This thinking goes against what God tells us in His Word when He instructs us to care for our temples.”

 Faith Filled Family: This was quite the learning experience for me to read about your journey and victory over cancer.  No doubt this will be very beneficial to others.  While going through this experience had it always been your intent to write a book about it to help others?

Ginny D Brant: “It was never my intent. Like Jacob, I literally wrestled with God over it! I knew from writing my first book in 2010, the thousands of hours involved in writing and promoting a book, especially if you’re not famous. Honestly, I did not want to speak or write about his journey in my life.

The two combined made me say every time someone suggested I write a book to help others, ‘No way.’ But God eventually changed my heart and encouraged me to be open. My burden became, ‘I don’t want anyone else to go through this journey.’

My thinking turned to, “What if I could prevent others from going through this or help them through the journey?” When my book recently won a Golden Scrolls Award, it was confirmation that this was something God led me to do even though I didn’t want to!”

 Faith Filled Family: What was the writing process for this book like?  Can you describe your routine?

Ginny D Brant: “It was a difficult writing assignment because it involved so much footnoting and documentation.  I first began with research which lasted about two years. I read about 50 books by cancer patients, nutritionists, and medical experts.

I also studied everything I could find in God’s Word, attended medical and cancer conventions, studied medical research, and watched many medical interviews at online summits. Then I began to connect the dots. My writing and research kept me home quarantined when not traveling to medical and cancer conventions.

So, when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, I was used to being at home! Because of the estrogen blocking pills, I was limited in how much I could write and research daily due to brain fog. This made the task far more difficult. Yet, I pressed on. Again, I didn’t want anyone to go through all this.”

 Faith Filled Family: I cannot imagine with all the things you were going through to have the discipline to sit down and write this book.  Did writing it become a source of therapy for you?

Ginny D Brant: “Honestly, it was not. My life would have been much easier if I’d just gleaned what I needed for myself, applied it, and moved on. To write in this way and do what I do now to mentor cancer patients keeps me in the cancer world.

Several friends cautioned me about this. I do feel joy in doing what God has called me to do—making others aware and helping them to prevent or get through this journey.”

 Faith Filled Family:  There is a ton of research that has gone into this book.  What would you tell other cancer patients who might feel like they are in the dark and overwhelmed by all the things that they need to be aware of?

Ginny D Brant: “I’ve already done the research for you. Simply read the book and you can look further into the footnotes for further verification and more information. This book gives you an easy to read starting point and answers many of the questions a patient might encounter.

Fortunately, God provided a wonderful oncologist who is also a major medical expert and researcher to provide commentary throughout the book. He tells how each of the steps would benefit the patient from the medical perspective.”

 Faith Filled Family:  In closing, reading about your experience and journey in the battle against cancer has been eye opening and makes me consider being more proactive about my own health.  What would you say to people to make them more aware and be engaged in their lifestyle and health choices?

Ginny D Brant: “With one in two men and one in three women now being diagnosed with one or more cancers in their lifetime, it’s best for each family to put a cancer prevention plan in place. We have plans of prevention for house fires, and only one in 3000 people have a home fire.

With one in two of today’s generation now projected to be diagnosed with cancer, prevention is the best option, so you don’t have to hear the words, ‘You have cancer.’ Our bodies encounter cancer cells daily, but our God-given immune system is designed to attack and defend—if we keep it working as God intended.

Prevention is the main reason I wrote the book. I honestly believe if I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have gotten cancer. I also have a cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.com where I continue to share new information.”

Faith Filled Family would like to thank Ginny D Brant for spending some time with us, giving us insight into her latest book. No doubt her courageous journey and inspirational message will have a profound impact on all who hear it. Faith Filled Family would also like to thank her publicist Gina Adams for facilitating this interview.

 

Biography:

Eugene Coghill is a contributing writer at Faith Filled Family Magazine, and the creator of Kingdom Living, www.eugenecoghill.com a Christian based inspirational blog. His achievements have included two published novels, Love Is A Fishnet (2008) and most recently, A Loving Deception (February 2020). He is in pursuit of a freelance copywriting career with American Writers and Artists, Inc. and is a member of the Professional Writers Alliance.

Some past careers have included the United States Marine Corps, law enforcement, corporate Investigator, and is currently a professional driver (tractor trailer) for Walmart.

Inspirational speaking, especially to troubled youths has become his growing passion to share his own story of overcoming a very abusive and challenging childhood.   eugenecoghill@msn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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