Survivor Stories 2013:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I found out I had breast cancer by accident. My right breast was leaking — just as in post-delivery. However, I was 70 at the time and not a new mom. I wasn’t particularly concerned about it but did go to my OBGYN to get it checked out. She made arrangements for mammograms. The people at the clinic streamlined the diagnostic processes and got me to a surgeon. All the while I was a bit perplexed to be going through the system so quickly because nobody told me anything until I got to the surgeon. They had found Stage I cancer in both of my breasts. After several surgeries and radiation treatments, I am cancer free since February 2013.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
Curious. I was curious about what was going to happen. I wasn’t particularly concerned about dying as I was 70 years old and had been living with the possibility of dying for several years. I also have end stage renal disease and have been on peritoneal dialysis for the past 5 1/2 years.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
The surgeon inserted what they call “balloons” in my breasts — which is how the radiation treatments pinpoint the cancer cells. I had several series of radiation treatments, first for one side and then the other.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
It was like a bad sunburn. Other than that, it wasn’t at all painful except for when they inserted and removed the “balloons”.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Don’t panic. It’s not that bad. Know that your doctors are doing the best they can to help you.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
I’ve been cancer free since Feb. 2013 – about 8 months.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned that my daughters care very much about me. One of my daughters had been living in Dubai at the time. She quit her job there and came home to take care of me, met my radiology oncologist doctor, and now they’re engaged. It’s a real Cinderella story. I like to think I was given cancer so they could meet.
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Don’t give up. It’s rarely as bad as you think it’s going to be.
Joyce Zborower graduated from Bradley University in 1969 with an M.A. degree in clinical psychology and minors in English, biology and sociology.
Her writing career began with an original step-by-step gemstone cut published in The Lapidary Journal in January 1980. It was for a 3.4 carat citrine set in a 14k yellow gold ring. During the 70s she studied jewelry design and creation with Bob and Gina Winston at their studio in Tempe, Az. By 1980 her original jewelry designs were winning 1st or 2nd prize in gallery competitions in Arizona and California. More recently her step-by-step jewelry designs have been published in international trade publications such as Step-by-Step Beads, Jewelry Artist, Wire Jewelry Magazine, Jewelry Arts & Lapidary Journal.
She is the author of around 50 books in English and Spanish on Amazon.com. Check out her Amazon Author Page. There are a couple of mysteries, several crafts books (jewelry, woodworking, quilts), several food books (gardening, healthy eating, olive oil), children’s books for 2-5 year olds, psychology books and a few others. Most of the books are available in digital format as well as print-on-demand paperbacks.