Lincoln cancer survivor hopes to help others through podcast | Health and Fitness
Having cancer made Joy Huber realize she wanted to help people through the journey of treatment and recovery.
The Lincoln woman was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010 and went through three years of treatments, including surgeries and chemotherapy, before being declared cured.
She was only 33 at the time of diagnosis, and while she had great support from family and friends, one of the things she said she wishes she had at the time was a mentor — someone who had gone through the experience of having cancer who could have guided her and let her know what to expect.
For example, she wishes she could have talked to someone about losing hair during chemo, an event she called “the most emotional part of treatment.”
In 2012, while she was still in treatment, Huber published a book called “Cancer with Joy” that recounts her battle, offers stories from other cancer survivors, and gives some tips and resources for people going through diagnosis and treatment.
People are also reading…
She’s also done a ton of public speaking in the years since her diagnosis, but she still felt like she could do more.
As the coronavirus pandemic cut down on gatherings and Huber found herself doing fewer in-person speaking gigs, she started thinking about other ways she could connect with people.
“I was thinking, how can I guide others through cancer?” she said.
Lincoln hospitals continue to expand, adding new health care features
That’s when the idea of doing a podcast popped into her head.
Huber said it seems like nearly everyone these days has a podcast.
“I thought, ‘What if I do that?'” she said.
She started recording the podcast, called “Dose of Joy,” in October and has since done 38 episodes.
Huber records one episode each week, using her walk-in closet as her podcasting studio, and recording and editing the episodes on a free software app called Audacity.
Many of the titles are focused on a specific kind of cancer and are timed to correspond with awareness weeks or months for those cancers. In fact, she timed the start of the podcast to line up with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But Huber also covers topics such as dealing with health insurers, battling treatment side effects and relaying inspiring stories of cancer patients.
She said some of the most popular podcasts she’s done so far have been ones dealing with the “do’s and dont’s” after a diagnosis, the importance of getting a second opinion and what to do when kids are facing cancer.
Though Huber doesn’t have a clinical background in health care, she does have a master’s degree in health communications as well as the experience of going through cancer herself.
She also does meticulous research to make sure she knows what she’s talking about.
Bart Frazzitta, president of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation, contacted Huber in April to compliment her on her podcast about esophageal cancer, saying in an email to her it was the “most informative description of esophageal cancer I have ever heard.”
Frazzitta told the Journal Star that Huber “used basic, well-defined and clear terms of what esophageal cancer is and how it develops.”
“She explained exactly the process one should go through to identify the types of esophageal cancer and what procedures that will need to be taken to hopefully eliminate the cancer,” he said in an email. “Her explanation of what is available for people who have cancer in their post-surgery biopsy and the procedure to follow is well explained and on the mark.”
Huber said she tries to put herself in the shoes of people diagnosed with cancer and their family and friends.
“I just think, what do I wish I had known at diagnosis?” she said.
In addition to providing her listeners useful information, Huber said she also looks to bring a positive outlook and let people know that having cancer is not the end of the world.
She said she wants to use her voice, share a positive patient perspective and reach as many people as possible.
“I really think for me, being positive made a difference in my outcome,” Huber said.
You can listen to the “Dose of Joy” podcast at: https://tinyurl.com/ytvjda77.
Life after cancer calls for celebration
Lincoln health care facility only one in Nebraska using new surgical imaging technology
New surgeon is first in Lincoln focused on gynecologic oncology
This mutation increases a woman’s breast cancer risk nearly as much as BRCA. What to know
Does the PALB2 mutation increase a woman’s risk of cancer?
How can the PALB2 gene be detected?
Like other gene mutations, PALB2 can be detected through genetic testing, either through a blood or saliva test.
And, yes, breast cancer caused by PALB2 can be detected through mammograms and MRIs just like other gene mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, Blake said.
Is breast cancer treatment different for people with PALB2?
People with PALB2 are slightly more prone to develop an “estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, which increases the likelihood that their cancer may need to be treated with chemotherapy,” Blake said.
Perez said PALB2 patients also share some characteristics: The women developing cancer are usually younger (they’re premenopausal), they might have lymph node involvement, and their diagnosis is usually triple-negative breast cancer or bilateral breast cancer. The tumors are usually bigger, too, due to the late diagnosis.
And while standard breast cancer treatments do exist, such as mastectomy and chemotherapy, some patients will undergo new treatments that are being tested in clinical trials.
What can women with a PALB2 mutation do to their lower risk?
Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or [email protected]
On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.