LINCOLN — Joy Huber thought she was too young to be so sick.
In March 2010 at age 33, the Lincoln resident was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a widespread blood cancer, after her mother discovered a lump in her neck.
Rather than be angry, Huber decided to face her cancer with a good attitude.
“I've always been a believer in it's not what happens to you, it's how you choose to respond,” she said.
And respond she did. Huber came up with the idea of “Cancer with Joy,” which she turned into a book released in April 2012 with the same title.
“I said, 'What do I wish a doctor or anyone would have handed me at diagnosis?'” she said. “That's the approach I took.”
Huber came up with what she calls, “the essential resource for new cancer patients and their support team.” Just one year after she was diagnosed with a disease she thought would kill her, Huber got a book deal and began writing.
Nine chapters are filled with the three things Huber said every newly diagnosed cancer patient needs: resources, support and encouragement.
But this isn't another book about another cancer survivor, Huber said, this is a dose of joy.
Huber's main goal is to share the idea that patients can have cancer and still have happiness.
Dora Redwine, a breast cancer survivor, said the book had a big impact on her because she realized she could have fun getting through it. The Beatrice resident bought two special bras at a Relay for Life fundraiser. She wore a black one with red feathers to a doctor's appointment near Thanksgiving and attached sleigh bells and battery-operated lights to a red and white striped bra close to Christmas.
“I think some of my surgeons thought I had a problem,” she said.
As one of three sisters diagnosed with breast cancer within two years of each other, Redwine passed the book along to her two sisters and two nieces.
“It's a great resource for them to read now before they are even diagnosed so they know there are things out there to help them,” she said.
Anita Lang, a Pawnee City resident, also shared the book with her sister when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Living 45 miles from her sister and unable to see her everyday, Lang said she would send cards and call on a daily basis.
“I was making sure that I told her I loved her everyday, you know, at the time we really didn't know if it was going to be over,” she said.
Huber's book is what helped her realize that cancer is just a word and not a death sentence.
Huber's Do's and Don'ts chapter was especially helpful, Lang said, which including tips like “DON'T Google,” “DO get angry,” and “DO talk to someone who has been there.”
Lang learned not to use the Internet as a primary source of information for her sister's cancer.
“If I go to Google, I have to remember that's just someone's information, but maybe it's not a fact,” she said.
Huber, who has been cancer-free since March 2011, has sold about 1,000 books. She said she had hoped for more, considering more than 1 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Huber said the next step for her and “Cancer with Joy” is a system to continue to deliver a dose of joy to every reader. Huber's website, cancerwithjoy.com, offers readers the chance to subscribe to receive emails with updated links and messages of encouragement. She also hopes to get videos delivered to reader's in-boxes that would share tips on how to use resources.
“Fighting cancer with joy is a choice, and this is a resource that helps you make that choice,” she said.
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