Mountain resident grateful to be alive after breast cancer scare

Community Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

Ann Najbor knows first-hand how devastating it is to be diagnosed with cancer.

That’s why the 78-year-old Mountain resident lends a helping hand to the Juravinski Cancer Centre and Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago. It’s an emotional thing to find out you have cancer,” Najbor said. “Volunteering is a means of giving back, a way to show my gratitude for the fact that I’m still here. If I can give somebody a little bit of help, if I can give someone some hope, then I’ve done my job.”

Najbor discovered a lump in her armpit at age 48 while vacationing with her husband at their trailer up north.

She returned home and made an appointment with her family doctor. The doctor confirmed the lump and referred her to another doctor.

Najbor saw that doctor a couple days later. He sent her for a mammogram at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

She received a call from the doctor later that week while working at the Bank of Commerce at James and Young streets in Hamilton.

“He said, ‘Ann, this is a hell of way to tell you, but it’s cancer,’” Najbor said. “I was shocked. To my knowledge, there was never cancer in the family.”

Najbor said her mind began to race.

“The first thought that came into my mind was that I wouldn’t see my daughters get married,” she said. “To hear you have cancer is truly frightening.”

Najbor checked into St. Joe’s on a Sunday. Doctors cut out the lump and removed her lymph nodes the next day.

She was asked if she wanted to participate in a study, which included a choice of four months of heavy chemotherapy treatments or nine months of lighter chemotherapy.

Najbor opted for the nine months and had her first treatment at the former Henderson General Hospital.

She underwent 29 sessions.

Najbor said it was a difficult time for her, her husband and four kids, but the family got through it.

“Usually after a treatment, I would just walk in the door, go up the side stairs – I’d be dropping my coat and things on the way up – and I’d just climb right into bed. At the beginning, I lost two days out of every treatment because I was just out of commission,” she said. “It was emotionally and physically draining for me and my family, but my husband was very understanding and pitched in. He cooked, the girls cooked and everyone helped out.”

Najbor finished the nine months of chemotherapy and moved on to the next phase of the study, which involved going in for checkups once a month.

The followups included answering questions about how she was doing and feeling.

Najbor took part in that phase of the study for five years, before she agreed to just see her family doctor for checkups regularly.

Najbor said she felt as secure as one could be when they learn they’re cancer-free.

“You’re betwixt and between,” she said. “You want to believe it, but you’re afraid to. I don’t know whether you’re ever cancer-free, but life goes on.”

Najbor began helping out the Juravinski Cancer Centre about seven years ago.

She wanted to give back and help others who were diagnosed with cancer.

“I lived near there and used to walk along Concession Street two or three times a week, because I love to walk, and I’d say to myself, ‘Next time, go in there and register,’” Najbor said. “Finally, I made myself do it and I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner because I really enjoy it.”

Najbor volunteers at the centre’s information desk and walks patients down to the clinic for their appointments.

“I’ve had people break down in front of me on the way to the clinic. When they break down, I’m the weepiest,” she said. “I’ve held people and hugged them on the way there. I think because I’ve been down that road, and most of us at the clinic have been, that I can relate and really understand what they’re going through.”

Through the centre, Najbor found about the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Hamilton and started helping out with the event about six years ago.

She has participated in the survivor lap, volunteered at the registration table, in the dinning tent and will be speaking at the event this year.

Najbor said Relay for Life is an important event for survivors, the people participating in memory or support of loved ones and all those who have and continue to battle cancer.

“It’s such an emotional and powerful thing,” she said. “It’s a great event that brings people together and raises funds for an important cause. I don’t think there’s a family that hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way and there has to be a cure out there somewhere.”

Najbor continues to visit her family doctor for a checkup and mammogram once a year.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of her first breast cancer treatment.

Najbor said she counts her blessings every day.

“I’ve seen my kids get married and I get to play with my grandchildren,” she said. “There are no words to convey just how very thankful I am to still be here.”

Relay for Life Hamilton begins tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m. and runs until Saturday at 7 a.m. at F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre. The event supports the Canadian Cancer Society and Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. For more information, call the society’s Hamilton-Wentworth unit at 905-575-9220.

Mountain resident grateful to be alive after breast cancer scare

Community Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

Ann Najbor knows first-hand how devastating it is to be diagnosed with cancer.

That’s why the 78-year-old Mountain resident lends a helping hand to the Juravinski Cancer Centre and Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago. It’s an emotional thing to find out you have cancer,” Najbor said. “Volunteering is a means of giving back, a way to show my gratitude for the fact that I’m still here. If I can give somebody a little bit of help, if I can give someone some hope, then I’ve done my job.”

Najbor discovered a lump in her armpit at age 48 while vacationing with her husband at their trailer up north.

She returned home and made an appointment with her family doctor. The doctor confirmed the lump and referred her to another doctor.

Najbor saw that doctor a couple days later. He sent her for a mammogram at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

She received a call from the doctor later that week while working at the Bank of Commerce at James and Young streets in Hamilton.

“He said, ‘Ann, this is a hell of way to tell you, but it’s cancer,’” Najbor said. “I was shocked. To my knowledge, there was never cancer in the family.”

Najbor said her mind began to race.

“The first thought that came into my mind was that I wouldn’t see my daughters get married,” she said. “To hear you have cancer is truly frightening.”

Najbor checked into St. Joe’s on a Sunday. Doctors cut out the lump and removed her lymph nodes the next day.

She was asked if she wanted to participate in a study, which included a choice of four months of heavy chemotherapy treatments or nine months of lighter chemotherapy.

Najbor opted for the nine months and had her first treatment at the former Henderson General Hospital.

She underwent 29 sessions.

Najbor said it was a difficult time for her, her husband and four kids, but the family got through it.

“Usually after a treatment, I would just walk in the door, go up the side stairs – I’d be dropping my coat and things on the way up – and I’d just climb right into bed. At the beginning, I lost two days out of every treatment because I was just out of commission,” she said. “It was emotionally and physically draining for me and my family, but my husband was very understanding and pitched in. He cooked, the girls cooked and everyone helped out.”

Najbor finished the nine months of chemotherapy and moved on to the next phase of the study, which involved going in for checkups once a month.

The followups included answering questions about how she was doing and feeling.

Najbor took part in that phase of the study for five years, before she agreed to just see her family doctor for checkups regularly.

Najbor said she felt as secure as one could be when they learn they’re cancer-free.

“You’re betwixt and between,” she said. “You want to believe it, but you’re afraid to. I don’t know whether you’re ever cancer-free, but life goes on.”

Najbor began helping out the Juravinski Cancer Centre about seven years ago.

She wanted to give back and help others who were diagnosed with cancer.

“I lived near there and used to walk along Concession Street two or three times a week, because I love to walk, and I’d say to myself, ‘Next time, go in there and register,’” Najbor said. “Finally, I made myself do it and I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner because I really enjoy it.”

Najbor volunteers at the centre’s information desk and walks patients down to the clinic for their appointments.

“I’ve had people break down in front of me on the way to the clinic. When they break down, I’m the weepiest,” she said. “I’ve held people and hugged them on the way there. I think because I’ve been down that road, and most of us at the clinic have been, that I can relate and really understand what they’re going through.”

Through the centre, Najbor found about the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Hamilton and started helping out with the event about six years ago.

She has participated in the survivor lap, volunteered at the registration table, in the dinning tent and will be speaking at the event this year.

Najbor said Relay for Life is an important event for survivors, the people participating in memory or support of loved ones and all those who have and continue to battle cancer.

“It’s such an emotional and powerful thing,” she said. “It’s a great event that brings people together and raises funds for an important cause. I don’t think there’s a family that hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way and there has to be a cure out there somewhere.”

Najbor continues to visit her family doctor for a checkup and mammogram once a year.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of her first breast cancer treatment.

Najbor said she counts her blessings every day.

“I’ve seen my kids get married and I get to play with my grandchildren,” she said. “There are no words to convey just how very thankful I am to still be here.”

Relay for Life Hamilton begins tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m. and runs until Saturday at 7 a.m. at F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre. The event supports the Canadian Cancer Society and Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. For more information, call the society’s Hamilton-Wentworth unit at 905-575-9220.

Mountain resident grateful to be alive after breast cancer scare

Community Jun 04, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

Ann Najbor knows first-hand how devastating it is to be diagnosed with cancer.

That’s why the 78-year-old Mountain resident lends a helping hand to the Juravinski Cancer Centre and Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago. It’s an emotional thing to find out you have cancer,” Najbor said. “Volunteering is a means of giving back, a way to show my gratitude for the fact that I’m still here. If I can give somebody a little bit of help, if I can give someone some hope, then I’ve done my job.”

Najbor discovered a lump in her armpit at age 48 while vacationing with her husband at their trailer up north.

She returned home and made an appointment with her family doctor. The doctor confirmed the lump and referred her to another doctor.

Najbor saw that doctor a couple days later. He sent her for a mammogram at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

She received a call from the doctor later that week while working at the Bank of Commerce at James and Young streets in Hamilton.

“He said, ‘Ann, this is a hell of way to tell you, but it’s cancer,’” Najbor said. “I was shocked. To my knowledge, there was never cancer in the family.”

Najbor said her mind began to race.

“The first thought that came into my mind was that I wouldn’t see my daughters get married,” she said. “To hear you have cancer is truly frightening.”

Najbor checked into St. Joe’s on a Sunday. Doctors cut out the lump and removed her lymph nodes the next day.

She was asked if she wanted to participate in a study, which included a choice of four months of heavy chemotherapy treatments or nine months of lighter chemotherapy.

Najbor opted for the nine months and had her first treatment at the former Henderson General Hospital.

She underwent 29 sessions.

Najbor said it was a difficult time for her, her husband and four kids, but the family got through it.

“Usually after a treatment, I would just walk in the door, go up the side stairs – I’d be dropping my coat and things on the way up – and I’d just climb right into bed. At the beginning, I lost two days out of every treatment because I was just out of commission,” she said. “It was emotionally and physically draining for me and my family, but my husband was very understanding and pitched in. He cooked, the girls cooked and everyone helped out.”

Najbor finished the nine months of chemotherapy and moved on to the next phase of the study, which involved going in for checkups once a month.

The followups included answering questions about how she was doing and feeling.

Najbor took part in that phase of the study for five years, before she agreed to just see her family doctor for checkups regularly.

Najbor said she felt as secure as one could be when they learn they’re cancer-free.

“You’re betwixt and between,” she said. “You want to believe it, but you’re afraid to. I don’t know whether you’re ever cancer-free, but life goes on.”

Najbor began helping out the Juravinski Cancer Centre about seven years ago.

She wanted to give back and help others who were diagnosed with cancer.

“I lived near there and used to walk along Concession Street two or three times a week, because I love to walk, and I’d say to myself, ‘Next time, go in there and register,’” Najbor said. “Finally, I made myself do it and I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner because I really enjoy it.”

Najbor volunteers at the centre’s information desk and walks patients down to the clinic for their appointments.

“I’ve had people break down in front of me on the way to the clinic. When they break down, I’m the weepiest,” she said. “I’ve held people and hugged them on the way there. I think because I’ve been down that road, and most of us at the clinic have been, that I can relate and really understand what they’re going through.”

Through the centre, Najbor found about the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Hamilton and started helping out with the event about six years ago.

She has participated in the survivor lap, volunteered at the registration table, in the dinning tent and will be speaking at the event this year.

Najbor said Relay for Life is an important event for survivors, the people participating in memory or support of loved ones and all those who have and continue to battle cancer.

“It’s such an emotional and powerful thing,” she said. “It’s a great event that brings people together and raises funds for an important cause. I don’t think there’s a family that hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way and there has to be a cure out there somewhere.”

Najbor continues to visit her family doctor for a checkup and mammogram once a year.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of her first breast cancer treatment.

Najbor said she counts her blessings every day.

“I’ve seen my kids get married and I get to play with my grandchildren,” she said. “There are no words to convey just how very thankful I am to still be here.”

Relay for Life Hamilton begins tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m. and runs until Saturday at 7 a.m. at F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre. The event supports the Canadian Cancer Society and Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. For more information, call the society’s Hamilton-Wentworth unit at 905-575-9220.