The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 45--Confronting Mortality with Cancer Survivor Joy Huber

February 09, 2022 Billy & Brian Season 4
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 45--Confronting Mortality with Cancer Survivor Joy Huber
Show Notes Transcript

While Brian celebrates with his colleagues, Billy talks to cancer survivor and host of the Dose of Joy podcast Joy Huber about: 
--Her journey as a cancer survivor
--Learning to "live with joy" while still battling cancer
--How she has reinvented her life or shifted her perspective on life now that she's faced her own mortality?

Like what you heard from Joy Huber?  Contact her at:
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Dose of Joy Podcast | Facebook

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Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis...

Joy: Cancer and hair loss was probably the most difficult, at least, emotional thing that I'd gone through. Like I said, I was a single lady. All of a sudden, I find out, hey, you have beautiful shoulder length hair at the time. One of my nurses said, "That's going to come out in the next few weeks. I just want you to know, one of the medicines you're taking will cause your hair to come out. So, you need to get prepared for that." So, of course, I was shocked or devastated at that. What I ended up deciding to do is just really take control of it. I think that's a great lesson for the listeners. It's, control what you can in a crisis. When things are happening to you, there's a lot of things or a lot of times that things are out of your control. But if you can look at what's within my control, and control what you can...


Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches, as we share our life experiences — both the good and the bad — in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.


Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy. Brian is at his company holiday party. So, I imagine he is feeling joyous today, which is rather fitting because our guest today is Joy Huber. Joy is a stage four young cancer survivor who has gone on to become an award-winning international speaker and author of the book Cancer with Joy. Joy also shares her personal experiences and extensive knowledge of facing cancer in her podcast, Dose of Joy, which he launched in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, 2021. Dose of Joy comes out each week. Joy shares helpful information support and inspiration for those facing cancer, or supporting a loved one with cancer. Today she is going to share how she confronted her own mortality, kicked cancer's ass, and reinvented her life. Welcome to the show, Joy Huber.

Joy: Thank you so much for having me on.

Billy: Absolutely. We're so glad that you can make it today. Joy, we like to have our guests talk about the 10 roles that they play in their life. So, what are the 10 roles that you play in your life?

Joy: Yeah, so the 10 roles I play — first and foremost, what we're going to be talking about today, stage four cancer survivor. That has really morphed into becoming a guide to cancer who's been there. So, we'll talk about the number of people I hear from now. Whenever someone they know has been diagnosed with cancer, my friend tends to reach out to me. They want me to help this other person that they know, that I don't know, and serve as a guide. First and foremost, that, really, I feel I found my life's passion, and mission and purpose. Maybe why I was diagnosed at such a young age, so I'd be able to help so many others who also received that diagnosis. I think statistics tell us 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will actually face cancer, unfortunately, at some point in their life. What I really found was no one's happy they have cancer, obviously. But you can have cancer and still be happy. And that's what we'll be getting into. It's, how in the heck do you do that?

Billy: It reminds me of what one of our guest's got. Well, he said don't let a good crisis go to waste. So, it sounds like you were faced with this crisis of cancer, and you have turned it into a positive. So, we're really looking forward to it. You also put down a podcast host. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Joy: Yeah, I used to be a professional speaker. Pre-COVID, I would travel all over the country and even internationally. I'm giving seminars, speaking on business topics and soft skills. I would get awesome evaluations. So, that just made me feel really good about the number of people I could help. You think at the end of the day, people are going to want to get out of there, and instead a line would form. People would come up, and they'd want to talk to me. They'd say, "I was really dreading this day. My boss wants me to go to this seminar. I thought it was going to be the most boring thing." They would say, "I'm so glad I came to your seminar because, A, I learned but, B, I surprisingly had fun." They're like, "You're so energetic and positive, upbeat, kind of infectious, I guess you could say in a good way, hopefully." I just transfer enthusiasm and knowledge to others.

But of course, when I got diagnosed with cancer, I ended up suspending my business, because I didn't want to be in front of a crowd speaking and have those treatment side effects — the nausea, and all of that kind of hit and be like, "Okay, hang on one minute here." You can't really leave the stage and come back if you're not feeling well. So, I've just been looking at technology, and how could I morph and still share my energy, my positive attitude, my knowledge. Podcasting has come up in the ranks. So, I just got the idea. Like I said, with COVID, when you can't be out and about maybe with people, how can I still get it to them? I hear from people, they're listening in the car. They're driving to chemo. They're listening at chemo is what I'm finding, because it's really soothing for them to hear that kind of comforting voice of someone who they know has been there. So, I'm not a medical doctor. My master's is actually in health communication, but I'm really coming at it as that voice who's been there, who truly wants to help others.

Billy: And you have some other roles listed here, too. Tell us about these other roles.

Joy: Yeah, so, another role I mentioned, you touched on in the intro, is I did author a book. I authored a book called Cancer with Joy. That has, of course, a very literal, as well as figurative meaning to it. So, it's facing cancer with Joy. Literally, with me, a woman named Joy, as your guide who's been there, but also figuratively facing cancer with joy. We've all heard the quote, 'laughter is the best medicine.' I was reminded of that shortly after my diagnosis, and tried to really employ that.

We've also heard 'mind over matter.' You're probably aware, Billy, of all the body of research and evidence out there about the power of the mind-body connection. So, it's kind of our thoughts become things. What we think is, a lot of times, what ends up happening. So, I just asked crowds when I speak to them. I say, "How many of you think it hurt me to be mostly positive throughout this journey?" People shake their heads. Well, it certainly didn't hurt you. I'm like, "Do any of you think it helped me?" Show of hands, and you see the hands start to go up that say, "Hey, yeah, thinking and being positive most of the time." I mean, let's be real. I'm not that person that says, "Hey, you're going to be happy every single day."

I dropped a show recently about facing cancer at the holidays, and how do you deal with the anger that you're going to feel inevitably, especially as a young adult or someone in middle age. It's like none of my friends are dealing with this right now. They have seemingly carefree lives and they're having fun, while I'm dealing with hair loss, and all the side effects of chemotherapy.

Billy: So, you're a stage four cancer survivor, a podcast host, an author. What other roles do you play?

Joy: You have touched on my fourth role on my list there as as a professional speaker. Then my fifth role, I serve as an individual coach. Because like I said, a lot of times, people want to talk to you one on one. Six, a songwriter — that's kind of an interesting, unique one. Number seven, I counted myself as an adventure planner. Because after my cancer experience, the experiences in life and travel are what's really important. Eight, I'm aunt. I'm a proud aunt of one nephew, named Carson, who will be 18 in 2022. Nine, I'm a daughter. I'm really proud of that role I play. 10, I'm a sister.

Billy: We always ask our guests, too, to expand on three of those roles that they're most looking forward to in the second half of life. Let's just keep going here. You put contributing family members. You kind of combined all those roles as an aunt, daughter, and sister as a contributing family member. What is that you're looking forward to in the second half of life in terms of being with your family?

Joy: Yeah, definitely, what I'm finding as someone who contributes to their family — like we said, whether that's an aunt, a daughter, or a sister — is just being there to help my family however I can, whether that's giving advice to my nephew about college and trades, and just life, growing up, giving advice to my sister too. We'll talk about our careers and compare, and give each other tips, too. Also, I found myself serving more as a caregiver as my parents are aging. So, I'm someone who's never married, and I didn't have kids after my personal experience with cancer. So, I just find myself serving more and more helping my parents. My mom had fallen and broken an ankle and needed my help, of course, driving to and from appointments, surgeries. This year she had to have an eye surgery. So, just really stepping into that caregiver role has been important to me.

Billy: So, you and I have some similarities here. Because I've never been married, no kids, yet different circumstances, obviously, here. So, I imagine that as you're looking forward to the second half of life, that all plays into this idea of wanting to be an adventure planner. That's the phase that I'm in right now, as I just got back from my trip from Portugal and Spain and Dakar. I'm heading to Thailand and Singapore, and who knows where after that. I'm just transitioning into a new phase of my life. So, what adventures have you planned? What are the future adventures that you're looking forward to planning?

Joy: That's an awesome question. Like said, I think when you're confronting your eventual mortality very suddenly, very unexpectedly, it really puts life in perspective. You say, what are my priorities in midlife and beyond? Like I said, I'm not a things person. I don't care about stuff. So, I'm not really a shopper, but I love to travel and have experiences.

I was diagnosed with stage four cancer at just 33, just 33 years young. I had lymphoma. I had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, that, unfortunately, at stage four had spread all throughout my body, as lymph nodes are everywhere and had major organ involvement. So, after three years of chemotherapy and losing all of my hair, I knew that 40, if I got there, would be big. I knew I'd want to do something really special.

As I reflected on what is that really special thing, I realized that I've never been to Europe before. So, I realized I had an opportunity presented to me by a friend, who was leading a group, a friend from college. He said, "Hey, I know you'd like to sip on some wine." He said, "I'm going to be leading a tour to Italy." He said, "It's like eight days, or you can even add a couple days and do an extension. But you just hit all over Italy." We flew into Milan. We went to Rome. We spent a whole day at the Vatican. We went to Florence. We went to Venice. We were at Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. We were at Capri. We saw the ruins in Pompeii. I'm like, "I'm in. Where do I sign up? How long do I have to make payments on this?" I couldn't afford it, but I made payments and did that. That was a huge just experience. Of course, I'll never forget getting to do all that.

I also earned my Master's degree a few years ago, specifically in health communication so I could be better at serving others breaking down complex medical information, making that more easily understandable. When I earned my Master's degree, I did an online program through Boston University. Well, I'm based in the Midwest, and so the program was online. But I thought, of course I have to go out there when I walk and graduate. Graduation was around Mother's Day. So, I decided to grab my mom. I grabbed my only sister. We made this huge mother-daughter trip out of it. I am the travel planner that does the research and proposes all the options. Then people I'm traveling with decide what they want to do. Then I book everything, and I have all the tickets in a folder every day. I'm very detailed. So, I hand that out. We went out to Boston. We went to Cape Cod and spent time on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Several days in Boston. Actually, I have two childhood friends in Boston. My old prom date lives out there from high school.

Billy: Did you stop by and say hello?

Joy: I was able to meet up with — yeah, I totally did. They're both married. Both of my childhood friends, they both have two daughters, which is really cool. We actually all went to the Samuel Adams Brewery and had a great time in Beacon Hill. We had a great dinner. It was so much fun to see those childhood friends I grew up with.

But trips like that, I plan. I love to go to spas, so if I can get away. Earlier this year, I took a trip to Dallas. Because I'm really intrigued in history, and had to go spend more time at Dealey Plaza, which is such a tragic spot, but also a very riveting or mesmerizing, fascinating place just in the history of America, of our country.

Billy: The third role here that you put down was, being a cancer survivor, you're guiding so many others facing cancer through your podcast and through your coaching and through your speaking. So, what we're going to do is we're going to take a quick break, because that's what you're here to talk about today. It's your battle with cancer, and how you fought through it, and how you have reinvented your life, and how you're helping others face their own mortality and reinvent their life as well. So, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll continue hearing more from Joy Huber. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.


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And now, let's take a minute to be present with our breath. If you're listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let's do that one more time. Inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now, back to the show.


Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Brian on the Bass is at his company holiday party. So, I am here by my lonesome, with author, speaker and cancer survivor, Joy Huber. If you're thinking, I feel like these two sound different than they did in the first segment. That is because we have had to switch locations because we were having some issues, but I think we have them all resolved now. I could tell that I was getting frustrated because, as everyone knows out there who listens frequently, I am a perfectionist. So, I want things to run smoothly.

Joy, I can only imagine, being diagnosed with cancer teaches you to go with the flow. So, I cannot wait to hear your story here because I know that it's going to be an impactful one, not just for people who have cancer or people who know others who have had cancer, but even just people like me who take things so seriously even little things and make mountains out of mole hills. I can't even begin to imagine the emotional stress and navigating a cancer diagnosis. So, can you share your story with us, please?

Joy: Yeah, absolutely. You are right. We are just going with the flow here. For me, it was no big deal. Because cancer does, it gives you perspective. I think the thing is, we're all going to face something devastating like that in life. It's not pleasant to think about. But sooner or later, something — cancer, job loss — something will happen to all of us. I look forward to talking about how we can respond or react to that and, like we said, go with the flow.

I was diagnosed with cancer. I found out I had stage four cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, very unexpectedly when I was just 33 years old back in March of 2010. So, of course, when you're that young, you're not expecting to get a diagnosis like that. I had to embark or begin down a path of three years of chemotherapy that I endured, suffering the complete loss of my shoulder length hair. I'm glad I was single at the time. So, I ended up getting back together with an old boyfriend for a while, while I was going through my cancer treatment.

But just at the time, I was going on dates with people. All of a sudden, it's like, whoa, the complexities this adds of, "Do you tell? I'm going to have to tell if I'm going to be going out in wigs, and having all this going on." How do you share that information? Does that drive people away? Will they stick around. That's where, like I said, I ended up getting back together with an old boyfriend for a while.

One thing I really found, going through cancer and hair loss was probably the most difficult, at least, emotional thing that I'd gone through. Like I said, I was a single lady. All of a sudden, I find out, "Hey, you have beautiful shoulder length hair at the time." One of my nurses said, "That's going to come out in the next few weeks. I just want you to know, one of the medicines you're taking will cause your hair to come out. So, you need to get prepared for that." So, of course, I was shocked or devastated at that. What I ended up deciding to do is just really take control of it. I think that's a great lesson for the listeners. It's, control what you can in a crisis. When things are happening to you, there's a lot of things or a lot of times that things are out of your control. But if you can look at what's within my control and control what you can.

So, what I decided to do was actually cut my hair really short. So, I did that. I thought that might make it maybe not as hard, because then I won't have like these long chunks or clumps of hair coming out. I cut my hair super short and actually really liked it. It was really cute. Then I thought, well, you can't like it too much. Because you know it's going to ultimately start coming out. We hit a point where I would have to vacuum my pillow in the morning when you wake up. There'll just be a lot of hair on the pillow at night. Then I did, ultimately, take what I call the 'hair loss shower.' I talked about that in my book. It was very traumatic. You step in the shower. When the stream of water hits your hair, I actually heard a splat sound. Because it was my hair coming out and hitting the shower drain. That was super emotional. That's one of the moments that I remember actually crying the hardest throughout the journey.

Again, it probably was because it wasn't within my control. This was happening to me involuntarily. It's such a shock. So, I put shampoo in my hands. I would start to suds my hair, and it was just coming out in my hands. I was just crying. I think I might have sat down on the tub during and just sobbed for a while. I thought, am I going to be bald by the end of the shower? I remember I was scared to put my head back under the shower stream. So, when you talk about complexities with recording, I have just different life experiences or just a different perspective where I am really good now at going with the flow, not sweating the small stuff, and just putting things in perspective as far as what really matters and what's okay. I did get out of the shower, and I still had some hair left. I blotted my head and still had some hair. But of course, I called my parents. I was crying. We went and had my head shaved the next day. Again, taking control of what you can, instead of just letting it happen to you.

Billy: A couple things here. I want to go back to, as you were dating, and you talked about how you knew that you were going to have to share this with people that you were dating, how did those conversations go? How did they react? How did you present it?

Joy: Yeah, I actually did a show recently on cancer in your career. Because, of course, everybody's probably going to work every day. Same thing there. It's like, who do I need to tell? Does my employer have to know this? Could it be a possible discriminatory thing against me? How do I tell? Yeah, I mean, I'm the type of person that tends to more make light or try to at least think and be positive. I'm not really going to get emotional with a complete stranger. Yes, some people, I would just say and really let them know. "Hey, we just met. I'm certainly not expecting you to stick around for this completely unexpected thing that I've been hit with. I've been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and just going to have a lot going on right now."

Like I said, it ultimately did end up, of course. I was sharing the news on my Facebook, and I started CaringBridge. I'm from a very small town in Kansas or southeastern Nebraska. I think a lot of gossip went around in people here. Actually, I had an old boyfriend — a guy I met on my 21st birthday — reached out to me. Him and I kind of reconnected. We ended up dating for a bit while I was going through my treatment. That was actually really a good, I think, relationship to have at that time. Really comforting. Because he had known me even before cancer. But yeah, it's definitely something to think about. If you're single and going on dates, it's like, "Do I want to tell the person? Will they notice there's something different about my appearance?" A lot of times you do hear of people even that are married or their spouse is having a really hard time helping them through it, with all the changes that are occurring.

Billy: Going back to the hair loss, how did people come up to you? How did you navigate those conversations? Because I imagine people were having those conversations. It sounds like you were proactive and telling people, "Hey, I'm going through this." But even here, that emotion is still there. So, I imagine at that point in time, it was particularly raw. How do you navigate those conversations? How do you keep your spirits up, or do you even keep your spirits up while that is happening?

Joy: Yeah, and I think a key thing with cancer is, I really tried to have more good days than bad. Again, I think that's a lesson for your listeners. No matter what crisis you're going through — whether it's facing cancer, a job loss, a divorce, the end of a relationship, whatever happens in midlife, kids leaving the nest going on to college — it's really not what happens to you. It is the way you choose to respond. But I think it would be unrealistic to think I'm going to have a good day every day. I'm going to have a positive attitude. So, give yourself permission to feel all the feelings that you're feeling. There were times I would wake up and be like, "I feel awful. I feel nauseated from chemo. Today is not a good happy day." There were days that, of course, you're sitting cross legged on the couch. You're crying. You're reaching for the ice cream, whatever the case may be. You have to give yourself permission to feel that, and to sit with those feelings even if they're uncomfortable.

After that hair loss shower, and I had my head shaved, now I'm bald. So, I'm a bald, 33-year-old single lady. I didn't look awesome, bald. Some women, they look fine. They look good. I didn't look awesome. So, I was thinkin what can I do? Again, what's within my control? You've heard the quote, 'laughter is the best medicine,' right? So, I thought, one thing women like to do is change their look. Women will go to the salon. They come back in different color. They come back in drastically different hair. I thought this would probably be a period in life where it's never been easier to change my look. I started thinking, what if I just got a whole bunch of different wigs? I could try different colors. I could be a redhead, and see what I look like. I could try super short hair. I could try like even longer hair. I ended up really doing a cool thing that was featured in Coping with Cancer magazine. I got a whole bunch of wigs.

Of course, at this time, social media was taking off. My mom actually took pictures of me modeling all these different looks. So, I would do short hair. I would do long hair. I did the redhead, like am I a saucy redhead? We included hats or caps. We did all these different looks. Then here's what I did. I uploaded the pictures to Facebook. Because, of course, your friends are scattered all around — people I went to college with or buddies in my professional career. I put them all on Facebook and even in my CaringBridge site, which I was using to communicate with everyone to provide updates.

I just said, "Hey guys, hair is all gone. Getting into the chemo here. I am bald, and I am trying to find some new looks." I said, "Let's have essentially a Facebook fashion show." I said, "Why don't you all vote and comment and help me pick your favorite looks of the summer?" It was a phenomenal way to get encouragement from friends, to get support. I did have some guy friends from college. They texted and they're like, I'm touching this. Because they're like, if I say something that's misconstrued, they're not supportive enough. They're like, I will be attacked in the community. So, they're like, "Hey, man, I think they were all fine. I'm not going to vote. But I want you to know I saw the Facebook." So, it was more women that would weigh in and go, "You know, this hat is really cute, or I really liked the chin length wig. That's really cute." But it was really, I hate to say it, it made hair loss fun. It kind of did. It really transformed the experience from traumatic to one where I could gather support and encouragement.

Billy: I think that's something that really connects to what one of our favorite guests, Tom Cody, where he talks about reframing the situation. How you feel about something is how you're going to see the situation. And how you see the situation is what you're going to do. What you do is inevitably going to be what you get. Then we just keep going around in that loop right there. I've said this before, it's one of my favorite quotes. I think I've said it before. Well, it says, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." You really took this crisis and turned it into something fun. I think that really speaks to your spirit and your personality. Just even when we're off air, you have an energy about you that's really fun. We've never met before, but this is so much fun to vibe off of your energy right here. I want to know what were the fan favorites. What was your personal favorite?

Joy: Yeah, actually, I was diagnosed with cancer in March. So, I began my chemo in April. Of course, by May, the hair was going. I live in Nebraska. So, I'm in the Midwest. Actually, it gets terribly hot, of course, in the summer. So, I really like some of the shorter looks. I had a very short hair wig. I should send you a picture. Then there was a chin length one that I really thought was cute. Those got a lot of votes. Some of my friends really weighed in on some of the hats. One of the things I did in the summer is, you can actually get what are called halos of hair. What's interesting is that a halo, if I explain this right for your listeners, it's going to have like the hair in the front or a little bit of hair hanging down on the sides. It gives you the look of hair. But then the bulk of your head is actually bald. It lets you stay cool in the summer, but there's a piece of velcro you can attach a hat to. So, I would just put a hat on that covered the bald spot. It still looks like you got hair, and you've got a cute hat on. Some of my girlfriends, some of my female friends, really liked that. They're like, "This is super cute. I love this cap." Just a lot of fun.

Like I said, I'd gotten back together with an old boyfriend for a while, while I was going through treatment. He had a buddy over. I think the day the guy came by to pick up some parts or something, I had a long red haired wig, and longer hair. Then the very next day, it was just hot, hot. It's so humid first thing in the morning. I pulled on a wig with super short hair. The same guy comes back to drop off or whatever. You should have seen this guy do a triple take at me, because he thought I was a different girl. So, he thought the guy I was going out with was seeing a couple ladies. He's like, "I thought you were someone different." I was laughing. I said, that's kind of an interesting thing about going through hair loss with chemo. It is super easy to change your look. Like you said, you reframe it into something fun or something positive.

I think it's Jack Canfield that wrote The Success Principles book. He actually talks about a formula for life that I try to employ no matter what is happening to me. Like I said, whether it's a personal thing, whether it's a professional thing in my career. Jack Canfield says E plus R equals O. He says E is the event in life — your cancer diagnosis or whatever you're thinking about right now. O is the outcome. But notice it's not E equals O. So, it's not the event in your life that equals the outcome. Like, "Man, I got fired today. I lost my job. Now I'm depressed. Now I'm bitter." You have factor in your response to that event. That's what will ultimately dictate the outcome. I got fired. But you know what? My response is, "Hey, I've got some emergency savings. I've got a plan. I didn't like the job anyway." The outcome might be, I feel refreshed, because now I have an opportunity to find a job or a career that I'm really going to enjoy.

Billy: That really ties into what I learned when it comes to mindfulness. Because you could use that E plus R equals O, and the R could be different. So, I always think that without mindfulness, it's event plus reaction equals outcome. Because oftentimes, a reaction is impulsive. But when we say event plus response equals outcome, an outcome is extremely the response. It's more of, "Hey, I'm going to take some time to collect my thoughts, and evaluate the situation." A lot of times this can happen very, very quickly, if you have trained yourself to be able to take in all the information rather than go to that immediate, impulsive reaction, to respond. Part of that comes from establishing a mindfulness practice. Research shows that. Just out of curiosity, and I don't know whether you do meditation, or whether you do mindfulness, you just have a sunny disposition where you shoot kittens and rainbows all day. Because that's the way that I see you here. I don't know if that was your personality before, or if it has exponentially grown to where it is today. I can only imagine that that's probably who you have always been.

Joy: Yeah, really, I have always generally been. If you talk to someone who went to grade school or middle school with me, and they see me today, they're going to say, "She hasn't substantially changed." Like I said, I do think I'm more grateful, or I have this perspective of just putting things in perspective and going this person is getting really worked up. But to me, it's not that big of a deal. I think I'm better at — what's that Taylor Swift song — Shake it Off. I think I'm better at shaking off those things.

But honestly, sometimes I joke with my friends. My name is Joy. I think that sets an expectation. Can you imagine if you were friends with someone, you're like, I have this friend named Joy. The weird thing about her, she is the most angry, nasty, bitter person. It just doesn't go together. So, there's times I feel like, "Hey, I kind of need to live up to my name here. But like I said, not every day is going to be a great day. When I speak to groups, I always ask that. I say, "Hey, how many of you think it hurt me to try to be positive most days or some days throughout this journey?" You see people shake their heads going, "Well, no, it doesn't hurt." I think we talked before about the body of evidence out there, about the power of the mind-body connection, and what you think thoughts become things and what you think ends up happening?

Like I said, I'm definitely not a person that's always happy and upbeat. There are certainly days there's challenges, and you give yourself permission to have those off days. But I do hear a lot. People go, "You're the happiest person I know, or like you're the most positive person I know." Facing cancer in my 30s probably made that, I like to say, better. Some people might say worse. But I just really have an attitude of gratitude, where I feel like I am really thankful for things.

Billy: You even say here that no one's happy they have cancer. But you can have cancer and still be happy.

Joy: Exactly. That's really what I discovered throughout my journey. That's perfect. If you had to distill it down into a sentence, that's what I'd say. No one's happy they have cancer, right? No one's that happy to get that shocking, devastating, difficult diagnosis. But what I really discovered, like we talked about, through the hair loss and transforming that traumatic experience, you can have cancer and still be happy. I think it comes back to, what you said, not having that gut reaction or that knee jerk reaction, but giving a little thought where you can have more of a thoughtful response. Like you said, tools like meditation, the mindfulness, very helpful.

One thing I find is, I actually journal a lot. I have a book I'm working through right now that's cool. It asks you the same question every day for five years in a row. Like today, the question that I asked me and has me respond to, it'll ask me that same question on this day again next year, and I will respond to it. You can look back and go, "Hey, what was my response last year?" So, I find those to be useful tools versus maybe using social media and putting everything out there. You can still use a tool like a journal and keep it private, and come back and reflect on your previous entries.

Billy: I love that, that it's the same question on the same day, year after year. Where did you get this journal? Where can people find this journal? As you're talking about this, I'm very excited. I love the concept of this.

Joy: I think it's called A Question A Day or something like that. It's got a teal or a turquoise light blue cover. Every single day, it asks a question, and then like said on this day, again, next year, it'll ask me the same question. I'm 45 right now, and it's a five-year journal. I thought, well, how cool the finish this right as I'm turning 50, right as I'm embarking on a new decade, and can look back at this middle age, and see what the thoughts were as I moved from mid to upper 40s, to embracing that new decade.

Billy: So, you talk about journaling. Did you do any other type of therapy in order to navigate the situation? What was your support circle looking like during this time?

Joy: That's a great question. That is one thing I find. It's you do want to talk to someone who's been there, and you want to talk to someone who knows uniquely. Because I would meet friends from college or really good friends in LinkedIn. They would sit there and look at me. They would go, "Honestly, my grandma had breast cancer. But for me to sit here and say, I know or I understand what you're going through or how hard that is when you take a shower and your hair falls out," they're like, "I am so sorry. I can't even relate to anything close to that."

You realize, I think, in middle life, it's okay if you still have some of those same friends that you've always had from college. But as you all have different life experiences, it's okay to find new friends, too. I offer coaching on my Dose to Joy Podcast. I have a Patreon account, of course, set up if anyone wants to chip in and support the show. But one of the tiers, one of the things I offer is that they can set up a personal call with me. If they say, "Hey, I want to share my situation with Joy and get maybe some customized, tailored recommendations." But I always try to connect people to support, too. Because like I said, I had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Well, if you have lung cancer, or breast cancer, or prostate, and you want to talk to someone specific, I know one group I recommend is Imerman Angels. Now I've actually volunteered with them. I recently talked to a gentleman. But you do want to talk to someone who's been there and who really uniquely understands. I think support groups are really important, whether that's a place you can go and gather in person, whether it's someone you're talking to on the phone, or someone you're talking to over Zoom or in a virtual environment.

Billy: When we talked to Jodi Pfarr not too long ago here, she talked about, in her book, The Urgency of Awareness, that we have these eighteen normalities and then the opposite of that — things that are not normalized. One thing that is normalized is being able-bodied. I'm wondering, for you, did you have transitions physically, where you went from being a healthy able-bodied person to not being able to do some of the things that you used to do? Are you back to being able to do some of those things? Are there things that you just haven't been able to do in that time or since your diagnosis?

Joy: Yeah, I'll tell you one example I can think of. It has been in these COVID times. I'm considering all the chemotherapy I've gone through. I've gone through three years of chemotherapy. Like I said, I'm mid 40s right now. I sometimes have to be reminded. Hey, my immune systems a little bit different than maybe the standard someone in their mid 40s. I mean, I'm very good at adhering to the recommendations, but I'm vigilant about hand washing using sanitizer, wearing masks, all of that. Of course, I've gotten three of my vaccines. I've gotten my booster at this point. But just my immune system is different. There are times I'll be around a group of friends. Then if somebody's sick or if a couple people have colds, and then the next thing you know, a couple days later, I'm sneezing or coughing. It's like, ugh, I was with these friends. I think someone had a touch of a sniffle or something, and my immune system is just not what it used to be.

Another thing I did notice is being such a high energy or joyful person. Unfortunately, aside from a cancer diagnosis, one of the most devastating things that's happened in my entire life happened just a couple months into my treatment. My favorite grandparent passed suddenly or unexpectedly. He wasn't ill. He actually passed in a farming accident. He was on a tractor going out to check some fields and things. Still, as an 86 year old, because he was a real go-getter. We were just super tight, super close knit. Like said, I'd seen him that Sunday. He passed suddenly in this accident on Tuesday. I had a chemotherapy scheduled. I literally told friends, I had chemotherapy for stage four cancer and a funeral within 48 hours of each other.

I've often said, I hope that that was the darkest days of my life. Because that really was a difficult time to have him gone. I tried to reschedule my chemotherapy. My doctors were really strict with me about not moving it, because they said, "You have stage four cancer." They said, "We don't know how else to say this. This is literally a matter of your life and death that you stick to your chemotherapy schedule, and we don't move this." So, I had to go to chemotherapy, and then I came home to rest. The next day was his visitation. They told me, they said, "You've just had chemo, it's like getting the wind knocked out of you. You've had all this poison infused in your system." Of course, it is a downer. I would have really an off week, where I was very fatigued or not my usual high energy self.

So, they told me, they said, "Plan to use a wheelchair at that service. You can still go, but you'll need to be in a wheelchair and have someone push you around. That way, you're not up walking around, over exerting yourself." I am also stubborn. I was like, I'm 33. I don't want to be pushed in a wheelchair. So, I was up walking around. But you have to make adaptations. We came home from the visitation. A lot of us were at my grandmother's house. Everyone was sitting around the dining room table or kind of visiting. I'm like, I'm going to bed, because I had overdone it. I knew I needed to get some rest. So, you have to make those modifications or just consider what you've been through, and be in tune with yourself to adjust accordingly.

Billy: The title of this episode is Facing Down Your Own Mortality. We took that title from something that you have said before in facing down your own mortality. I can only imagine what being given a stage four cancer diagnosis, and then shortly there after losing a grandparent in an accident does when it comes to you facing down your own mortality. Can you talk about that and those emotions? Because I think that that is an experience that a select few of people have. I'm very curious to hear how you manage that. Because I'll be very, very honest. The concept of death terrifies me, because I am terrified of a world in which I do not exist. I don't mean that arrogantly. It's just the concept that life goes on without me here is so weird. It's weird to think that hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago, people existed, and they're not here anymore. So, that makes me sweat even just thinking about all of that. That's a very large philosophical question that I imagine you had to face.

Joy: Yeah, for sure. I'm going, well, I might have to come back for another episode so we can tackle some of these additional topics. That's one thing. A cancer diagnosis really forces you to confront your eventual mortality. Like we said, at some point, that's something that happens to all of us. No one gets out of here alive, nor were we meant to, were we meant to be on Earth for forever. But you're confronting your eventual mortality suddenly, very unexpectedly. It's right there staring you in the face. That's one thing that I have helped others with, as I've coached or met with individuals. Because I think it's really important that you ask yourself great questions when those fears, when those emotions surface. You've probably done that as you reflect, or as you journal, or do meditations. You sit with those thoughts and emotions, and you see what surfaces.

I've just found the question why to be so powerful. Because, of course, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I felt terrified. You hear you have stage four. I really brace myself for, this is it. Stage four cancer, it's like, I kind of expect someone to be telling me, "You have four months. Make the most of it." You are all of a sudden giving me a timeframe. You have five weeks. All of a sudden, giving me an end of life that's coming very fast. It's coming a lot quicker than I anticipated. That was one of the emotions I felt. Of course, I had a meeting with doctors, where you're getting test results back. You are terrified. And it's almost a paralyzing, terrifying fear. There were times when I would be driving to appointments, and I just have a dream or a vision. What if you didn't go to the appointment? What if you didn't show up? Why don't we go left? Why don't I go to Barnes and Noble? I love bookstores. Why don't I go into the cafe and get tea, and just hang out with a magazine and not show up? Because I'm not sure if I can hear what they're going to tell me. Of course, I thought I can't do that. Burying your head in the sand, again, where does that get you?

So, I went to the appointment, but I really had to sit with why. If you're scared of dying, why are you so scared of dying? So, I sat with that for a while. What surfaced for me — we're being raw and emotional here today on the show — what surfaced is, I was scared of dying because I felt like I hadn't really lived. I was only 33. That's what started coming back to me. You're scared to die because you haven't really lived yet. So, then, you continue asking yourself the questions. You surface great, really meaningful things. If you're ready to sit in the room by yourself and have some Kleenex and blot some tears and just face all the emotions instead of trying to suppress them or reaching for a drink or a coping mechanism or vice. Like I said, feel the emotions that you're feeling. I thought, well, I'm scared to die because I feel like I haven't really lived yet. I'm only 33. Then you start defining, well, what does really living look like? Did it look like, "Hey, I'd like to start a family." For me, it actually didn't.

I have an older sister who's married and has a son. So, I do have that youngster in my life or my only nephew. But for me, what surfaced was experiences. Not going out and buying things, but having experiences, travel, seeing the world. But the answers to those questions, it's just so productive when you sit and keep asking yourself. Why am I afraid to die? Well, I haven't lived. So, what is living look like? What do I need to do? What do I need to change? I think that's part of the happiness or the joyful spirit. It's hey, I beat cancer. I came out of that living differently. I'll really prioritize travel now. The money I spent on taking trips, and I go solo. I have no problem with that, or I'll go with friends. I'll go with family. But just really making that a priority and asking those great questions has been really useful for me.

Billy: Well, I think that's a perfect spot for us to take a break right here. Because you have gone on to do so many amazing things following this cancer diagnosis. So, let's take a quick break. Then when we come back, we're going to learn about how this cancer diagnosis led to Joy doing so many cool things that allowed her to feel like she is living her best life. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.


Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact us, or if you have suggestions about what you'd like us to discuss, feel free to email us at or follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Oh, and don't forget to show yourself some love every now and then, too. And now, back to the show.


Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm here with Joy Huber. Joy shared a really powerful story off air here. Joy gave me a very nice compliment. She said that she hasn't shared that story about her grandfather before. So, thank you for being open and sharing that here. Joy, don't be surprised if we're friends now moving forward, which I welcome. I need the positivity that you emanate from your soul. So, I really appreciate that. It's such a wonderful compliment. One of the things that you mentioned is that this devastating cancer diagnosis has led to you doing so many cool things. This season is all about reinventing yourself. So, can you talk about how this cancer diagnosis has led to your reinvention?

Joy: Yeah, that is a great question. Like I told you, so many cool things have happened. I think that's just a great lesson or a great reminder. It's like hang on for the ride in life. When something unexpected happens, you never know where that's going to take you, or what's going to come out of that — whether it's new connections, relationships, opportunities. You just never know when you embark on something, whether that's willingly or involuntarily — in my case, with cancer — where it'll end up going.

One example I would share is with my business. I had my own business, doing training and public speaking. But I'll tell you, I was maybe struggling a bit with, hey, what differentiates you from all the other speakers out there talking about customer service, or talking about managing people, or assertive communication for women? One thing I found is, as I got through my cancer treatment and this whole idea of facing cancer with joy, really kind of hit me, I thought, well, that's unique. Your name is Joy. This is like facing Cancer with Joy figuratively. Like we talked about, the mind over matter, the laughter being the best medicine. But also, facing it quite literally. Because especially with the podcast now Dose of Joy, it's like people are facing cancer with Joy, literally me, as their guide who's been there, guiding and helping, comforting and soothing them as they go through it.

So, that's one cool thing. It really helped me find my passion, my purpose in helping so many others. Because that's another thing I noticed. Individuals, if I know someone, and they're friends with someone else, or their family member gets diagnosed with cancer — say, I don't know their friend, but we share the common person — they will reach out to me and say, "Hey, my aunt just got diagnosed with breast cancer. Would you be able to talk to her?" I actually went back to school. I completed a program through Coach U to be professionally trained in coaching others. So, I had to take courses in listening to people. I learned the word 'listen' unscrambled spelled as silent. That's really pretty cool. You take those six letters, LISTEN. You unscramble them. It's spelled silent. I think the lesson there is, in order to be a good listener, you have to be silent. So, you have to not be thinking about what you're going to say next, not be trying to interrupt or cut in. But you have to truly be silent and focused on what is that person trying to tell me? Not only their word choices, but their body language as well.

Billy: 15 years as an English teacher, and I've never put together that LISTEN and SILENT all have the same letters. That is wonderful, that I am today years old just knowing. That is phenomenal. Then in this coaching program, what is it that you're actually doing? What are you coaching?

Joy: Typically, we're coaching on potential or possibilities. Sometimes people do, say, with cancer, they want to run their individual situation by me. A lot of times what I find those with cancer, you might be working full time. You might have a family with kids. You've got activities. Now you've got to cancer diagnosis. One thing I find I've been really effective at guiding others too is just resources that they don't know about. So, things that are out there that can help them. A lot of times I'm helping people with coping, with finding resources, finding the support, finding the encouragement, whether that's connecting them to a support group that's specific to their cancer.

In addition to a class on listening, I also took a class on questioning. We talked about that earlier, where you asked that why or you asked some really great questions, especially when people express emotions. Then I took courses in acknowledging. I took courses in strategizing, partnering with others. Like I said, a lot of times we work on potential or possibilities. It's like, well, what is still possible for you? One thing I did or I've done is dabbled in songwriting. I found that to be another way to express myself creatively. Not that I'm a singer, or I have that great voice to be an artist on the radio. But I found just myself writing down hooks or kind of ideas for songs. Actually, the song that plays at the beginning and the end of my show, Dose of Joy, is a song I co-wrote. So, I had the rights to that to put that in. It's called Live Before I Die. It talks about just experiencing the full range of life. I want to laugh and I want to cry. The world is waiting there for me. I can do more than just survive. It says, I want to see how far I can go when I put my heart and drive. Yeah, I want to live before I die. Like I said, I play that at the end of the show. I just found that to be another cool way to express myself. So, that's where I'm saying, you never know when you embark on a journey the possibilities or where it will evolve, what it will lead to.

I authored the book Cancer with Joy. Like I said, now the podcast Dose of Joy, coaching others. I speak to groups. Sometimes I'm asked to come into hospitals. I have done the songwriting. I actually moved away to the Nashville area for a year. I found out I didn't want to live that far away from family, but to live just north of Nashville up in Hendersonville for a year.

Billy: This is so incredible that you're doing all these things. I, myself, am in this transitional period right now in my life. It wasn't because of a cancer diagnosis. I think that that's important for people to hear that you don't need to have a significantly large life event happened to you in order to make some transition, in order to reinvent yourself in some way. You did have this. It sounds like it has spurred you on to go on to do these amazing adventures and to stretch out the pizza dough of your comfort zone. I don't like the idea of being outside of your comfort zone. I like the idea of stretching the pizza dough of your comfort zone.

Just going back to the music, Brian and I love music. Brian is very much a musician, and I dabble in that a little bit, too. Were you taking lessons, or did you pick up an instrument after this? The reason why I'm asking that is because it's interesting that you suddenly have this motivation to be creative. I think that that's something as we get older — Greg Scheinman talked about this, where as we get older, we lose fun. We stop doing things that are fun. So, where did this passion for music come from? Did you have an instrument? Were you just playing with it on the computer? Were you singing? Tell us more about that. Because I think, as we get into midlife, we start to lose fun. As you faced on your mortality, you're like, I'm going to have a lot of fun.

Joy: Yeah, I think you're definitely right about that. It's easy to fall into. If you're in a relationship, if you're married, if you have kids, it's easy to fall into, "I get up and go to work all day." Maybe it's a soul sucking job or something that's draining that you don't love. But you're looking. You haven't landed something different yet. You know you can't leave because you got to make the mortgage. Yeah, a lot of people, I think, in midlife just go, "Is this it? There's got to be something more. What else is there? What can I do with that dream that I tucked away in the back of my mind?" Maybe I can move to Nashville and pursue music. But on what level can you do it? When I started the podcast, it dawned on me, hey, I could put my own music in the show. That's really a cool use of your talent or incorporating that.

So, I've always loved music. I remember singing in the school programs. I took piano lessons when I was little, and I love playing piano. I still sit down to play the Christmas carols and the music. My parents used to take me to a home where my great grandma lived. There would be all these older individuals. They would have lunch. They'd go to their rooms and lay down. Maybe there wasn't anything going on. They take me in, and I just volunteer. I just start playing music. These people that you think, "Well, they're older. They're probably tired. They want to lay down," they would come dancing out of their rooms, rocking up and down the hallways. They would be out there. My mom would be like, "Play that song again." I'm going, "I just played it." She's like, "Yes, but they loved it. Play it again." So I've always had that where I've played piano. I even played the alto saxophone in school for a while.

I just found songwriting coming to me just as, you'd hear songs on the radio, I'd be like, well, I have an idea for a song. I started looking into it. I found NSI, which is Nashville Songwriters Association International. They have chapters in a lot of places. I thought this is crazy. I just have something I've written down here. It barely rhymes. I don't even know. This is probably awful. But like you said, stretching the pizza dough. I just thought, "You know what? Is life going to pass me by, or am I going to have some fun?" So, you put yourself together with your sheet and you go. I know this isn't any good. I went to a meeting, and I read some lyrics. There was a guy there that was an awesome guitar player. He's like, "Can I see that lyric sheet?" He took a look. I didn't really think anything of it. I'm like, nice guy, awesome guitar player. Then next month, I went back. He's like, "Oh, I'll play something for you." He became my first co-writer. We began collaborating, and actually wrote a song called No Pain, that ended up being played at both of my grandparents funeral, because they loved it and had a personal connection to it.

So, again, is it commercially viable? Is it songs that I have on the radio in Nashville, where I can say, hey, I wrote that? No, but you find a way to take your passion and fit it into life. I think one important thing to say that cancer taught me is, the clock's ticking. It's ticking for all of us. You can bury your head in the sand and avoid that, blah, blah, blah. I don't want to think about that. Well, it's still ticking. It's still happening. It's like, how can we seize life, seize the moment versus letting it pass us by. Get out of the rut of just going to to work, going to the kid's activities, rinse and repeat. What can we do to embark on some of these passions in life, and pursue them? How many died with a dream still inside of them that they never had the guts to chase? It's like, who cares?

I think, personally — I don't know about you, Billy — I think you're successful if you have a dream, and you pursue it. Success is not, "Oh, I'm a published author or whatever." It's, I had this dream, I pursued it. Nothing big happened. But you know what? I did it, I went after it instead of just wondering at the end of life. I wonder what would have happened if I would have tried this?

Billy: I think that ties into something that resonated with me as you were telling your story right there. So, you have this passion for songwriting. You decided to go where people are writing songs. Between Nashville and Austin, you're talking about two of the most widely-acclaimed music cities in the United States. So, you surrounded yourself with like-minded individuals. Here, you were able to turn some lyrics into a song, thanks to the help of this guitar player. That's why I'm eternally grateful to Brian. Because this podcast has been something that I've wanted to do for a while, but I knew that I needed a like-minded person in my life in order to have it come to fruition. When I approached Brian about it, he was all in. I think that's so really important for people to recognize. It's that if you have these passions — this is a word that I think is overused, but I also am starting to understand the power of it. If you want these passions to be manifested into existence, you need to speak them. You need to put them out into the universe. Because when you do that — again, this is going to sound hokey, but the universe listens. It may send you someone your way that can help make that passion a reality.

Again, those are all things that three years ago, I would have never said at all. But I really do feel that way. I'm feeling that way more and more as I get older, and as I'm going through this transitional period. A big part of that, for me, was, I guess, manifesting this trip that I took overseas while I've been on leave. That's something that you said in the last segment. You were really looking forward to taking a big trip because you had not yet been to Europe. I didn't go to Europe until I was 37. My family didn't travel when we were younger. So, that wasn't really an important thing for me. But now as I'm older, all I want to do is travel. So, you took a trip to Italy, it sounds like. Can you talk about that trip?

Joy: Yeah, I'm right there with you. I went to Italy when I was 39, and I turned 40 the next month. I had never flown overseas. I've been to Canada or Puerto Rico. I've taken cruises that have docked or had those cruise ship stops in like Roatan, Honduras. I've gotten off some places in Central America. I have friends from college. I remember one of my buddies, he went backpacking through Europe, a semester, when we were in college. Honestly, at the time, I didn't have the resources to do that. But being diagnosed with cancer when you're 33, and I think we talked about earlier, it's like I knew when I beat the cancer, when I found out I was in remission. Again, it's like, hey, could that positive attitude have helped me? I think possibly in beating this and getting in remission. I did chemotherapy for a few more years. I did maintenance chemo. Then I just started thinking as 40 was coming around the band, I had never gotten married, hadn't settled down and had kids. That's a great thing about being single, living that life. It's you're free to travel.

A friend of mine had reached out. He was actually coordinating a tour. He was a teacher, and putting together a tour where students could sign up. He knew I like a glass of wine, and he knew I love pasta and pizza, and all of that. He also knew I'd been through all this in my 30s and just had never been overseas. We're friends from college. Anyway, he reached out. He's like, "Hey, I thought I'd let you know. I'm putting together a trip to Italy. Wine, gelato, pizza, pasta." He's like, "I thought maybe you'd want to go." I'm just like, "When is it?" I figured out it was the summer I turned 40. I just knew. Like you said, you put it out there in your mind or even speaking it. The universe has a way of bringing it back or manifesting.

I thought, as I'm diagnosed with cancer in my 30s, I've been wanting to do something big for turning 40s if I made it, since I made it there. I didn't know exactly what that would be. But then my college buddy presented this opportunity to me. I'm like, "How much?" Of course, he says, "Well, there's payment plans available." I think I made payments every month to whittle down the balance, which is awesome. It was prepaid fun. I came home, and I had all these awesome pictures and memories. I didn't get the huge credit card bill ever, because the trip was really paid for. But we ended up going over to Italy. We flew into Milan. Thankfully, the tour could add an extension a couple of days, which I did. Because I thought if I flown all the way to Italy, I'm going to take in as much of the country as I can. We're in all over. We're in Milan. I have a picture in front of the cathedral. Then we went on to Venice and did the gondola boat ride. Just so many amazing all over. We went into Florence, the Duomo there. I went out to Pisa, so we could stand by the Leaning Tower. The Basilica, we went there. We went into Rome. We spent a whole day at the Vatican. Then the extension let us go into Pompeii and see ruins. We were on the Amalfi Coast riding in one of those buses, where you're kind of going, "Whoa, I hope this doesn't go over the edge." Some of these roads and we're in this long bus. I ended up taking the boat ride to Capri, walked around where Mrs. Onassis was. I am fascinated by the Kennedy family. It was really fun to get to be in that area. You've got to make a plan and ask yourself, what's important to me? What does living look like? Then how do I break that down into these baby-sized manageable steps to make it happen?

Billy: So, Joy, we're going to get you out on this here. You have been such an inspiration to so many people, especially people who have you been diagnosed with cancer, or have family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. What are your number one do's and don'ts when they get diagnosed?

Joy: Excellent question. I like to share these because I definitely did the don'ts, and I don't want other people to do those if they do learn from me. When I heard the word cancer, I think I did what a lot of us do, you Google. Google knows everything. There's so much information out there I can find. So, I start Googling. The problem is, who provides that information? If someone's good at Search Engine Optimization, they may not have the medical background. But they might be able to get their information to spread or go like wildfire. It comes up in the search engine results even if it's not credible. I always love to share, I always tell people don't Google. That's the number one don't. Don't Google your diagnosis. You want to go to credible sites and find medical, helpful information.

I always tell others It doesn't seem like that many people know about it. Everyone knows because that's the American Cancer Society's website. But actually provides oncologist-approved information. I pull our site from that a lot in a lot of my shows. Number one don't, don't Google. Go to a site like or something with credible information about the type of cancer you're facing.

Then my number one do is, do get a second opinion. I think that is critical when you're dealing with cancer, that you have another professional that will confirm that diagnosis and agree on the proposed treatment plan before you go through all this chemotherapy, before you lose your hair, your hair falls out. So, I actually recommend a site from US News and World Report. But you can look up the best hospitals for cancer treatment, and see if there's anything close. But definitely, the oncologist I went to, he actually suggested I go to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which was a wonderful, wonderful treatment facility in Omaha. That's where I went for my second opinion. But I recommend that you get that second opinion before you embark on a treatment plan.

Billy: Well, my number one do for our listeners is, to check out the Dose of Joy Podcast. I hope people heard my energy shift from the first segment throughout the show. Because at the beginning of the show, I was frustrated with the technology. But the more and more you sit here and talk with joy, her energy just fills you up. Joy, I cannot thank you enough for being on the show.

Like the Dose of Joy Podcast Facebook page for free, helpful content daily. Joy also has a Patreon account that we will link in the show notes along with her podcast. Some options from her Patreon include opportunities to have a personal call with Joy, and even be coached by Joy on an ongoing basis. Joy, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence here today.

Joy: Thank you so much for having me. Honestly, it was a true honor to get to speak to you. I've listened into the show. I'm a fan. You have a lot of great guests and you share a lot of great information that's really applicable to me. Like I said, I'm 45 now. So, right there in the part of middle life, where you go there's got to be something more. What more could there be? I'm so glad that I came upon the show and became a fan, and then got to connect with you. When you said, "Hey, would you be on the show," I really jumped at the chance to get to connect and get to share some, hopefully, helpful and inspirational content. Like I said, no one's happy they have cancer, but you can have cancer and still be happy. You could almost replace cancer with anything you're going through in midlife. So, seize the moment and find a way to eke out or make it happen in your life. Thanks for having me on.

Billy: I think that's the moral of the story here, ladies and gentlemen. It's that if you have a story, we want you to share it with us. So, feel free to contact us. You can email us at You can follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. We also have a Facebook page. You can check out The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast. We're on Twitter @mindfulmidlife. Get in contact with us. We want to hear your story. We want you to share your story with others. So, for Joy, for Brian at the holiday party — I hope you're having a great time — this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care friends.


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