The Norman Transcript


October 26, 2012

Learning how to survive cancer

NORMAN — When JoAnn Belknap was first diagnosed with breast cancer, her mind immediately thought the worst. But through her friends, her faith and her determination, JoAnn Belknap beat breast cancer not only once, but twice.

“It means a lot that I have survived, and I ask God, ‘Why me? Why have you allowed me to continue to live?’” Belknap said. “I was reading Psalm 23 and I just decided that he wasn’t through with the path he had decided to give me.”

Belknap’s first discovery of breast cancer was in 2002 while her and her physician husband, Hal, were in New Zealand getting ready to go on JoAnn’s dream hike. Once the Belknap’s returned to Norman, their lives took a dramatic turn.

“It usually takes about three weeks to get an appointment, and it was time for my mammogram. So I called, and I think all of this is just a God thing, because the lady said ‘You know, I have a cancellation at 2:15 tomorrow. Can you come?’” Belknap said.

And from there, Belknap’s life sped up. She had a mammogram that led to a biopsy, which later led to a mastectomy.

“I was so frightened because my mom had died of breast cancer. For me, the word “cancer” meant death, not survival. I asked Dr. Sherri Durica, ‘Am I going to die?’ And she said, ‘Oh my, dear. You’re so brave in asking that so early.’ I don’t know what it was about it, but that just kind of put me at ease,” Belknap said.

After her first mastectomy, Belknap underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and more than 30 radiation treatments.

Belknap, who said she had no pain during her procedures, thought the worst was behind her after the first mastectomy. Then, in 2009, she found another lump. This time, Belknap was on her way to Uganda to open up the Dr. B Health Clinic.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Norman volunteer recognized for work at Veterans Corner

    Each week, we recognize a volunteer who makes that extra effort to assure that a veteran or surviving spouse receives VA benefits. Shirley Clark-Cowdin has been with us four years. During that time, she and her crew of ladies have helped ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Here is how reverse mortgages operate nowadays

    Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about reverse mortgages? I was considering one last year, but now I hear they are more difficult to get....

    April 15, 2014

  • Annual Norman Iris Show set at library

    A tradition of the Norman Area Iris Society and Norman Public Library returns this spring with the annual Norman Iris Show from 1 to 4 p.m. April 27 in the Lowry Room of the library, 225 N. Webster Ave....

    April 15, 2014

  • Allan Oehlschlager, family celebrating 100-year milestone

    From Kansas City to Norman with stops in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Yale, Oklahoma City and Edmond — looking back as he prepared to mark his 100th birthday today, Allan Oehlschlager termed it a “glorious ride.” Born April 13, 1914, in ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Single parents to be honored

    Five Oklahoma single parents and two adult children of single parents will be honored with awards at the Single Parent Support Network black tie fundraiser, “An Enchanted Evening,” on April 29 at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Dreams for the next 14 years

    On Monday I’ll be the proud aunt of a 14-year-old niece. For 14 years, I’ve had the chance to get used to her being 14 someday, and I’m still not there. Maybe in another 14 years, I’ll realize that she’s not a baby anymore....

    April 13, 2014

  • Midwest City reunions set

    Midwest City High School class reunions for 1970 to 1979 will be hosted in June at the Midwest City Community Center....

    April 13, 2014

  • Not typical boy behavior

    Q: My 18-year-old son and a slightly younger friend recently found some mice and decided to dispose of them. They drowned one and set the other one on fire. When I confronted my son for torturing animals, his response was “They’re just ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Readers respond to co-teaching issue

    We’ll say it again, we love our readers. Thanks to all of you who had comments about our column from the mom regarding her daughter in co-taught classes. We would like to remind you that our column is based solely on our experiences as ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Callery Pear is a beautiful invader

    You have probably noticed that trees are beginning to break bud and bloom with beautiful flowers. One of the earliest, and certainly one of the showiest, is the Callery Pear. One cultivated form of this tree is commonly called “Bradford ...

    April 11, 2014