Cancer survivor has fighting spirit
By Annette Aubinger
ASHWAUBENON – A section of some streets in Ashwaubenon were filled with pink on Saturday, Oct. 14.
It was from people walking in honor of those who have passed and those who have survived breast cancer.
They walked the streets of Ashwaubenon to raise awareness for breast cancer and to raise funds for cancer research so other lives can be saved.
The walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, was sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
Ginger Gobel from Ashwaubenon is one of those survivors.
She was mentioned in the opening ceremony speech before the walk about her courage with cancer.
She survived her first battle with cancer. The presenter talked about her positive attitude even though her cancer has returned.
Returning cancer is called metastatic cancer, something that is not heard about much, but a reality.
Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain).
The presenter talked about how more funds are needed for research so metastasis can be stopped.
After the walk, Gobel talked to The Press about her cancer.
She said once you survive cancer you still carry it with you and battle it for the rest of your life. It never leaves.
Her cancer journey started two years ago when she found out she had breast cancer.
She had a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy and took hormone pills. After the treatments she was fine.
During Gobel’s treatment, her attitude was great. She explained how she kept a positive outlook.
She knew when she was going to take chemotherapy her hair was going to fall out.
She had a hair cutting party and cut her hair short. Then, when she had chemo treatments she wanted to have fun.
She made up themes every time she had treatments. Sometimes she dressed up. Sometimes she brought music.
One day it was a super hero theme. It was a Batman theme.
Her doctor was Dr. Gautum.
He smiled and told her his name was almost like Gotham and she should consider himself as the hero Batman. That made her smile.
Gobel’s biggest supporter is her daughter, Maggie Nipps, a senior at Ashwaubenon High School.
Maggie did well on her SAT’s and just got accepted at Iowa State University. She is very proud and plans to beat cancer and be with her daughter for many years.
Gobel also made a special Facebook page. She said it was “my squad” page. Friends were invited into her squad.
They uplifted her. She also put out a message to people who were invited in to help tell her story.
Gobel works as an aide at Valley View School. Valley View was very helpful and got her through her treatments.
Some staff members wore the same color as she did on treatment days.
Some acknowledged her theme days and did something that day with her theme. They supported her.
She also had a good friend who went with her to treatments and stayed the night.
In the summer of 2016 her treatments ended and she was cancer free.
She knew life was short. She knew in the back of her mind the cancer would come back.
One of her dreams was to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. She saw the Cubs play.
Then, it did happen. In the summer of 2017 her cancer came back. She felt a pain in her arm and she knew she had to go back to the doctor.
Her cancer did metastasize. She feels she is fortunate. Her cancer settled in her arm, hip and one spot in the spine. It could be worse.
Keeping her positive attitude, it could have settled in her lungs, liver or brain.
Presently, Gobel is taking chemo pills and once a month IV infusions, two shots and she takes anti hormone medicine because her cancer was hormone positive.
Gobel said she is still working, not taking time off.
“It helps to work. I have to keep working. I need to be at school. I need to be around people. I love being around the adults and children,” she said.
At the walk, Gobel had pink boxing gloves. Explaining what they were about she said the staff at Valley View signed the gloves.
At the first staff meeting this year she was given a pink bag with the gloves inside. The boxing gloves were a symbol for her to keep fighting. She was the super hero of the month.
Her doctor said she was one of his best patients who had the best attitude and that’s a big part in the cancer healing process.
Gobel’s message is: “If you have breast cancer, and feel a pain, go in immediately. Get it checked out.”
There is not as much research on metastatic cancer and she wants to get the word out about it.
Gobel said that sometimes her cancer gets her down but she thinks positively so her mood changes.
In her case, her cancer marker numbers are going down which is a good thing.
She concluded, her cancer is something you cannot cure, but you can mange it. That is what is happening right now.
“I live every day to the best. I try to enjoy and squeeze every ounce of life every day because that is what you have to do to be a cancer survivor,” she said.