A real survivor

A Webster City woman, a two-time cancer survivor, has been named the honorary chairman of the Hamilton County Relay for Life. The relay is planned for Friday night at the Webster City High School track beginning at 6 p.m.

Betty Broshar has battled cancer twice in the past 15 years and has beaten the disease both times. A Hamilton County native, Broshar moved to Duncombe when she married Richard Carden. The couple raised three children together – Dean, Debbie and Diane.

After the death of her first husband, she married Floyd Broshar. The two were living in Arizona when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2001.

“I had breast cancer and I had a mastectomy,” she said. Later, she had her other breast removed, even though there was no further evidence of cancer.

“I didn’t want to deal with it again,” she said.

Broshar was cancer free from 2001 through 2013. But in November of last year, she learned the cancer had returned.

“She was having problems and it was then we learned she had ovarian cancer,” said daughter Diane Richardson. “She went through six rounds of chemotherapy.”

Each round of chemo took 18 hours. Broshar would travel to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines and stay overnight as she received the treatment. Richardson said the slower administration of the drug was done in hopes of easing the side effects.

“They did it really slow to help her adjust,” Richardson said. “It could have been given much faster, but they thought this would help her.”

Broshar admits the chemotherapy was difficult this time. She said she’s still having some lingering effects from the treatments. Buttoning buttons and such are difficult tasks now, she said. Her doctors tell her that as time goes on, that dexterity should return.

“This time, it was harder. I haven’t got my pep back,” said Broshar. “It’s going to take a while.”

Her hair, lost during the treatments, is starting to come back in.

“Last time, it came in curly. I don’t think it will this time,” she said. “It was kind of nice. I didn’t have to get permanents.”

On June 5, Broshar and her family learned that she was cancer free again.

“There’s no more chemo, no more shots. The only thing is I have to get my blood tested every month for a year and have a PET scan every three months. I’ll go see my doctor to make sure nothing pops up,” she said.

She credits her family for their support and encouragement. Even though the family traveled to Arizona when she was undergoing treatment in 2001, Broshar said it was good to be back in Webster City, close to her loved ones.

“The family does a lot. Floyd and my other family members were so helpful and understanding,” she said.

“Just having Floyd close when she was hurting was a great comfort to her,” said her daughter.

Broshar’s middle daughter, Debbie, also faced a difficult battle with cancer and the family rallied around her. She died in 2012.

“We look at it as she has won the battle as she’s free of cancer now and with our Heavenly Father,” Richardson said.

“You have to be encouraging and supportive,” said Dean Carden. “You have to stay focused and look at how you move ahead. You have to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.”

Broshar is looking forward to attending the Relay for Life of Hamilton County Friday night. She’s attended many Relay events in a variety of communities. This year is particularly sweet since receiving her cancer-free report. She’ll be among the survivors leading off first lap around the track at the Webster City High School track, followed by the second lap with family and caregivers.

What would she tell other cancer patients facing chemotherapy and an uncertain outcome?

“You just have to keep going and live each day to its fullest,” Broshar said.