KISS Country radio personality Jody Jo Mize had no history of cancer in her family, but she still did regular checks for breast cancer. The exam she did on May 19 was different than all the rest: For the first time, she felt a small mass in her right breast.
Through a combination of not wanting to look like she was overreacting and a little fear of what the diagnosis could be, Mize waited three weeks before seeing her doctor. Then, within days, she had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. The tests revealed she had one large Stage 2 lump the size of a golf ball and five small occurrences.
Mize remembers getting the call about the cancer on June 24 while her teenage daughters were going through sports physicals.
"I collapsed," says Mize, 39, seated at a small table outside the Starbucks at Fig Garden Village, a bright pink scarf draped around her neck. "I had to drive home with my kids and then tell them. I remember thinking all the way home of how I was going to tell my kids.
"They both knew something was up. They had known I went in for a biopsy, but I kept telling them it was nothing. By the time we got home, they both went into their rooms, grabbed their pillows, sat on the couch and waited for me to tell them. They just knew. I had to say those words: 'Your mom has breast cancer.' The first words out of both their mouths were: 'Are you going to die?' "
Mize, a single mom, was able to calm their fears by telling them that there was already a plan in place for how to fight the cancer. It started on July 29 with months of chemotherapy, followed by a double mastectomy Jan. 16. Doctors discovered that Mize has the gene for cancer, so to make the chances as minimal as possible of a recurrence she will also undergo a hysterectomy. Breast reconstruction surgery will be done at a later date.
All of this surgery means her chances of the cancer recurring drop to 1%.
Mize knows she has made it through all of the medical procedures because of the love she has received from family, friends and radio listeners, her deep faith and the support from KISS (FM 93.7) management and staff.
One of the biggest surprises for Mize is that she's not angry about having cancer.
"There has not been one moment of wondering, 'Why me?' It just happened. The only thing I can say about that is that it's how you deal with it. Two people can get the same diagnosis and the person with the better attitude is going to get through it better," Mize says. "I think God has a plan for us and that plan for me included this because he wanted me to get this out to as many women as possible. I have a huge platform because of the radio station. They have allowed me to talk about this as much as I want to."
While Mize was going through chemotherapy, arrangements were made so she could continue to co-host the morning show with "Gnarley" Charley Fitzgerald from home, missing only two days of work. She's used her air time and will continue to use her air time to talk about her battle with cancer in hopes of inspiring other women to do a regular check even if, like her, there's no history of cancer in their family.
"It was a blessing that the radio station did that. They didn't have to do that, but they really went out of their way for me."
Mize was declared cancer free on Jan. 16, but her recovery from the surgery has kept her from a lot of activities, such as driving. She'll be back in the KISS Country studios on Monday.
"I don't hate that I had to go through it," Mize says. "I think it's made me a better person, a stronger person. It made me a more caring person."
If you would like to contact Mize, the best way is through her Facebook page, facebook.com/JodyJosPinkRibbonPage.
A sports reporter and a meteorologist are being added to the joint KSEE (Channel 24.1)/KGPE (Channel 47.1) news staff.
Scott Bemis, a USC graduate, joins Andrew Marden and Devon Thrasher in the sports department. The Newport Beach native worked at Fox Sports Net in Los Angeles for nine years. In his last year at FSN, he worked for "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," where he produced the specialty shows "The 50 Most Spectacular Baseball Plays" and "The 50 Most Inspirational Moments in Sports." Most recently, Bemis worked in Las Vegas as a weekday sports reporter/weekend sports anchor.
Meteorologist Dave Spahr will join the station later this month from KGTV in San Diego. The Pittsburgh native has spent 20 years reporting TV weather in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina and the Coachella Valley.
The joint news department is losing Rachel Azevedo, who has accepted a position with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce in their government affairs department.
Fresno has a connection to the Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia, through a musical performance by Clovis' Chris Colfer. His rendition of "Le Jazz Hot" the Julie Andrews number from "Victor/Victoria" was used by the German ice dancing team in their short program. Colfer performed the tune in an episode of his FOX series "Glee."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.