A Cancer Warrior Takes on 'AGT'
- Jane Marczewski has had three bouts with cancer since the end of 2019, and she’s still fighting for her health.
- On top of that, she’s chasing her dream of becoming a pop star. She’ll be competing in the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent which premieres on June 1.
- It’s always a case by case basis, but doing things that make you happy and leaning on faith can be great ways to keep spirits high when cancer starts taking an emotional and/or physical toll.
The 30-year-old pop artist, who goes by the stage name Nightbirde, sings with a voice as light as a feather despite the weight of an ongoing battle with cancer. Her world was turned upside down in 2019 when she was first diagnosed with cancer.Read More
But she’s made it much farther than six months. In fact, a “miracle” occurred when hundreds of her tumors died in the spring of 2020 with the help of treatment. Unfortunately though, the cancer would return.
“After the doctor told me I was dying, and after the man I married said he didn’t love me anymore, I chased a miracle in California and sixteen weeks later, I got it,” Marczewski wrote in another blog entry. “The cancer was gone. But when my brain caught up with it all, something broke. I later found out that all the tragedy at once had caused a physical head trauma, and my brain was sending false signals of excruciating pain and panic.”
The trauma took its toll on Marczewski’s mind and body. According to her GoFundMe page, her ability to process stress and emotion was functioning at just 8 percent, and her doctors found it necessary to use brain wave therapy to help her recover.
Her cancer has returned a total of three times, but she’s still fighting. Luckily, she has some pretty incredible experiences to look forward to along the way. In her most recent Instagram post, she shared a picture of her standing in front an AGT banner with a big smile on her face.
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“So who’s watching America’s Got Talent this season?” she wrote. “STARTS IN ONE WEEK. Let’s gooooooooooooooooooo 💪🏽✨🎶”
Leaning on Faith
Through it all, Marczewski has relied heavily on her faith to get her through tough times.
“I am God’s downstairs neighbor, banging on the ceiling with a broomstick,” she wrote in a blog entry. “I show up at His door every day. Sometimes with songs, sometimes with curses. Sometimes apologies, gifts, questions, demands. Sometimes I use my key under the mat to let myself in. Other times, I sulk outside until He opens the door to me Himself.”
A common thread in all of her blog posts is her faith. She admits that her relationship with God is not always full of hope, but she still looks to Him at the end of the day.
“Count me among the angry, the cynical, the offended, the hardened. But count me also among the friends of God,” she wrote. “For I have seen Him in rare form. I have felt His exhale, laid in His shadow, squinted to read the message He wrote for me in the grout: “I’m sad too.'”
Faith is not the answer for everybody, but it can be a great way to keep spirits high when cancer starts taking an emotional and/or physical toll.
Monica Layton, an ovarian cancer survivor, also believes in the power of faith during a fight with cancer. She turned to her church congregation for support as she battled cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and then went through recovery.
“[I’ve] gone to the same church for a long time, so it’s like another family that really supports me,” Layton told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We’re Episcopalian, and when I was having surgery my priest came to the hospital and stayed and prayed with my family the whole time – and it was a long surgery. And then he came back to the hospital every day to pray with me.”
In addition to praying for her, Layton’s church also sent flowers, cards and a prayer blanket and often visited her.
“They were so kind,” Layton said. “I think my faith has been very important, crucial for me. Just the prayer really helps, I think.”
Keeping Busy during Treatment
Many people going through a cancer journey find it helpful to have ongoing projects or things to look forward to that are separate from their cancer. Whether it’s chasing your singing dreams, participating in a book club or practicing your photography skills, there are no right or wrong answers. Studies prove that patients who are able to maintain a positive outlook often have better treatment outcomes.
Experts like Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at Arizona Oncology, recommend doing whatever makes you happy.
“We know from good studies that emotional health is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better outcomes,” Chase told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “So working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment [and] your emotional well-being are important and can impact your survival. If that’s related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities.”