A lot people confronted with loss from cancer tell us that the grief of losing a partner can bring up the question of loving again. After her husband’s years-long battle with thyroid cancer, Real Housewife Jill Zarin, 56, has found love with Gary Boyd, a longtime friend and tennis partner. What makes their love-after-loss relationship work?
“Bobby would probably love him,” Zarin told US Weekly said of Boyd in a recent interview while sharing her collection of masks, which she’s donating to frontline healthcare workers.
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“Gary very much respects the grieving process I am going through and has been an incredible friend to talk to,” she said at the time. “He only wants the best for me and my daughter.”
Brody and Zarin were friends long before the relationship turned romantic. The pair share an apartment in New York but, to date, have not married. Zarin told Bravo’s Daily Dish that her late husband told her that he hoped she would find someone special after he died.
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Today would have been our 19th Anniversary. Bobby Zarin, Mr. B, Bobby Baby….I think of you everyday. I feel you watching over me all the time and @jenniferrogersbelieve calls me with messages. Thank God because I needed you so many times when I didn’t know what to do and you told her and she told me. You would be so proud of me and of Ally. All the little lessons you taught us, many by example were not wasted. Including @jon_wexler I might add! HE! even turns off the lights now. When it comes to judging people, good, bad or indifferent, you are still , sadly in some cases, ALWAYS right. But I will always try to to the right thing no matter what. Thank you for always watching over me…. I will always love you … Xoxo Jill
“He told me what he wanted for me. It was very sad. But he wants me to move on, he wants me to be happy,” Zarin said after going public with their relationship in December 2018. “He doesn’t want me to be alone.”
“Bobby taught me what true and deep love is,” she wrote on Instagram at the time of his death. ”
There’s a difference between moving on and moving forward, says Doug Wendt, a cancer caregiver who lost his wife to ovarian cancer.
Bobby Zarin’s Thyroid Cancer Journey
The husband and wife team, who married in 2000, were fan favorites on “Real Housewives of New York” when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. He underwent radioactive iodine treatment and had his thyroid removed.
In 2013, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to his lungs. He underwent more treatment. In November 2016, Jill revealed Bobby had a cancerous brain tumor.
“It’s been a difficult year since his brain tumor diagnosis but ironically that’s not even the issue,” Jill told E! News in July 2018. “His papillary thyroid cancer has morphed into something called anaplastic thyroid cancer. It’s very, very rare.”
About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is a malignant tumor of the thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland in the throat that regulates hormones to control the body’s metabolism. Although thyroid cancer is relatively rare, according to the American Thyroid Association there are four types of the disease:
- Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of all thyroid cancers. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age. It tends to grow slowly and spread to lymph nodes in the neck, and generally has an excellent outlook.
- Follicular thyroid cancer makes up about 10% of all thyroid cancers. Follicular thyroid cancer can spread to lymph nodes in the neck, but is more likely than papillary cancer to spread to distant organs, particularly the lungs and bones.
- Medullary thyroid cancer accounts for approximately 2% of all thyroid cancers. Approximately 25% of all medullary thyroid cancer is inherited, and a test for a genetic mutation in the RET proto-oncogene can lead to an early diagnosis and, thus, to curative surgery.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most advanced and aggressive form of the disease. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is very rare and is found in less than 2% of patients with thyroid cancer. It most commonly occurs in people over the age of 60 years. In some cases it arises in patients who have been diagnosed with papillary or follicular thyroid cancers. While overall survival statistics are discouraging – with an average survival rate of 6 months and approximately 1 in 5 alive after 12 months – it is important to note that there are long-term survivors.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
Lumps in the thyroid are common and are usually benign. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.