How a Local Dentist and His Wife are Helping Others Brush Away Cancer Diagnosis Fear
Joan Novelly is a mother of two, a dental hygienist and is known in the community for her family’s business, Novelly Dentistry. Her husband, Arthur Novelly, DDS, is a devoted family man who has always gone above and beyond his call of duty for his family and his extended family of dental patients in the Chandler/Gilbert area. For a woman who was enjoying life, focused on family and her community, Joan had three words take her completely by surprise in August 2011: “You have cancer.”
For those who have experienced cancer, either firsthand or through a loved one, there is a clear recollection of the moment those three words enter their lives. It is scary, intimidating and infuriating all at the same time. For Novelly, however, it was a way to find her strength and begin on a journey toward better health.
“I was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer that day in August and hearing that news was paralyzing—how would I tell my daughters, Brittney and Danielle? How will they fare without me? Will I see them graduate? My next thought was of my husband; how would I break the devastating news to him?” Joan painfully remembers.
A week passed before Art and Joan drove to the University of Arizona, where their daughters were attending college, to tell them in person about this deadly diagnosis. As she woefully watched her daughters cry and mutter the words, “No, Momma no,” she realized that although it was the battle of her life, she had to win. She had to beat cancer.
Motivated by the love of family, her fellow staff members and the supportive patients at Novelly Dentistry, she began on her journey of survival.
Initially there were nine chemotherapy treatments followed by an extensive debulking surgery (which involved the removal of female organs, lining of her abdomen, peritoneum, gallbladder, 27 lymph nodes and a portion of her liver). Post-surgery involved nine more grueling chemotherapy sessions, making for an intense and emotional journey.
“I had no choice but to develop and sustain a positive mindset despite the side effects, transfusions and feelings of physical defeat,” Joan recalls.
It is through the power of positivity and love, as well as good exercise and diet habits, that the healing truly began. Presently, Joan is in her fifth year of remission. With this cautious calm that has now become her new life, she helps to educate and give back to those suffering a similar fate.
“My husband, Dr. Art Novelly, has provided caring family dentistry for over 27 years in the Chandler/Gilbert community, treating up to the fourth generation of families. Besides his vast sponsorship of sport teams and academic organizations, he has always stressed the connection between oral health and the proper function of our body’s whole systems. He and his dental hygienists are extensively trained to recognize signs of oral inflammation, oral cancer and the impact that an unhealthy mouth can have on the entire body. Novelly Dentistry is dedicated to education on cigarette and tobacco use, acidic effects from eating disorders and the detrimental effects that these and other toxic substances have on an individual,” Joan explains.
Dr. Novelly and his staff are advocates of quality oral care during cancer treatments. They offer services for patients, pre-and post-chemotherapy, at a reduced fee, gratis or through funds provided by This Mother Won! (a company founded by Joan and her daughters) if you are a current cancer patient or beginning treatment.
“This Mother Won! is a Support Survival company that offers healing products and an empowering symbol supporting survival in all aspects of life—cancer, abuse, suicide and chronic illness. This universal symbol represents strength and the willingness to fight,” Joan says.
Joan educates others on the importance of eating an organic plant-based diet as well as avoiding sugar, alcohol, caffeine and, when possible, stress.
“I thrive on speaking to organizations and individuals about survival, the importance of knowing genetic history, diet and, of course, having the will to live,” she says. “With gratitude for life and survival comes my mission to inspire healing in others by sharing information and products that continue to help people through their journey with cancer and other life-altering circumstances. I am motivated by the encouragement and support from my husband, his staff, our family of patients and the community.