From DJ to Fleetwood Mac to Survivor: One Woman’s Journey Attacking Cancer
Lizz Caywood lived a charmed life growing up in Oklahoma City. She had just been out of high school a few years when she landed a job as Oklahoma City’s first female disc jockey.
“I always loved music, and a friend of mine called and said they were opening a new nightclub,” she says. “They needed a DJ, and he recommended me for the job. I played all the hits of the day from ABBA, the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Those were fantastic times.”
That gig led to a chance encounter with Judy Carne of “Laugh In” fame, who offered Caywood a job in Los Angeles as her personal assistant. In turn, that led to an introduction to Fleetwood Mac, and a job touring with the band as an assistant to lead singer Stevie Nicks.
“It was life in the fast lane for sure,” Caywood remembers. “I met Rod Stewart, and actors like Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. I had dinner with Cher one night when she was married to Gregg Allman. But then it was time to come home, and by the 1980s, I was ready.”
Settling on a career in real estate, Caywood became one of the top sellers for Oklahoma City’s Churchill-Brown Realtors. But life threw her a curve ball.
“I began having a pain in my breast,” she recalls. “It was 2002, and I was 47 years old when I went in for a biopsy. One of the hardest parts early on was waiting, because I had the biopsy and then it was Martin Luther King Day weekend, which meant I wouldn’t find out the results until the following Tuesday. Finally, I heard the results.”
Initially there were a lot of tears, she said. There was fear, and then came determination.
“My dad had been very athletic when he was younger, and then an accident left him severely handicapped,” she said. “But he never gave up, and that is what I was determined to do. I knew I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, just go quietly. I had a fight ahead of me, and I just knew instinctively it was a fight I had to win.”
So, the process started. A double mastectomy, chemotherapy, the inevitable hair loss.
“One day some of my best girlfriends came over to visit,” Caywood said. “I know I must have looked bad—a bald little person as white as the bed sheets I was laying on. I didn’t feel great, but I felt okay. Then my friends left the room. I heard them crying out in the hallway. I got out of bed and said ‘Look you guys, I’m going to win this fight. I’m not going to die!’”
After a year of treatments, the tests showed her to finally be cancer-free.
“The chemo had taken its toll on my body, and I had some other ailments to deal with. But it wasn’t cancer. It was gone. Now it’s 17 years later and I’m still doing great!”
And Caywood has some sage advice for others who may be facing a similar circumstance.
“Reach out to others,” she says emphatically. “I had my circle of friends who helped me through, as well as my family. The Oklahoma American Cancer Society is another great source, so many programs that can help. They can give you a free ride to treatment or a place to stay, or a hotline that can answer your questions.
“Just don’t try to do it alone,” Caywood adds. “Use the resources available. It will help, I promise. I’ve been there. Remember each day is a blessing. Live life to the fullest. Let go of the past, hold on to what is most dear and love with all your heart. You’ve got this.”
A Great Place to Work ~
Join Our TEAM Today
$5,000 SIGN ON BONUS FOR FULL-TIME POSITION
We are hiring RNs for
Medical-Surgical – RNs
Emergency – RNs
Applicants should apply at