As chief of investigative services for New Castle County Superior Court, Robert Golebiewski has seen time and again that good can win the day even in the most trying times. In his personal life, he has shown similar resolve, maximizing every day since his second treatment for prostate cancer ended in February.
“I struggled, for sure, upon learning the cancer had returned,” Golebiewski said. “But just like the first time I fought it, I knew I would have tremendous support.”
The Delaware resident had weekday radiation sessions from December 30 through February 18, his 61st birthday.
“There’s so much out there that can beat someone up, so you have to stay motivated and not let your own fear join that list,” he said.
Golebiewski, who gives significant credit for his tenacity to 35-year career in the court system, has long been a devotee of never shortchanging one’s courage. That mindset, along with the love of his wife, Cindy, and their children, Tori, Ashlee and Stefanie, has helped him to see cancer as a disease that people need to “put in its place.” He initially did so back in 2016 through the involvement of Christopher Mitchell, M.D., ChristianaCare’s director of Robotic Surgery, and gained another victory in mid-May when hearing he was again free of cancer.
“What a relief it was to receive that news,” Golebiewski said, again citing Mitchell and adding Viroon Donavanik, M.D., a radiation oncologist for the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, for their outstanding efforts. “Since then, I’ve become even more thankful for each day, and I’ve assigned extra value to every interaction with my family.”
Proximity certainly played a part in the grateful patient’s you-won’t-beat-me approach to squaring off against prostate cancer again. Golebiewski benefited from the expertise of doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff in 2016 and knew his hometown heroes at the Graham Cancer Center would again come through for him.
His daughter Stefanie Golebiewski-Manchin, M.D., works in ChristianaCare’s Department of Emergency Medicine, so he appreciated that he would have a relative rooting for him as the accomplished professionals cared for him. She has also contributed to his quality of life by encouraging him, her mother and siblings to go walking or hiking at least once a week, with Brandywine Creek State Park emerging as her dad’s favorite spot.
“I thought I’d had prostate cancer beaten four years ago,” Golebiewski said. “I consider myself a determined person, so I knew I’d end up giving all of my might against it this time around, and, let me tell you, there were trying times. My will was only a fraction of the process.
“My family has my entire heart for how much they cheered for me,” he said, “and the Graham Cancer Center deserves all the kudos for its diligence and amazing dedication to everyone who comes through its doors.”
As the rest of the year unfolds, Golebiewski may become involved with the Graham Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program, which dovetails with many support services and multidisciplinary care options that give patients additional hope. If he joins, he will become aligned with coordinator Candy Muldowney, RN, who connected with him via a survivorship phone call shortly after he had heard of his cancer-free status.
“Mr. Golebiewski spoke so highly of the care that he received at the Graham Center,” Muldowney said. “His kind words are a morale booster for us because we aspire to make every interaction an affirmation of how much we care for our patients.
“We know that people come to us with worries, but we’re here to let them know that they will again enjoy the sunlight and feel the breeze. They will continue to receive our support each step of the way.”
Learn more about the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.