Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Michelle Chobany, radiation therapist, at Hawaii Pacific Oncology


I’ve been saying over the many years of doing this column that it is important for parents to serve as good fitness role models to their children if they want to see them healthy and at an acceptable weight.

It was during one of my radiation treatments at the Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center that I meet a mother that serves as a fitness role model for her two children.

Michelle Chobany, a radiation therapist, along with the rest of the staff is friendly and easy to speak with.

“I am so thankful that I truly love my job,” Chobany said.  “I get such a great feeling by helping people.”

It is great to have knowledgeable staff that enjoys what they do.  When you have cancer those friendly people helping you can make a world of difference in the success of your treatments.

“It is amazing the technology we have today and we are very fortunate to have an awesome staff and wonderful doctors at the center,” Chobany said.

Chobany works in a high stress environment working with fined tuned technology that leaves no room for error.

“My job can be stressful at times and we must stay focused at all times to ensure correct treatments,” she said.  “I cope with stress by trying to stay active.”

One of the best methods to relieve stress is, of course, regular physical exercise and Chobany takes the right antidote by getting outdoors and moving.

“I will do some type of physical activity every day after work,” Chobany said.  “It makes me feel good and I love being outside.”

Chobany will add variety to what she does to keep the workouts new and exciting.

“I go to BJ Penn Gym two or three times a week and I paddle with Kamehameha Canoe Club two days a week, usually on the weekends,” she said.  I enjoy spending times outdoors hiking the Hamakua Coast or swimming at our beautiful beaches with my family.”

Chobany’s husband, Rodney, stays fit by working on the family lychee orchard in Wailea.

“Rodney will run two or three times a week to Kolekole Park and back, which is a beautiful run,” she said.  “He also helps train and works out with our son Kanoa who plays football and runs track at Hawaii Predatory Academy.”

Chobany’s daughter, Melia, is also physically active playing volleyball, basketball and swimming for HPA.

“Our family enjoys being active outdoors and once we are done with our chores during the week we do family time together on the weekends,” Chobany said.  “We appreciate our outdoor time together.”

Rodney began his foundation of athleticism when he started running as a freshman in high school where he ran the 400 and was on the 4×4 relay team.

“During a rainy cold day I was fooling around with the pole vaulters by doing their drills,” Rodney said.  “When a coach came out and saw me he yelled now you’re a pole vaulter.”

As fate would have it Chobany became one of the best vaulters in the state and then went on to the University of Pittsburgh where he was a four year letterman and the captain of the track team.

“I was a sprinter and a pole vaulter and in my senior year broke my back vaulting at a meet at the University of North Carolina,” he said.

Despite a bad back this hasn’t slowed up Chobany and he still serves as a good role model for health and fitness.

The Chobany’s try to balance their fitness needs by eating a healthy diet.

“We go to the Hilo farmers market every week to get our veggies and fruits,” Chobany said.

“The Farmers Market is amazing which allows us to eat a balanced diet.”

Besides exercising together the Chobany’s will also cook together as a family.

“We love to cook and appreciate the different types of food that are available,” she said.  “We believe in the anything in moderation life style when it comes to eating.”

The couple moved to San Diego where Michelle received her degree at UCSD in 1992.

“Rodney and I came to Maui in 1992 for our honeymoon,” she said.  “It was then our dream to live in Hawaii and we are very blessed to be living our dream and having our children grow up on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island.”

“I am proud to say that I work at the Hilo Medical Cancer Center,” she said.

I know that I am blessed to have people like Michelle Chobany to take care of me when I spent six weeks of radiation treatments.

There is nothing more satisfying than to have someone that knows what they are doing and maintains a happy spirit while taking care of their patients.

Michelle Chobany is just one of the many people that I met at the HMCC that made me feel welcomed and always greeted me with a cheerful greeting and a warm smile.

And someday should you happen to see a happy, slightly bald person trying to exercise by doing laps around his neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”


June 11, 2012 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment