Zesty Zoraida: Zooma, Zooma, Zoom!

Beauty no boob: “Come on give it a try: We’re gonna reach for the sky.” Early Start co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin may have given CNN a New Day a month early. In an incredible display of courage Zoraida has embraced her breast cancer challenge with a zest that gives new life to CNN’s generally bland morning fare. Furthermore, she has given her fans a front seat view as she fought her malignant invader and vanquished it.

About two weeks ago (05/14/13 – ES vid), Zoraida intimately disclosed that she had breast cancer and that she had decided to have a double mastectomy. As a recently engaged woman (to her fiance Kenny Williams), she further revealed that she struggled with her decision because of her sexuality and her breasts and how attached she was to that. But, as a mother, she explained, “At the end of the day, it’s really difficult to say that I’m thinking about this…when I have two kids that…I want to live for: And that at the end of the day, I’m going…to cut off my arms if it means that I am going to live to see them and to see them grow up.”

Elaborating the very next day (in a “Starting the Cancer Dialogue” segment), Zoraida said, “I was embarrassed by how difficult that decision was: And, so, it makes you start thinking about your sexuality which I’ve thought more about than I ever have before in my life! And, how this will affect that!”* Explicating her initial misgivings about her double mastectomy (during a subsequent “Outpouring of Support for Jolie” story), Zoraida added, “You know, the first three days all I thought about going to bed was this and getting up [was] this and what is going to be my decision: That is all I thought about.”**

In Zoraida’s final show before her surgery (05/24/13), she shared her story further in a segment entitled, “A Very Personal Decision: Choosing double mastectomy over fear of dying.”*** When she concluded her report on why she chose to remove both of her breasts even though only her left one was cancerous, her ES co-host John Berman declared, “I have been in awe of you over the last several weeks as you’ve gone through this, simply in awe of your strength.” Pulling his tie and unbuttoning his shirt to reveal a Superman-styled tee with a “Z,” John added, “I did want you to know…that I will be certainly be with you in spirit as a, as the founding member of Team Z–not just Z, but Super Z.” Standing up to embrace John, Zoraida exclaimed, “Aww, that is so sweet!” As the ES crew began to emerge with their own “Super Z” shirts made for them by John,  an emotional Zoraida hugged them, too, gushing, “Oh, my g[od]! Oh, thank you! That is so sweet! And, if that were not enough, Zoraida got a fun ES “send off…a boob cake” that afternoon: Tweeting her hearty approval, she declared, “[G]otta love my peeps!”

On the appointed day, Zoraida gamely proclaimed, “Good Morning Friends! Getting ready to head to the hospital but wanted to “check in” with you first.” Subsequently, tagging in for her sis, Ivonne Tweeted, “[Zoraida] is heading to the OR as I  tweet. I will be keeping you all posted. pic.twitter.com/ASfhKyTvWF.” Subsequently, she happily announced, “Lymph nodes cam back negative for cancer. This means cancer has not spread beyond the breast. YES!!” A few hours later, Ivonne heralded further good news, saying, “Zoraida is out of surgery. Thanks to God and Dr. Kim, everything went beautifully!!!” The next day, she prematurely predicted, “Zoraida is doing great. She goes home today. Dr’s are happy with her progress.”

Taking back the reins, Zoraida Tweeted, “Day 2 not so bad. Feeling great! pic.twitter.com/XKi2LHhUry.” On Thursday, she elatedly exclaimed, “Going home today, yay!”

Yay, indeed. Get well soon, Zoraida! And, hurry back!

*Early Start – 05/15/13 (@ 5:38 a.m. ET).

**Ibid at 6:16 a.m. ET.

***Early Start – 05/24/13 (6:38 a.m. ET).

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