Not long ago, Marie Ennis O’Connor of Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer posed an excellent question on one of her posts; she inquired what our particular style of illness was. She based this question on Anatole Broyard’s book Intoxicated By My Illness, where the author says, “Every seriously ill person needs to develop a style for his illness.” I left the following comment on her … Continue reading the story "Survivorship by Design"
Post Archives tagged ‘breast cancer’
Like so many, I remember 9/11 as if it were yesterday. I often wonder about the families and friends who lost loved ones -- how have they rebuilt their lives? Or did they rebuild their lives? Ask anyone, and I’ll bet he or she will tell you where he/she was on September 11, a day of collective suffering -- not just for those of us in … Continue reading the story "Remembering 9/11"
Mastectomy is always in the news, it seems, and recent research focuses on women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer who opted to remove the affected breast as well as the supposedly healthy breast. The procedure is called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, or CPM. Peggy Orenstein addresses CPM in her widely read July 26 The New York Times Op-Ed piece titled “The Wrong Approach to Breast … Continue reading the story "Defending Mastectomy Choice"
I am pleased to participate in the blog tour that highlights each participating blogger’s writing process. I hope this post helps readers better understand mine. I was invited to this tour by the wonderful Jennifer Campisano of the excellent blog Booby and the Beast. As part of this blog tour, I answered the following four questions about my writing process. What am I currently working … Continue reading the story "My Writing Process"
At the airport’s security check, I approach the body scanner with trepidation, knowing about the vow I took years ago: if confronted with such a machine, I would refuse a full body scan. After all, I’ve had my share of scans, thank you very much. I certainly don’t need one with the general voyeuristic public looking on. And I certainly don't want TSA and airport security employees seeing … Continue reading the story "T&A at the TSA"
I judged him way before I met him. There I lay, on my sofa, swearing up and down that I would never, could never, ever see an oncologist. I was in limbo. My surgeon told me that day -- Almost-Botched Biopsy Day -- he was pretty sure I had breast cancer. Pretty sure, but not definitely sure. (Two days later, he … Continue reading the story "‘Oncologist’ Turned On a Dime"
My last post focused on the “little” lies people told me to encourage me when newly diagnosed with breast cancer. This post is about another lie, a whopper told by a second-opinion oncologist that threw me into a swirling inferno. The first oncologist I saw was cautiously optimistic that, with the right treatment, I had a decent prognosis. I felt somewhat reassured, but not completely, … Continue reading the story "Go Back to Medical School, Dr. Death"
When first diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt a range of emotions including anger, terror, panic, sadness, grief — and the need to pray. But not in the way you might imagine. Rather than pray for my own life, my prayer went something like this: “Please don’t let anyone else in my family get cancer. Let it just be me.” Not pleading for my own … Continue reading the story "Family Matters"
I’m lucky to have two of her art originals – one a beautiful photograph of a monarch butterfly she gave me on my birthday and the other her artistic rendering of alligators. One of my best friends, Virginia Pezalla, died from leukemia on November 6, 2012. **** We met as colleagues at our college. What started as a few shy smiles and nods of acknowledgment turned into something … Continue reading the story "Virginia and Me"
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I became a stigma. After finding out about my diagnosis, my mom’s first words to me were “Don’t tell anyone.” I cried, telling her I needed to talk to people about this. Her response was, “Nobody needs to know about it. Don’t tell our family or your friends. They will tell everyone about that “thing” you have.” My … Continue reading the story "Secrets and Lies"