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"
Post Archives tagged ‘breast cancer’
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"
As is the case for many people affected by breast cancer, this disease has claimed my trust. I don’t entirely trust my body. It has betrayed me and can betray me again. I sometimes reside in hell, where aches and pains and the scary results of a bone scan assail me with fears of recurrence. Prior to cancer I believed if I ate healthy foods … Continue reading the story "How Do I Distrust? Let Me Count the Ways…."
This piece is based on my diagnosis and treatment years ago. One of the issues people with a serious illness face is that feeling of life spinning out of control. To this day, I have control issues, especially when seeing my doctors, and it stems from my breast cancer experience. “You will see the oncologist on this date,” my chemo nurse politely tells me. “But I have … Continue reading the story "Cancer as Dictator"
The post is already written; all that's missing is artwork. Shown here is a first draft of a nude that will complement that post. This is one of the models whom I sketched with pencil in art class years ago. Now I'm trying to bring her to life -- to convey what I want to say -- with oil paints. … Continue reading the story "Menagerie Mondays: Naked"
I've just been on a magnificent adventure. And I didn’t even have to leave home. I traveled through Pasha Hogan’s inspirational journey in her beautifully written memoir Third Time Lucky: A Creative Recovery. This book covers the author's experience with being diagnosed with breast cancer three times by the time she was 31. Pasha captures … Continue reading the story "Book Review: Third Time Lucky: A Creative Recovery"
Yes, it’s true – Too many women are opting for prophylactic double mastectomies, even when unnecessary. Breast-cancer hysteria dominates our landscape and is often prompted by unfounded fears rather than sound medical advice. But it’s also true that many women are making informed, educated choices about getting prophylactic double mastectomies and seizing the reins of their medical care. I am one of these women. Although I had a history … Continue reading the story "On ‘Preventive’ Double Mastectomy"
“So, how is your relationship now that you have breast cancer?” asks the cancer wellness program intake worker. My husband and I are holding hands. “I would say it’s stronger; we’ve become closer than ever,” I tell her. “Great!” the intake worker enthusiastically responds. “Cancer can strengthen the bond between couples. Luckily, that is the case for you both as well.” I’m relieved. I half believe the feel-good lie … Continue reading the story "First Comes Breast Cancer, Then Comes Divorce"