Archive for October 2013

Three people who gave me help I couldn't ask for

Three people who gave me help I couldn't ask for
When I was in the early stages of being diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t have told you what I needed. If someone had asked me to make a list and put into words what would help me, I would have been confounded. That is not to say that I didn’t need help or that I... Read more »

Life after cancer: survivor's guilt

Life after cancer: survivor's guilt
Dear Steve, A few weeks ago you wrote a blog post, so full of anguish it felt like an entity in my room. It was about survivor guilt. You, like me, are in remission. You’ve survived for 10 years after an intense experience with Stage 3 colon cancer. There are moments, I know, when that... Read more »

Riding the health care tilt-a-whirl

Riding the health care tilt-a-whirl
At the moment, I have a cystoscopy every three months. I am in the “close surveillance” period that follows treatment of bladder cancer. I’m not sure what winds me up more, having the cystoscopy itself or having the labs required for the cystoscopy. In a humane world, the doctor’s office would call to schedule tests... Read more »
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5 reasons you deserve a second opinion

5 reasons you deserve a second opinion
I’ve met a few people lately who are reluctant to get a second opinion. One woman said, “Oh, I don’t need a second opinion. I trust my doctor.” I support her and her decision wholeheartedly. What better place to be than in a place of trust? On the other hand, I want her and you... Read more »

Still shallow after cancer

Still shallow after cancer
One of my favorite little scenes in Glee’s “The Quarterback” episode, its tribute to Cory Monteith, was when Tina visits the school counselor and asks when she can stop wearing black. She feels wearing black for mourning makes her look too much like the goth she had been, an image she wants to shed. Emma... Read more »

How Glee Got Grief Right

How Glee Got Grief Right
As I watched Glee last night, their memorial episode for Finn, I had little flashbacks of my mom’s death, her funeral and the weeks immediately following it. Glee’s cast had a tough load to carry. They were bringing closure to a character arc and memorializing a friend. I salute them for how much they got... Read more »
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Waiting for biopsy results: 7 ways to survive

Breathe. Really. Sit down in a quiet place. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. After you inhale, hold your breath. Exhale as slowly as you can. Try to do this several times a day. If I could change anything about those six days, it would be this. I would think about my breathing and concentrate on my breathing. The oxygen helps your brain and body, and it is life, sweet life, itself.
The hardest part of my experience with cancer has been the waiting. Whether it’s waiting to see a doctor or waiting to get a test result, cancer is a slow, anxious journey. Of all the waiting I’ve done, waiting for my biopsy results was the worst. My tumor was removed on a Wednesday. Monday was... Read more »

I'm much too aware of breast cancer

I'm much too aware of breast cancer
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink ribbons will soon take over every available visual space. I have two responses to this. 1. There’s nothing pink about breast cancer. 2. I’m much too aware of breast cancer already. Breast cancer ribbons, the ubiquitous pink ones, overwhelm the cancer landscape. There is a bizarre and very uncomfortable... Read more »