Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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When I was fighting breast cancer, I dropped below 100 pounds. At 5’6”, that is danger territory. Between nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and just no appetite, my husband, the cook in our family since I went back to work after our second son was born, and my caregiver, did everything he could to entice me to eat. For most of the five months of chemo, my standard fare was Cream of Wheat, with water, not milk, boiled potatoes without even butter, Jell-O™, hummus with spears of fresh cucumber, popsicles and ginger ale. A couple of friends discovered I could eat ginger snaps, and kept me supplied.... (Read More ...)

Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Two women met when they found out they were both breast cancer survivors. One had decided to climb to the top of a mountain to show the world there is life after breast cancer. One agreed to raise money for the climb to show the world that breast cancer is a public health crisis. Together, Laura Evans, who founded Expedition Inspiration, and Andrea Ravinett Martin, who founded the Breast Cancer Fund, created a movement. Their book, Climb Against the Odds: Celebrating Survival on the Mountain, describes their journey. Though Laura Evans was an... (Read More ...)

First cancer survivor to summit Mt. Everest In 1984, I sat in a bar in Kathmandu, Nepal, where I had been invited to speak at a database conference by a company training Nepalese programmers. The Himalayan mountain range with the summit of Mt. Everest as seen from the International Space Station looking south-south-east over the Tibetan Plateau. (Photo credit: Wikiped Behind the bar, on a wooden board, trekkers who had climbed to the top of, or, as they say, summit Mt. Everest, had been invited to carve their names. There might have been three dozen names. There are now more than 3,100 people... (Read More ...)

How is hiking more than 800 miles in the mountains like a cancer journey? Looking north on the Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness between the Palisade Meadows cutoff and the Knife Edge – of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Scott Bishke interweaves the story of backpacking and camping across the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in Montana, with his wife, Katie Gibson, with flashbacks to Gibson’s fight against cervical cancer. She had completed treatment for recurrent cervical three years before, when she had been given a 10 percent chance of survival. She... (Read More ...)

A Brain Cancer Survivor’s Story – The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: The Essential Handbook to Life After Cancer Cancer Survivors Park: Cancer… There’s Hope Sculpture (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In May, 2002, clinical psychologist and professor, Dr. Michael Feuerstein, found, one day, that when he stepped off the curb to walk across the street, he could barely make his feet and legs respond. When he finally made it across the street, he hugged a tree. A passing pedestrian remarked, “You’d better go see a doctor.” It was an aggressive brain tumor. He was 52. His doctors... (Read More ...)

What Do 10 Breast Cancer Survivors Have in Common? A couple of women in a breast cancer support group decided to tell their stories to a larger audience. Breast Cancer 3-Day Atlanta 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The book that came out of this decision was B.O.O.B.S.: A Bunch Of Outrageous Breast-Cancer Survivors Tell Their Stories of Courage, Hope and Healing. They approached an editor to help them write their book. Her name was Ann Kempner Fisher. She asked them how many women they planned to include in this project. When they answered three or four, maybe as many as five, she replied that they... (Read More ...)

A story of a cartoonist, New York City, and breast cancer. Times Square. New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When you’re 43, are thin, have great shoes, live in New York City, are about to get married and are a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Glamour magazine, it does not occur to you you might get breast cancer. So, you let your insurance lapse. This is a story about the shoes Marisa Acocella Marchetto wore to chemotherapy. Yes, she had surgery, a lumpectomy, to remove a 1.3 cm tumor. She discovered it in 2004 when she felt a lump in her breast and her arm hurt when she went swimming. A... (Read More ...)

Cancer Schmancer: The Nanny Confronts Cancer After a diagnosis of uterine cancer, which turned out to be slow-growing, non-invasive, Stage I, Grade 2, Fran Drescher was admitted to Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA for surgery, including a hysterectomy and appendectomy, on June 21, 2000, at the age of 42. Fran Drescher during a press conference for the charity ball dancer against cancer (Palais Auersperg, Vienna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) One doctor had told her that politicians and celebrities get the worst medical care because no one wants to give them bad news. So, there were advantages and disadvantages... (Read More ...)

A young mother’s darkly humorous look at inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory Breast Cancer Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia) You’re 34. You’re living in France. Your son is nine months old. It’s 2004. You stopped nursing a month ago, but one of your breasts is malformed and very hot to the touch. Four doctors in a row have told you it’s nothing to worry about and given you antibiotics. You go home to the United States for a vacation. Your Mom, who never gets excited about anything, tells you to go to your doctor immediately. You call your husband, still in France, and tell him... (Read More ...)

US Navy 111028-N-NW885-006 Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Angelina Colon-Franceschi, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) re (Photo credit: Wikipedia) How Do You Help When a Parent Has Cancer? Becky and the Worry Cup is a children’s book included in the book, When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children. Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, a doctor of internal medicine, wrote Becky and the Worry Cup to help her three children. They were ages 2, 4 and 6 when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 36. Aimed at pre-school and elementary... (Read More ...)