Archive for October, 2010

14
Oct

Re your health, social networking giveth—and taketh away

I didn’t get much sleep last night. After throwing my back out the night before, and things worsening throughout the day, I couldn’t find a position that would make the pain go away.

At six this morning, I decided to throw in the towel. I’ll get out of bed and make some coffee, I thought. But as I tried to sit up, an excruciating surge of pain went through my back. I knew right away I’d need to see a professional. But where to find one? I didn’t know. That’s when Facebook came to mind.

13
Oct

Becoming–or simply being–a survivor

Survivorship is on my mind after staying up late last night to watch the first Chilean miner emerge from what he and his 32 coworkers described simply as hell. It had been 70 days since a rock collapse first trapped them in a 600 square foot room more than half-a-mile underground. Many did not expect them to make it—at the time of writing, there are 22 to go, along with four rescuers—but if everything continues to go well, they will all soon be safe on top and see themselves as survivors. What strikes me is that those facing cancer start at the same place—the emergency begins with the disaster of a diagnosis—but you never get the crystal clear answer you’re looking for. That you’re a survivor.

08
Oct

The Boobs Controversy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you’d think that people would be focused on, well, raising awareness–and money to support research. Instead, some controversial campaigns to advance the cause may have had the opposite effect. Welcome to The Boobs Controversy.

06
Oct

Teach your doc how to talk

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I received a clean bill of health after my brain MRI last week. What I left out is that the way in which I received the news almost killed me.

05
Oct

Back in the saddle, with epilepsy

Before jumping into writing a new post, let me apologize for the dry period. We had a family emergency a few weeks back, and just when I was getting back on my feet from that, I had a personal scare. Both stories have happy endings, but I’m only now getting back into the swing of things. Onward, ho!

One of the things that brought me back into the cancer world, at first with great resistance, was the onset of mystifying cerebral episodes shortly after beginning grad school in 1999. From the start of my human rights studies, I was inundated with things to read. One morning, thirty pages into a tome on international human rights law, I had one of these episodes. For a moment, I couldn’t understand a word in a sentence I was reading. I could see the letters that formed it—my vision was unaffected—but I couldn’t make out which ones they were. For ten or fifteen seconds, the “e” in international could have been a “q” for all I knew, the “l” a “g”, and so on. And then it was over. I could read once again, but I was shaking. Maybe, after 13 years of being cancer free, my brain tumor had returned.