Breaking News: Woman Dies of Something Else!


TUSCALOOSA, AL — Virginia Whittlesby, 73, died today from something other than cancer. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but malignancy in any form has been conclusively ruled out. “It’s truly a medical conundrum,” said Lawrence Kahn, M.D. “There’s such a high incidence of patients with malignancies that cancer has become our go-to disease when ordering […]

How Old Do You Feel?


And I will never grow so old again. — Van Morrison, Sweet Thing I’ve been part of a dance community for 20-plus years. Back in the day, we would say: I’m always going to dance, even when I’m old. It keeps you young. There was an implied belief that if you just keep dancing, you will defy the process of aging and […]

Perceptions of Beauty

Hiking in Topanga State Park Feb 09 011

My latest mammogram report noted the “architectural deformity” in my right breast. I guess it won’t be showcased in Architectural Digest any time soon. Reading one’s own medical records is like peeking into another’s private diary in which he or she gossips about you. It’s strange to read someone else’s words about the most private aspects of […]

Mythical Cancer Warriors


An acquaintance asked, “Do you appreciate life more now that you’ve had cancer?” With a smile I said, “Oh, no! I hate life!” The woman appeared taken aback. She clearly wasn’t expecting my blunt response, especially when my facial expression and exuberance didn’t match the answer. I admit my mischievous side took a certain pleasure in giving a socially unacceptable answer. I […]

15 Random Things About Me

Nancy of Nancy’s Point recently posted a blog challenge to write 15 random things about yourself. Here are mine. Some are quirky. Others are common. All are true. 1. I have one older brother. No, I wasn’t the spoiled baby, but I think my mother over-protected me in ways she didn’t with my brother. We also had a Pekingese named Ricky who clearly […]

Cancer Cards and Expiration Dates

Watching You

I admit it. Although I finished treatment four-and-a-half years ago: Last weekend, I used the cancer card. Not only wasn’t I ashamed, I quietly gloated that after all this time, I managed to jump-start its engine and get it humming. Which brings up the questions: Do cancer cards have expiration dates? A statute of limitations? My card had been abandoned for some time. […]

The Gift Debate

Pink Gift Box

I’ve never quite understood the debate over whether cancer is a gift. It’s not like one viewpoint is the right answer. Why can’t it be both? Different for different people? Even different for the same person at different times? It’s no secret that the same experience affects various people in a variety of ways. My experience is […]

Tribute to a Special Dad – Repost from 2013

Another Father’s Day is here. The sun shines. The birds chirp. The smell of barbecue wafts through the air. It’s a great day to celebrate fatherhood, to honor all those good men who have invested their love and energy into raising children, even those who did not contribute biologically but have loved and raised others […]

Survivor: An Inconvenient Label

Name Tag

Did you know June 7 is National Cancer Survivors Day? Being alive after cancer is worthy of a celebration any day. Just tread lightly when using “survivor” in a sentence. Anyone who’s been around Cancertown for any length of time knows “survivor” is rife with conflict for many, uh … survivors. You never know if and when a […]

The Imperfection of Misery


Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. –Primo Levi, If This Is A Man I read this quote today and it startled me. It certainly made me think. Most people understand that happiness is fleeting or […]

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