The C-word, Seafood Delicacies, and Constellations

The C-word (cancer) scares the hell out of us. A patent will plead, not wanting to utter this horrible word, “Please don’t tell me I have the C-word.” As a word, it is interesting. As a disease, cancer is frightening and formidable. Yet, it is highly interesting to study, to treat, and to hopefully conquer. A chief resident during my surgical training would refer to cancer as crab. On rounds he would refer to Mrs. So and So having a…

Feeling Rubenesque in the New Year? Pieter-Paul Rubens’ The Little Fur, 1638

Pieter-Paul Rubens is known for filling his Biblical and mythological paintings with half-clad round fleshy women, many of who are modelled after the woman shown here. She’s Rubens’ second wife, Helena Fourment, and he was really proud of her beauty, youth, and, indeed, her fleshiness.   Helena was the niece of his first wife, and she was very young when they married, only 16, when Rubens was 53. Even contemporaries were shocked by the age difference. Yet Rubens appeared to…

Mature Beyond Her Years

  She was 28 years old when she was diagnosed (on the right with myself and staff member). She will have survived breast cancer for many years before most women are having their first mammogram. Her post is long but nicely written and insightful for a young woman who was forced to grow up very quickly. IN HER OWN WORDS: Life was great; I’d graduated college, had an amazing career in Finance and I had recently enrolled in a Master’s program to further…

Faith, Belief, and a Favorable Outcome

It is Sunday and I turn to a survivor (in the middle with husband and a former staff member) with a deep spiritual outlook on curing breast cancer. IN HER OWN WORDS: By the grace of GOD almighty I am a breast cancer survivor. I met Dr. Kehoe in 2000. Prior to meeting Dr. Kehoe, I had been having my yearly mammogram. Two separate doctors who read the results always told me everything was good, clean and clear even in 2000. When…

I Took Hormones and Now I Take Hormone Blockers

The role of estrogen replacement therapy in the development of breast cancer remains controversial, but not for this survivor (pictured on the right). Now she takes estrogen blockers. IN HER OWN WORDS: I am 64 years old. When I turned 60 in June  2013 I thought it was going to be a special year. My daughter was having her first child and this was such a joy and blessing  I was due for a mammogram in the month of August…

I Beat Homelessness and I’ll Beat This Cancer

Sad and troubling story from this survivor (in the middle with staff members). But like her children she has risen above dire circumstances. We all stand in awe of the spirit on display here. IN HER OWN WORDS: Life has been a rough roller coaster ride for me and my children. We have been through a lot of hard times including being homeless for almost 3 years. I finally thought I had everything in order, got out the homeless shelter,…

9 Months Pregnant and….

Imagine you are about to deliver your first baby and breast cancer charges into your life and changes everything….It is hard to describe this survivor’s incredible ordeal in a few paragraphs. Despite the arrival of breast cancer and her struggles, two beautiful daughters were delivered to this young couple and to the world. When I asked this survivor to take part in this project, she presented me with four pages single spaced. She had been reluctant to talk much about…

Breast Cancer and “The Glam Cam”

These two know how to take a selfie. Today’s survivor is on the left with a staff member, who looks like a seasoned selfie participant. Neither is camera shy. We are calling this their “glam cam shot.” This survivor’s look tells you everything. But this patient was confused about her treatment after receiving upsetting news. She persevered through rough treatment and look at her today! IN HER OWN WORDS: After I was diagnosed in 2008, I begged Dr. Kehoe to remove…

My Breasts Were Sick–I Wanted Them Off

It is always jarring when a woman says she wants her breasts removed even  though it isn’t necessary. This survivor (in the middle) was adamant about doing so and speaks about her breasts and her womanhood in a very direct way. We have heard about men leaving their wives after mastectomy, but her husband was all in regarding her decision and her treatment. We know him quite well as he works in the same building and was here for all…

Thank You, Cancer….Really?

  It is hard to understand the logic of expressing gratitude after a battle with cancer. I have heard this intriguing sentiment before and felt bewildered by it. This survivor (holding the camera herself) beautifully, powerfully, and profoundly expresses gratitude for what she has learned after a long, tough fight. Fascinating. Lemons into lemonade…. IN HER OWN WORDS: Ten years ago God spoke to me in the early morning hours. I was already in a rough place in my life, probably…