Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journaling Resources for Cancer Survivors

There are some great websites that will either get you started or give you some new ideas.

Journaling and the Cancer Experience:

Journaling the Cancer Journey

Journaling Through Breast Cancer Treatment

Writing for Wellness

General Journaling Sites with lots of articles and links:

Journal For You


Journal Writing at the Creativity Portal

I'll keep adding to this list and I'll put it on the sidebar.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poet (and cancer Survivor) teams up with Composer

Breast cancer Survivor Annette Pashayan wrote a series of poems about her cancer experience and teamed up with composer Ella Milch-Sheriff. The result is called "Songs from the Edge."

Watch a video clip.

Read an article.

Check out Ella Milch-Sheriff's website.

Cool Project!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Story of a Suit

Once upon a time there was a young woman with a good job. The job paid quite well and was reasonably fun. It also required that the young woman own a lot of suits. She preferred Ann Taylor suits over all others.

Slowly but surely, things changed in the young woman's life. Stuff happened in both the corporate arena and her personal life and the young woman ended up becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom. Naturally, this paid nothing - but it was reasonably fun. Her suits gathered dust and slowly went out of style. Yes, even classic garments have limited life spans.

Years passed and the woman became not-quite-so-young. She also moved many times. Slowly the suits were given away.

This past April the woman, now forty-something, needed a suit for a trip to Washington DC. She was very excited about this trip - she was going to do some breast-cancer-public-policy volunteer work. But of course because it was volunteer work it paid nothing. She did not buy a suit from Ann Taylor. No, she bought a suit from the clearance rack at a nondescript department store.

While trying on this suit, an elderly woman (who was also trying on suits) gave the forty-something woman a hard time. The elderly woman chastised the forty-something woman for buying a trendy suit.

"You shouldn't buy that suit. That little ruffle is too trendy."

The forty-something woman ignored the elderly woman's advice, and has worn the suit several times now. Her career has been ramping back up and the suit has come in quite handy. The trendy little ruffle has actually received several compliments. Right now, the skirt is a wee bit tight on our main character and this has put her in a funk - but that is a story for another day.

The End.

The Trendy Little Ruffle

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Conversation with Anita DuJardin Hockers

Anita DuJardin Hockers, author of "Breastless But Still Breathing", was kind enough to do an email interview with me. I was really curious about her writing experience.

So here is the interview, with Anita's answers in italics:

When did you start writing your book? Right after radiation treatments, 8 months after diagnosis.

How long did it take you? Crazy...but it only took about 6 months to have a book ready to be published. My editor/publisher was fabulous and I guess I had a hidden talent for writing.

Did you have journals to help you remember details? I did not journal. Hard to believe. I did keep a calendar of all my appointments. When I decided to write it all down, I opened up the calendar and tried to remember everything about every appointment I had had.

I'd imagine that going through the writing process would invoke a range of emotions. What was that like for you? Very emotional. The truth...I hated reliving it. I did it because I wanted to remember and to have something concrete for my daughter. I also wanted to help the Ribbon of Hope foundation.

Toward the end of the book, Anita wrote that "I never thought I would say this, but I recommend that anyone going through a rough time in life should write about it. Writing this book made me aware that we as humans have to let go of things in order to move on." I asked her to elaborate:

I was never a believer in writing things down. Never journaled. But after I put it all on paper, I realized that it can only help someone else going through this and after all, isn't that what it is all about.

Writing a book was not the goal to me. The goal was to help other women in my shoes understand that they can beat this. They can move on.

Thanks, Anita. I hope this blog post inspires someone to get busy writing!


Breastless But Still Breathing,

Ribbon of Hope

Friday, October 26, 2007

Review: The Faces Behind Breast Cancer

I was given a preview copy of this book and it is stunning. Josephine Caruso Sethi, "Josie," was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. In March 2006 the cancer returned. With a sense of urgency driving her creativity, Josie went about creating this book of pictorials. They are the faces of the folks that Josie met while undergoing treatment at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

From Kristi, whose family has had a history of breast cancer: She doesn't want breast cancer to define her family legacy. Instead, she wants the family legacy to be defined by "action, courage and survival."

From Cheryl: "The right time is now. Work. Create. Grow. Give."

The book is pricey ($30) but net proceeds will go to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. And I have just put my money where my mouth is and ordered a copy - it's for a gift.

Visit Josie's website, The Pink Crusader, for more information.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ConvergeSouth 2007

I spent the last two days at ConvergeSouth, a (mostly)regional conference for bloggers. I love blogging, and it was fun and interesting to meet lots of folks who are totally into it. I learned plenty from the sessions, but the best part was talking with people when we weren't in session. I met science bloggers, political bloggers, industry bloggers...

I also had the good fortune to meet Jinni Hoggard. Jinni was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, just months after I had moved here. Her journey was profiled in our newspaper, and even though I hadn't yet been diagnosed and wasn't yet paying much attention to BC, I did read some of her story in the paper. Her story, Jinni's Journal is archived online, and I'm going to go back and read the whole thing. To me, one of life's true pleasures is laughing and chatting with other Survivors & there's just a little something extra that flows from those who are "further out" than you. Jinni totally rocks!!

Jinni and Jayne

Elisa Camahort, founder of BlogHer, was one of the keynote speakers. She did a really good job conveying the massive cultural shifts that are happening because of blogs. Oh, and lest you think that political bloggers hold the monopoly on controversy, go check out this BlogHer post and all of the comments about Pink Ribbon Madness.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Voices of Breast Cancer"

Voices of Breast Cancer is a brand-new book.And guess what????????!!!!!!!! I'm a contributor. My essay is on page 41. Am I excited? Beyond.

Edited by The Healing Project, the book is the third in the "Voices of" series. Debra LaChance is the creator and founder of the Healing Project, a nonprofit organization, and she is also a breast cancer Survivor.

The book is filled with more than fifty real-life breast cancer stories, including contributions from Peggy Flemming and Dr. Michael Shepard, a leader in the discovery and development of Herceptin.

I can hardly wait to curl up with this book and read all of the stories. I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

(Cover image courtesy of LaChance Publishing.)