No, Cosmo, No!

Cosmopolitan magazine screwed up big time. The publication sent out a tweet on Monday touting cancer as a route to weight loss.

Here’s a response from The Washington Post, a rant that I’d far rather draw attention to than the misguided message in Cosmo:

As someone who’s experienced breast cancer twice in the last 24 years, I guarantee that enduring a grueling treatment regimen and looking one’s best don’t go hand in hand.


My 2nd Act on New Focus Network

The documentary series focusing on My 2nd Act productions in different cities is soon to hit New Focus Network, which will carry the stories of female cancer survivors into viewers’ homes.

According to the following announcement, the Birmingham show in which I participated will follow the debut in the series focusing on women in the Raleigh, North Carolina production.

Let’s go, ladies!

Visiting Kielce

The past few weeks have been full. Classes at UAB have begun, and my oldest daughter is now officially a college student living on campus. It’s strange to have her so near, yet not in the house with us.

As I get back into familiar routines, I’m also beginning to sort through my research this summer in Poland. While there, I visited a cancer center in Kielce, where I interviewed several cancer survivors, healthcare providers, and even the founder of the facility. By my side were three new Polish friends/colleagues: Joanna Bogusz and Dorota Dudek-Godeau from the National Institute of Public Health in Warsaw, and Ewa Brdak, a translator. Together, we examined how cancer care is delivered in this area and the ways in which survivors’ lives are affected as a result.

One of our specific visits was with members of The Amazon Group, a national organization for breast cancer survivors with chapters in several regions, including Kielce. Following my visit, an article was written by a journalist from the facility. Here it is, in Polish!,164467,1013.html



A Dutch Dilemma

The winter 2015-2016 issue of Cancer Today includes my article, “A Dutch Dilemma”:

This piece explores the decrease in–and ensuing confusion over–tobacco control regulation in the Netherlands in recent years. I was thrilled to receive an email from Dr. Wanda de Kanter today, a lung cancer specialist from the Netherlands Cancer Institute that I interviewed while researching the story. She sent along several comments from colleagues in the U.S., Australia, and Japan, all of whom are members of the International Association for Lung Cancer, praising the importance of the story and its lesson for other countries.

To test or not to test

An essay I wrote about deciding whether to test for BRCA and meeting Dr. Mary-Claire King, the scientist who discovered BRCA1 in 1990, was just published in Cancer Today

Before meeting Dr. King in person, I watched Decoding Annie Parker. Actress Helen Hunt plays King and tells the interesting story about how King uncovered the genetic cause of some breast and ovarian cancers. It’s an emotional film, but definitely one worth checking out.

On a related note, Mary-Claire was pleased by Helen Hunt’s portrayal of her character!

The Alabama Project on the NCI website

My friend and colleague Suzanne Parker initiated publication of a story about The Alabama Project on the National Cancer Institute website before she experienced an aneurysm several weeks ago. I stepped in to flesh out the piece, which I’m happy to report has just gone live on the NCI’s website:

The story will soon be posted on the NCI homepage as well, so many more can see the beautiful images David captured and hear these survivors’ powerful stories.

Thank you, Suzanne!

Meeting Cloe

My 17-year-old and I just returned from London. When I was invited over a year ago to make a presentation at a conference in Oxford this summer, I asked Celia if she’d like to come along to England with me. She didn’t skip a beat before signing on for her first international adventure.

During our time in London, we visited the usual tourist sites: Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham, London Eye, and so on. But we also did something out of the ordinary that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around.

A few days into the trip, I sat at my computer catching up on emails while Celia kicked back on the hotel bed to check out some you-tube videos. Suddenly, I heard a high-pitched squeal coming from Celia’s direction:

“Mommy, Cloe is having a meet and greet at Princess Diana’s memorial in Hyde Park this Saturday!!!!!!! Can we go?!”

“Um, maybe. Who’s Cloe?”

“Cloe from Cloe Couture! She’s one of my favorite you-tubers!!!”

Priding myself on being a semi-cool mom, I do know what you-tube is. Heck, I’ve even watched a few videos. One demonstrated how to wrap my sari, something I’ve never quite mastered despite being instructed by more than a few Indian women. Others have featured clips from interviews and talks by people whose work I’m interested in. But Cloe Couture? Never heard of her.

Celia showed me one of Cloe’s videos, confident that I would recognize the girl’s brilliance. Cloe is indeed entertaining to watch–a little bit of information on clothes, shopping and other teenage matters is mixed in with humor and lots and lots of energy. Plus, she’s just a tad older than Celia, and will be heading to UCLA in the fall to begin her freshman year.

So on Saturday, my British pal Kathryn, Celia and I trekked our way through Hyde Park to Cloe’s gathering. A number of fans were already there when we arrived, and Celia soon joined the circle to get to know the other girls, play a game, and take photos with Cloe. Celia was very, very excited to have met her online friend in person. And Celia’s friends expressed (via text, instagram, and snapchat) their extreme jealousy that Celia had the opportunity to actually meet someone that they’ve only seen from afar. As far away as you-tube.