Book Review: Hospital Land USA

Death is certain. Time of death is not. But in Hospital Land USA, the other S&M (Science and Medicine) as Wendy Simonds calls it, death is a failure, something to be suspended and avoided at whatever cost. And there is no safe word. The surreal ordinariness of it all – from appointments and forms to . . . → Read More: Book Review: Hospital Land USA

Powerful advocate for breast cancer survivors dies

“Powerful advocate for breast cancer survivors dies” by Liz Szabo, USA Today.

Jody Schoger understood what it meant to be isolated. She once described how she “curled up like a turtle” in her hospital bed while fighting the life-threatening infection that followed surgery for breast cancer in 1998.

“I remember never even opening the blinds, . . . → Read More: Powerful advocate for breast cancer survivors dies

Eva Endures

By Christine Byl

Author Christine Byl writes in memory of her friend Eva Saulitus, an author and field biologist who died of metastatic breast cancer on January 16th, 2016 at age fifty-two. We shared an excerpt of one of Eva’s writings, Wild Darkness, on Breast Cancer Consortium last year and were deeply saddened to learn . . . → Read More: Eva Endures

The Lives They Lived: Lisa Bonchek Adams

“The Lives They Lived: Lisa Bonchek Adams,” by Elizabeth Weil, The New York Times, Dec. 23, 2015.

She taught us how to die.

Death presents a problem every time. Everybody’s a rookie, everybody’s afraid.

Lisa Bonchek Adams typed her way unto the breach. A realist, an atheist and not at all sappy, she detested the . . . → Read More: The Lives They Lived: Lisa Bonchek Adams

Grief Through The Holidays

By Kirsten Kaae

In the turbulent wake following the death of a loved one, “firsts” of all kinds feel strange and unwanted. The holidays with their call for good cheer are probably the most dreaded ones of all. There is no time of year more fraught with expectations that are steeped in shared memories, . . . → Read More: Grief Through The Holidays

Ending ‘The War’ And Giving Up ‘The Fight': How Not To Talk About Cancer

“Ending ‘The War’ And Giving Up ‘The Fight’: How Not To Talk About Cancer” by Dr. Isaac Chan, Wbur’s Common Health.

Hers was the face of someone defeated by cancer. Our conversation was grim. She wanted to “fight,” to continue treatment. But there were no more options. I vaguely remember speaking, feeling hopelessly ill-equipped. I, . . . → Read More: Ending ‘The War’ And Giving Up ‘The Fight’: How Not To Talk About Cancer

Wild Darkness

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have talked to and read the writings of women living with metastatic breast cancer, and many have made the point that their experiences seem to have no place in today’s cultural conversation about breast cancer. In this excerpt, we wish to give one such woman a place to be heard. You can . . . → Read More: Wild Darkness

Wounded by the Language of War

“Wounded by the Language of War” by Paula Span, The New York Times.

When did the language we use to talk about death start to resemble a Pentagon briefing, full of military references and combat analogies? Maybe it dates to 1971, when Richard Nixon declared a “war on cancer.” Or much earlier, in the late . . . → Read More: Wounded by the Language of War

Book Review: Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens, a profound thinker and prolific author, writes his final book, Mortality (2012), about his life-ending illness. In describing the intimate experience of “livingly dying” with metastatic, esophageal cancer, Hitchens offers a highly personal narrative, sometimes poetic, and somewhat ironically, filled with humor. His fun and graceful use of language gives readers permission to . . . → Read More: Book Review: Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Aww, Grampa... ...you'll outlive all of us!

Many of us have escaped into this type of jocular dismissal when someone we love says, “This will probably be my last… (birthday, Christmas, anniversary).” But what is it we are really saying with a statement like, “Aww, you’ll outlive all of us!” The feeling underlying the comment may be, “I don’t like the thought . . . → Read More: Aww, Grampa… …you’ll outlive all of us!

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