Friday, January 8, 2010

A loopy week!

My one frustration with blogspot is that there is not good way to keep certain things at the top. So while it's been a busy week, what with the facebook bra brouhaha and more....I couldn't let Pamela Beth Grossman's lovely essay on facing 2010 as a cancer survivor get lost.

New year, new chances—and for the first time in a while, I feel ready to generate some real forward motion.

It’s fair to say that 2008 was rough for me from the start; I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in January. The year was consumed with treatment (chemo, surgery, and radiation, in that order), my work life and social life arranged around a constant slog of doctors appointments, scans, infusions, and other such joys. 2009 was less dramatically rough but certainly not easy; the lingering medical bills of 2008 and the economic crisis of the new year were not a pretty combination. I focused, that year, on working as much as possible and doing what I could to plant my post-treatment feet back on the ground.

We might have to wait a while for a strong economic recovery—but I’m thrilled to say that I, at least, am recovering and feeling stronger. And beyond the obvious, there’s a tremendous plus attached to that. When the chaos calms, our vitality starts to return in earnest, and the parade of doctors appointments trails off a bit, we realize that we’re not just as powerful as we were before; we’re more so. We took on cancer and cancer treatment; now, really, what *can’t* we do?

“I feel like if I suddenly had to walk a tightrope between two skyscrapers, I could,” said my painter friend Jane, about a year after her treatment was done. She’s sticking to painting rather than running off with Ringling Brothers, but her sentiment is clear. My survivor friend Debbie, who runs a fantastic charity called the Pink Daisy Project (, put it this way: “At first we imagine the worst, but then you realize you can do it—and when you do, you know you can do anything.”

And so it was that with Debbie’s words in my head, I found myself singing Helen Reddy’s over-earnest-but-fun pop anthem “I Am Woman” the other day: “Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained! If I have to, I can do anything! I am strong…” And so are you.

Pamela Grossman is a writer ("The Village Voice,", "Ms., etc.), editor, breast-cancer survivor, and music junkie living in Brooklyn.


  1. Pam, your words, as always, are spot-on true. Cancer is definitely a life-shaping experience, and for many of us, improves and enhances the way we see the world and our role in it. Thanks for pointing out my post-cancer passion, The Pink Daisy Project. Helping others gives my life meaning. Keep on writing, sister! I'll look forward to reading what you have to say next.
    Hugs, Debbie, Founder of The Pink Daisy Project

  2. Pam, I enjoy reading your perspective on the breast cancer experience. Your words about us not being just as powerful as before, but, more so really hit home. I'm better in many ways than before.

    Look forward to reading more of your writings.