Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jody Schoger, #BCSM, and loss

I started this blog when I was diagnosed in 2009.

I had grand visions.

I wanted to use my journalism skills to create something new and vibrant for people with breast cancer.

It's ok that is never happened.

I went back to work a year later, and social media became a bigger and bigger part of my job. I lost the desire to be online in my off time.

Back in the day Jody Schoger also wanted to create something.

She did it.

A simple hashtag, #BCSM marked a path for how patients would use social media connect.

More than that it allowed us to interact with medical professionals like Dr. Deanna Attai and others. For the first time doctors were "us" not "them".

People with other diseases followed suit with similar hashtags.

Over the past few years our contact was quite infrequent, but I was glad to see her fufulling her vision.

I have never trusted the whole "you are in the clear after 5 years thing." The slower breast cancers can stalk you for years. I believe Jody was 15 years out at the time of her progression.

I have not posted on this blog in several years, but I had to do more than just write a tweet for @JodyMS.

Here is a beautiful post by @stales.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Bridget Jones with Breast Cancer"

Buy the bookTwo years ago I wrote my original review of "The C Word" Lisa Lynch's memoir of early-stage breast cancer. It was a treat of a book with a cupcake on the front. I really enjoyed Lisa's irreverent, Chick-Brit-Lit style of writing.

I continued to follow her cheeky blog. Lisa's cancer became "secondary" moving to bones and brains, and coping with it became the center of her life.

Last year her blog and twitter feed went silent. Last week we got the news Lisa had passed.

Lisa was a pro, she would have been a literary success without cancer, and it was a treat reading her.

There is still a BBC tv movie adaptation on the way, I am so sorry she didn't live to see it.

Someone's been blogging in my house

In the year following by breast cancer diagnosis this site was a big priority for me. I was an out of work journalist, I really believed that there was a place for a digital hub for breast cancer news, writing, and social connections.

There probably still is.

But as my health improved there were chances to go back to my career as a local news anchor and reporter. I also started my own business that has nothing to do with cancer.

Someday the tools to create the perfect website for breast cancer will be affordable. When Deb and I took meetings the cost was daunting to do what we wanted.

At somepoint I switched to a snappier domain,

Today I realized that March 8th someone else bought up that domain. They started their own site, which has plenty of videos. Whatever.

Honestly stealing a web domain from a cancer patient is kind of cruddy karma.

To be honest I am annoyed but not crushed. I kind of saw my will to consistently write about BC slip away.

In November, I attended the Breast Cancer Research Foundations excellent symposium, and the next day I got so busy with work I never had time to write a post. I still have the press releases in my bag.

So I'll still check in here from time to time, I will still tweet and retweet on Twitter where I seem to have a larger audience.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Magic Hour

 A remarkable video about a woman with stage 4 cancer and her dream trip to Paris.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Take 10 :Tamoxifen for a decade?

For younger women with ER+ breast cancer, five years has been a magic mark. After five years you are done with Tamoxifen, you can go have that baby, or just not take a pill. Now a new study shows a substantial benefit to 10 years.

Good news/bad news? Both?

More from the AP via the Washington Post

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Beauty of Research: The Pink Jalk Project

Way back in the early 90's I worked at the Clinique counter at Macy's Herald Square. We were considered something of a "showcase" counter and we would get visits from company executives from time to time.

One day a woman walked up to me and said,"Hi I'm Evelyn Lauder, tell me about what you are doing."

Lauder, of course, was at the top of the corporate ladder, Clinique being a subsidiary of Estee Lauder. I can't remember the specifics of our conversation, but the way she interacted with me left a lasting impression.

People who are truly great treat everyone's contribution with respect.

It sounds like a cliche, but it was a lesson that I carried with me through my time at Clinique and into my career in television.

Little did I know, that our lives would intersect decades later.

I would become a breast cancer patient at a facility that was named for Lauder, who also was the key patron of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I was at a talk at the 92nd Street Y a few weeks ago when Dr. Larry Norton talked about Lauder's relationship with the BCRF.

He said she appreciated the beauty of cancer research, meaning she could see a value beyond the medical. She could appreciate its creativity and elegance.

That creativity and elegance can also be seen at a unique fundraiser for the BCRF.

For the past three years SUITE New York has held a design challenge to raise funds for BCRF. Each year designers are asked to re-imagine a classic modernist chair.

This year's event is called the Pink Jalk Project.

The Jalk is featured in MOMA and was designed by a woman. Maria Sepulveda and Kris Fuchs' showroom features a wide variety of Jalks ranging from the blinged-out to fancifuly simple.

All are being auctioned online right now at

So what does all this mean to a patient like me?

It would be easy to sum up the project as a colorful effort to raise money for a good cause, but after seeing the chairs and meeting many of the designers at a reception last week, the project impressed me as something more profound.

Just like cancer researchers, designers use their imagination to create something new. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is an interesting failure. But it's gratifying to see these talented innovators using their skills to help save the lives of women like me.

One of the most show stopping efforts is by David Rockwell. His chair keeps the simplicity of the original's exterior, but has an underneath lined with a riot of pink crystals. Something about the pairing reminded me of the spirit of the women fighting this disease.

Darrell Carter transformed the Jalk from furniture to sculpture. His work actually made me think of the many survivors and bloggers who want to remind the world that there is nothing easy, pink, or twinkly about cancer.

Stephanie Gotto told me she finished her chair in silver to reflect back at the world, and lined in pink leather to reflect the curves of a woman's body.

These chairs and many more can be bought through the online auction which runs through the end of October.

80% percent of the proceeds of each chair go to the BCRF. There is something for every taste, and you will have a conversation piece that helped save lives.

I also want to thank Kris Fuchs for inviting me to the reception last week. She extended her hospitality to a random chick with breast cancer who contacted her on Facebook.

It was the sort of gracious gesture that reminded me of my encounter with Evelyn.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pink you can believe in

Call it Pinktober, call it Breast Cancer Action Month, or call it "Wake me when it's over," it is October 1st and I would be one crummy BC blogger if I didn't post something.

The funny thing is I find myself more filled with contentment than dread. Sure I have seen some icky stuff benefitting bogus charities, but then I saw this.

Bestill my heart, fresh lettuce benefitting my charity of choice, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation!!!

OK, someone out there might complain it's not organic, but we have come a long way from the pink pimp cup I saw at the store, or pink guns, or what ever the worst possible product you can think of is!

I am also in a really good mood, because the community where I worked as a news anchor until well, today, had a really successful Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. The area was hit hard by a flood three weeks before last year's event, raising money here is tough, so I guess this October 1st, I am seeing the world through rose-colored glasses!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pickler's Buzz Cut

Summer Holt Miller (on left) and Kellie Pickler (on right) Summer Holt Miller (on left) and Kellie Pickler (on right). 

Courtesy: Russ HarringtonCourtesy: Russ Harrington
So former American Idol contestant and sassy broad Kelli Pickler shaved her head to support a friend with breast cancer.

The gesture is lovely, but I always wonder, if women really want these gestures.

I think if it were me, I might not want to be reminded of cancer every time I look at my friend.

But to each her own.

Both ladies do still look really pretty.

Your thoughts?

Photo from NY Daily News