Archives For Warrior


Books in the ‘young adult’ genre are very hot right now. Who hasn’t heard of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? In this science-fiction series, set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, the teenage heroine, selected by lottery, must compete for her life against the other young contestants–to the death. In addition to fighting for her life through the trilogy, she must overcome the obstacle of saving the lives of her romantic loves.

In the Twilight series, the vampire-themed fantasy-romance books by Stephanie Meyers, the teenage heroine falls in love with an adolescent looking 104 year-old ‘good’ vampire. Throughout the series, her life is imperiled by vicious vampires, and shape-shifting wolves. She battles depression as her life force ebbs and flows.

Both series are bestsellers that depict teenage life and the (fantasized or science fictionalized) specter of death. They speak the universal language of adolescence: longing for connection, choice of partner, fear of commitment, forbidden passion – a formula for success.

We have upped the ante in the young adult genre to enter the real world specter of death, Cancer. Continue Reading…



As communication has evolved to include blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, we now have this new term called ‘selfies’. A selfie is defined as someone who takes and posts pictures of oneself on the Internet. But the term or label has now somehow expanded to those who share anything personal.

Humans, being social creatures, have a need to connect, even when society in the larger context doesn’t want to. Unfortunately, once again, I am appalled by the non-supportive view of cancer in the press. On Sunday 1/12/2014, The New York Times – The Opinion Pages, posted a piece by Op-Ed Columnist Bill Keller (former executive-editor) entitled ‘Heroic Measures’. Continue Reading…


I was prompted to write this post after a friend shared a blog post on Facebook.

In his post the author and blogger Kevin Lankes writes “Cancer is not a fight.  It’s an illness.” Further on he says “And so there are those who have the propensity to create a mythology to cover up the realities of the disease, in order to apply an idealized version of it to mesh with our moral code or cultural viewpoints.”

He also tackles the concepts of courage and heroes and concludes that these terms should not apply to having cancer. He concludes his piece with “If you think someone is a hero for surviving cancer, or courageous, or inspiring, then you’re part of the problem. You’re doing it wrong. Anyone can survive cancer.  And anyone can die from it.  You want to sell your book, or promote your movie with a heavy sugar coating of mythology wrapped around the serious, ugly core of a terrible disease; that’s fine.  Leave me out of it.”

Like me he believes everyone is a hero, with or without cancer. As someone who has been living (fortunately) with cancer for 20 years and after I just finished writing a book, I was really struck by his viewpoint. I interpreted from his message that cancer just ‘is’ and having it doesn’t attribute any qualities on the person with cancer. So I decided to question the history and notion of why we use the War Metaphor.

The War on Cancer as a Metaphor on Two Fronts Continue Reading…

survivor not just


I was diagnosed with my first cancer in 1993. At that time the term ‘cancer survivor’ was in its youth. Prior to that, I was widowed in my mid-twenties. I remember that in the newspaper, my husband’s obituary stated, “…he is survived by his parents, his wife and daughter.” Somehow I got lost in the wording there as well. But I was a survivor before I was a survivor, if you know what I mean.

What is a Survivor?

According to the term survivor is defined:

sur·vi·vor [ser-vahy-ver]


1. a person or thing that survives.

2. Law. the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.

3. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. 

The origin of the word from the Etymology online dictionary:

c.1500, in the legal sense of “one who outlives another,” agent noun from survive. Meaning “one who has a knack for pulling through adversity” is attested from 1971. Survivor syndrome is first recorded 1968.


My favorite is from the ‘Urban Dictionary’ where survivor is defined as:

The greatest TV Show… since… well… ever. I play Survivor online… does that make me a loser?


The History of the term Cancer Survivor

In 1985, The New England Journal of Medicine published Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan’s poignant account of his own diagnosis and treatment for cancer. In that article, Dr. Mullan defined three primary seasons of cancer survivorship, which he termed “acute survivorship,” “extended survivorship,” and “permanent survivorship” Continue Reading…