A bump in the road



This is a continuation of my walk down cancer’s memory lane. Ten years ago today, I was sitting in a meeting to plan another meeting when my phone vibrated with a call from my breast surgeon’s office.

An observation: trying to follow the discussion in a work meeting when your phone holds an unopened voicemail from your surgeon is a great focusing exercise that I pretty much failed.

I’m not sure where I listened to the message – did I duck into the bathroom? a stairwell? I very much doubt I waited until I was back in my office – and I don’t remember the exact words, only the gist.

MRI results. Suspicious. More tests.  Continue reading


Ten years out

B5F3050A-E52C-4F14-973B-9530ABCE1C9CI’m back.

Having allowed this blog to lie fallow for an embarrassingly long time, I was struggling with bloggers’ block; each day that passed simultaneously raised the stakes and worsened my paralysis. Surely I owed readers an explanation, or at least an especially insightful post. Something, you know, about the passage of time, good-bye-and-good-riddance-2017/you’d-better-be-better-2018 – why else had I staged that photo with a glittery “Happy New Year” tiara in a pile of dirty snow? – but it couldn’t be lame and trite, it called for a light touch and wry humor and blah blah blah.

And so a week went by. And another. And another.

Then, on January 15, an extremely kind and thoughtful reader sent me an email message congratulating me on my 10-year “cancerversary.” She had read my 2015 post on the topic of cancer anniversaries, and remembered both the date and that this marked a decade for me.

I had forgotten.  Continue reading

Health care update: let’s kill this bill, drive a stake through its heart, encase it in cement and bury it at the bottom of the ocean

(Just in case there was any doubt where I stand.)

The bill that the Congressional Budget Office has already estimated would uninsure 24 million Americans over the next ten years got even worse today, when the Fake President agreed to allow insurance companies to sell fake insurance.

This was one of the key demands of the House “Freedom Caucus,” for whom uninsuring 24 million Americans in order to give a tax break to individuals earning more than $200,000 a year is not enough. They also want to give insurance companies the freedom to sell insurance that covers, basically, nothing. This morning, ace negotiator Donald Trump acceded to that demand.

For cancer survivors like me – and for anyone else with significant medical needs, or a significant likelihood of developing significant medical needs – this is a disaster.

Eliminating the requirement that all insurance policies cover essential health benefits would allow insurance companies to drop such frivolous benefits as maternity care or chemotherapy. The stated rationale: individuals shouldn’t be forced to pay for coverage they don’t want.

Let’s pause here for a second to let that sink in.

(Pause.) Continue reading


Breast cancer, the Affordable Care Act, my friend and me (and why you should care)

In one of life’s little ironies, this National Day of Action to preserve Americans’ access to health care coincides with the ninth anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.

January 15, 2008 was a Tuesday, and I was sitting in my office when my secretary put through the call from my doctor. I can’t remember what I was doing at the time, what I did afterwards, or much else, really. Quite a bit has faded over the past almost-a-decade, even in the two years since I wrote this 2015 post.

The important thing was that I was sitting in my office. Which is to say: I had a job, and it was the kind of job that comes with an office, someone to take calls for you, and health insurance.

So as I went through treatment – which involved too many scans and biopsies to remember, surgery, a fairly grueling course of chemotherapy and eight years of anti-hormonal drugs – I was cocooned in a security blanket of comprehensive coverage. Continue reading


Race report – Scotland Run 10K (2016 edition)

post-Scotland Run

Don’t look for me in this photo – I’m not there (for reasons that will be explained). Photo credit: Christine Goh

Half the fun of New York Road Runners races is getting there, so it’s only right that this (tardy) report should begin with an early-morning train story.

Weekend construction-related service changes are the bane of racers, but for once, they broke in my favor. Not only did an F train come right away – it was skipping 14th and 23rd streets, turning its usual pokey course through Manhattan into something approaching express service.


I used to be a morning person.

I settled into a mostly-empty car and closed my eyes. At Jay Street, a mother, father and adult daughter, all laden with suitcases, boarded. They headed toward the empty bench I was on, then stopped. Continue reading


“No Bra Day” – huh?

I just learned that October 13 is “No Bra Day.” Back in 2008, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I might have missed this – Facebook was for kids then, not middle-aged women, and Twitter . . . what the hell was this Twitter thing?

But today, not only is “No Bra Day” a “trending topic” – I actually kind of know what a “trending topic” is. And so, judging by the angry reactions I’m seeing, do many of my breast cancer sisters.

The weird thing about “No Bra Day” is that no one seems to actually be behind it. Continue reading


Chasing Boston (part 1: why)

Screenshot (18)Once upon a time, I didn’t care about running the Boston Marathon.

I had my reasons. There was my New York chauvinism (even back then, when I lived in Detroit): the New York City Marathon is just a better race, I declared, before I’d run either one. There was my desire to seem quirky and iconoclastic, gleefully puncturing the assumption that I had run, or at least aspired to run, Boston (“Boston? Nah, for some reason I’ve never been interested. What I really want to run is the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, Ontario. Did you know that race is actually older than Boston?”). There was my aversion to training hard through the Michigan winter. And, I’m ashamed to admit, there was snobbery. Weren’t those vaunted Boston qualifying standards a little, well, soft?

In my not-so-youthful arrogance, with two Boston-qualifying races to my name, I figured that if I ever changed my mind, I could always shuffle my way to another BQ. The standards just get easier with age, after all, and I had plenty of time.

Then came my cancer year. Continue reading