Tag Archives: news

Lisa Bonchek Adams and Cancer Wars

A couple weeks ago there was a notable controversy in the world of cancer and social media. A husband and wife, both journalists, wrote two separate articles in popular media that questioned the choice of stage IV breast cancer patient Lisa Bonchek Adams’ decision to tweet through her experience. The articles, published in the Guardian and the New York Times, respectively, weren’t overtly nasty but they did call Adams’ tweets things like “the equivalent of deathbed selfies” and say that it may be more heroic to die quietly than to fight cancer to the death.

The Guardian article, by Emma Keller, has been removed, but here is an editor’s note about it. The husband, Bill Keller’s, article is here.

And a wonderful Time Magazine piece about the whole thing can be found here. I wholly agree with one of this article’s points – that if you don’t want to read Adams’ tweets, you don’t have to.

I don’t have anything wildly intelligent or insightful to add to this conversation, but it’s worth sharing. I find there to be so much cancer-shaming in this world – people telling others that they are somehow doing things wrong or making others feel bad or whatever. Heck, I did it myself in the post about the video of the woman who danced before her mastectomy. I think it’s natural for humans to do this, and though I’m not thrilled about it happening in ultra-public forums such as New York Times, I do realize that this is the age of the Internet when everyone has a wide-open land in which to share their views.

Ultimately, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Remember my new motto – “feelings are never wrong.” But sometimes, especially if those feelings might hurt others, it’s best to keep them to yourself. And even BETTER than that, is to dig deep within yourself and try to accept that everyone is different and everyone deals differently, and not judge others too harshly if they choose a path that is not the same as yours.

Can’t we all just get along?!? In conclusion, here’s a T-rex covered in snow.

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My Feature on Local News

I love how this segment turned out – it is not just my breast cancer story, but also a story of how music can heal. Thanks to Andrea Roane, of 9News, for letting me share my story and for all that she does in the DC community to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Cara Scharf Finds Strength In Music After Breast Cancer Diagnosis: http://www.wusa9.com/health/article/233063/28/Young-Woman-Finds-Strength-In-Music-After-Breast-Cancer-Diagnosis

Article: Triple-Negative Research

Reading: Groundbreaking Research on Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Gets Boost from Komen

While this article has a positive message (hooray, research specifically geared toward triple-negative breast cancer!), it always scares me when the media talks about this subset of breast cancers because of things like this: “Research suggests that triple-negative breast cancers have a higher proportion of cancer stem cells.” It’s so cold-sounding, matter-of-fact. Like if my doctor were to just come out and say, “Cara, you have triple-negative cancer, and that’s bad because those cancers carry a higher incidence of brain mets, grow more aggressively, and tend not to respond to anything other than chemotherapy. So if chemotherapy stops working, you’re SOL.”

Sigh. It angers me that, though I feel so great about everything right now, one silly article can knock me down a few pegs and again bring about these fears of recurrence and death.

Creating new cleavage

Today was my first tissue expansion! It was actually kind of a “yay” moment amidst all my anxiety about starting chemo (Thursday… eek). For those of you who don’t know, during my mastectomy, the plastic surgeon implanted expanders under my chest muscles. Throughout the next couple of months, these will be gradually expanded so that my skin and muscle stretch enough to make room for the real silicone implant, which I’ll have inserted after all my chemo is finished. That’s called the exchange operation – when the temporary tissue expanders are swapped for the real implants.

Because of the revision I had to have a couple weeks ago, my surgeon had to take down the left expander to almost nothing, and I was quite lopsided. But today, she filled the left side with 120 ccs, almost 2/3 of the way to matching the right side!

Yay for being a little less lopsided and a little more womanly. Yay for being so healed from surgery that my surgeon is okay with expanding me. Yay for not even feeling the small pinprick of the saline tube needle, which was inserted into a port on the expander so the saline could be injected in. Yay for not feeling much tightness or soreness at all, at least not yet. Yay for preemptive Tylenol.

And yay for this article, which totally excites the singer in me: Cancer charity gets funding for choirs after proving the pyschosocial benefits

Yoga and Genes

Sometimes I don’t feel like writing about my breast cancer. Today is one of those days, so I’m just going to share two articles I read recently. Sure, they’re from Yahoo, but I think they’re still legit.

Yoga helps breast cancer patients

Genetic test shows promise in guiding breast cancer care

Try getting into that pose after a double mastectomy.