Letters from Heal readers
Thank you so much for your interview about childhood cancer survivors with Dr. Anna T. Meadows (Winter 2007). My daughter completed three years of treatment for leukemia at the age of 6. She is 10 now and cancer-free. Your Q&A with Dr. Meadows provided me with some helpful resources to turn to for more information about what my child may face in the future. Thank you for making me feel that there are people (researchers, doctors, etc.) who realize that my child’s need for medical treatment didn’t end with the last dose of chemotherapy.
Christine Dodson | Macon, Georgia
Every year when I return from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, I wonder if the media were actually in the same room when I read their reports, rife with erroneous information, misinterpretations of the science, and misleading headlines. Congratulations to CURE and Heal for timely, accurate and informative coverage of this symposium!
Marjorie Gallece | Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas | Austin, Texas
Thank you for your recent article "The Not-So-Funny Pages” (Winter 2007). Many of our participants turned daily to the comic section in our local paper to follow Lisa’s journey and took comfort in the similarities to their own. One of the strips even included a depiction of The Gathering Place at a time when Lisa sought support. Several weeks ago, the strip’s creator and illustrator, Tom Batiuk, spoke to our participants about the impetus for the story line. The outpouring was so strong that we had to close registration more than a week in advance with standing-room-only quickly filling up.
Thank you again for your attention to this important and creative educational effort and for your recognition of Tom Batiuk.
Kristina Austin | The Gathering Place | Cleveland, Ohio
I was excited to receive the Winter 2007 issue of Heal and eager to send it to a friend battling breast cancer — until I read “The Not-So-Funny Pages.” Why include this comic about the death of a woman following the recurrence of her breast cancer in a magazine that is supposed to be about “living well after cancer”? What purpose does it serve other than to evoke fear?
Mary Davis | New Port Richey, Florida
Tom Batiuk compiled the comic strips depicting Lisa’s cancer experience into a book called Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe. All royalties from the book will go to Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research and Education at the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland. For more information go to www.lisaslegacyfund.org.
OK: What Happened to LOL?? Does it still mean “Laughing Out Loud”? “Days of Wine & Chocolate” (Winter 2007) was supposed to be funny? Kinda made me sad. You must have accidentally thrown away reams of funny stories to end up with that.
Dee Helsem | Carrollton, Texas
Editor’s Note: A number of you sent similar notes, and we’ll try harder next time.
I read the letter from Shelia J. Cohen in San Francisco (“The People No One Writes About,” Letters, Fall 2007). I related to everything she said as I am going through the same ordeal. I am very grateful to my doctor that I am alive and have been in remission for almost four years, but the side effects from the radiation have been numerous. First I got a blood clot, then pneumonia, and then I was diagnosed with radiation pneumonitis. This has done permanent damage to my lungs, which has caused me to be on oxygen almost constantly. I cannot work and I am on Social Security Disability. I was 57 years old when I was diagnosed and started receiving SSD but was not eligible for any other benefits. For the first two years on disability, I had to pay for all my prescriptions, totaling over $600 a month until I was eligible for Medicare Part D. I am unable to pay for all my bills with my SSD check. One month I pay some bills and the next month I pay others. I need electricity for my oxygen and the phone to call 911, which I have done several times. I’m sure there are many more like us out there and we would like to see articles in your magazine about us also.
Judy Roper | Winchester, Virginia
As a woman living with metastatic breast cancer since 2004, I understand Ruthann Evans’ comments (“Chronic Cancer,” Letters, Winter 2007). The 30 percent of patients with primary breast cancer who go on to become metastatic are neither cured nor healed. Nor are they living well after cancer because there is no “after cancer.” We are living with cancer, and we are the ignored population in the cancer community. There is very little out there to support us in learning to live with ongoing cancer treatments and the development of targeted treatments to extend life.
Ellen Moskowitz | Metastatic Breast Cancer Network | New York City
Editor’s Note: As cancer drugs become more effective, many cancer patients live in the limbo you describe. Heal (CURE) will continue to include information for these survivors in coming issues.
I just received your latest Heal and was reading the letter from Barbara Rascati thanking you for the article about pain management (“Treating Pain,” Letters, Winter 2007). I too, am a “post-mastectomy” pain sufferer. Your article was wonderful and gave me such comfort to know I’m not alone. Like the old saying “misery loves company,” I guess I have to admit feeling that way. It’s hard to suffer through something no one else can relate to. Hearing there are others out there who know what you’re going through is just as valuable as any medication you can take for pain. I would love to talk to her and possibly we can get an “On the Net” group together.
Pain is an unwelcome companion. I am now four years out of treatment for breast cancer, and, although medications help me function day to day, pain makes life a little more challenging compared with the average person. But, despite that, I’m here, and I wake up in the morning thankful to be looking at another day. Thanks for your magazines. CURE and Heal have been very informative, as well as supportive.
Trish Harrington | Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Editor’s Note: Besides this letter, Heal received others from women who wanted to talk to Ms. Rascati. We have forwarded them to her, hopeful that others who deal with this syndrome can find a community.
Thank you for making me feel that there are people who realize that my child’s need for medical treatment didn’t end with the last dose of chemotherapy.