I CONTINUE TO BE IMPRESSED and heartened by the grace and resilience of individuals who have survived cancer, and perhaps no one exemplifies this better than Wendy Harpham, the subject of our Heal cover profile this month.
I CONTINUE TO BE IMPRESSED and heartened by the grace and resilience of individuals who have survived cancer, and perhaps no one exemplifies this better than Wendy Harpham, the subject of our Heal cover profile this month. Harpham, a doctor herself, was a young mother of three when she was first diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma. In the 25 years since, she has had multiple recurrences, but thankfully has been in remission since 2007.
When she began her initial cancer treatments in 1990, Harpham was troubled by the then dearth of good, practical information for patients and survivors. She resolved to change that and began to share her insights on joy, pain, grief and parenting — to name only a few — through speeches, books, blogs and her website. This outreach touches not only survivors, but also her physician peers to help them better understand their oncology patients’ needs and worries. It’s a role she has aptly described as, “Dr. Harpham learning from patient Wendy.”
A member of our CURE and Heal magazine advisory board, Harpham draws strength from this work, as she lives the best life she can every day by prioritizing how she will spend her energy. She reassures survivors that it’s okay to acknowledge that, due to the late effects of treatment, some ability to function may change, but healthy survivorship means finding how to make life the best it can be, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I’m sure that Harpham would wholeheartedly agree that survivors should not feel that they have to sacrifice their sexual health to a diagnosis of cancer. In this issue of Heal, we also talk with Michael Krychman, a world-renowned sexual medicine gynecologist and expert in survivorship medicine, who stresses that although the majority of people diagnosed with cancer have issues with sexual intimacy at some point, they should not hesitate to break the “conspiracy of silence” and share their concerns with their health care providers. There are solutions.
We hope you will find inspiration in the first-person stories and expert insights featured in this issue of Heal, and please do not hesitate to reach out with your ideas and suggestions. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and also learn more about how you can share your cancer story through words or artwork.
And, as always, thank you for reading,
Mike Hennessy, SrChairman and CEO