A Week in Review…Let’s Discuss…

This week Angelina Jolie came out with her big news about having a radical mastectomy as a preventative for breast cancer. The knowledge that she has as a carrier of the BRCA gene and her mother’s history of ovarian cancer, puts her in a higher risk category of getting breast cancer. So she took the information she had and made a personal choice to have this procedure. There has been much media coverage on this, and I have more emails in my inbox from every medical journal and newsletter to which I subscribe with articles expressing opinions on her choice both to have the procedure(s) done as well as coming out publicly to discuss it. The press cycle has died down mostly, but let’s discuss…

I had lunch with a friend this week, and I asked what she thought about Angelina’s big news. Her response, in my opinion, was right on. She said “It has people talking, which raises awareness, which is good”. I couldn’t agree more. Because if we think about it, at one time, not too long ago, breast cancer was a “rare woman’s disease”. Until people like the one’s featured in a USA Today Photo Gallery this week, as well as Nancy Brinker, sister of Susan Komen and founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and now a very public Angelina Jolie, talked about it, people didn’t discuss this “rare women’s disease”. Now it’s all we are talking about…this week.

If I put this into sarcoma terms, I think about the similarities of the situation. No one really talks about this rare disease unless you know about it personally. And if you are reading this blog post, you do know about sarcoma personally. You know Ed. You know me. And maybe you even knew Sadie. And we know sarcoma. So let’s start talking about it. It’s very easy and here’s how. In the event you are talking about Ed, myself, my kids or any Blackburn and the question about how Ed died comes up (and it will), the response can’t be “he had a rare cancer”. Talk about “it” and the “it” is sarcoma. Please don’t describe it as just another cancer because we, as a people, have become so desensitized to the evil that cancer is, we blow right past it. Who doesn’t know someone that has been impacted by cancer of some kind these days? But sarcoma, that is different. It is rare. It is unknown, but we can change that. I will change that, but I need your help, and it’s as easy as what I mention above. You’ve all asked how you can help, and here’s how. When talking about Ed’s SARCOMA type of cancer, please use the word SARCOMA. Not just cancer, not just rare cancer, but SARCOMA. And then the words “rare cancer” can follow. As can that he had one of 50 different sub-types of sarcoma called Synovial Sarcoma. And if you want a more detailed “elevator pitch” that gives more statistics about sarcoma, I can provide that, or just visit our Facebook page at Team Blackburn – Fighting Against Sarcoma. In the meantime, I’ll put my useless knowledge of pop culture out there with some other very public, yet “quiet” examples of sarcoma that I am guessing most of us have heard of, but have not even realized to discuss:

• Sarcoma seems to get glamorized in Hollywood in such movies as Flight (the scene in the “smoking stairwell”), 50/50 (a true story based in Seattle), and Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice (the mom of Cooper’s son). These are only the ones that I have seen and/or noticed, but there could be others. It is this because sarcoma is such a rare diseases that no one will remember it anyway? Let’s discuss…
• I just went to http://www.people.com to bring up a story that I had read about not too long ago regarding a high school girl, Katelyn Norman, who had osteosarcoma aka bone cancer, and had one wish to be able to attend her senior prom. Her high school brought prom to her, at her hospital bedside where should could fulfill one of her “bucket list” items. The next day she passed away. Let’s discuss…
• On March 5, 2013, Hugo Chavez passed away from cancer, and the media coverage focused on who he was as a leader, and not the cancer he died from. The type of cancer had not been mentioned in any coverage I had seen and I found it odd. Usually, the cancer that is the culprit gets full attribution on news coverage, giving a shining spotlight that it so much wants. I became curious as to what kind of cancer Hugo Chavez caused his death. So I did a quick Bing search to see what I could find and to my surprise, the cancer plaguing Hugo Chavez had never been revealed. For whatever reason, he, his family and his spokespeople kept this a huge secret. I cannot imagine why, however, that is everyone’s individual right. Not everyone is like me and wants to scream from the rooftops to let everyone know and raise awareness for the greater good. Reading as much as I could in the news coverage, things sounded eerily familiar; pelvic tumor, chemo, radiation, surgery – the general story that one hears of most cancers, until I added a few other things; unexpected bleeding episodes, cancer returning to the surgical site, spread to the lungs, and finally, his last hours were spent in acute respiratory distress, all in the timeframe of two years. Now I am not a doctor, but I am confident in one thing. I am an expert on sarcoma and guess what – this has all the likings of it. And further reading of news articles that got past the political implications of Hugo Chavez and delved into his health and cancer had doctors speculating just as I have. His cancer shows signs of both prostate and colon; however, there are enough idiosyncrasies of both that also have medical experts pointing to the potential of his cancer being sarcoma. Again, I am no doctor, but to a degree and expert, and I am telling you, in my opinion, this is what he had. Let’s discuss…

And that’s the week in review…let’s discuss…

Leave a Reply

  • Grow Where You Are Planted….
    …is something I heard for the first time about two weeks ago. I was at Trader Joe’s picking up some groceries. As the woman in the checkout line in front of me was finishing her purchases, she was picking up her bags and looked at the young, male cashier and said “Grow where you are […]
    Traceyb
  • What do you do for fun???
    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last night and was asked “what are you doing for fun”? And I had to really think about that one as I’m doing a lot of “stuff” but I’m not sure how much fun any of these things are. But the overall question got me […]
    Traceyb
  • A Reason, a Season and a Lifetime
    There is a saying that was shared with me about a year ago where someone told me that “people come into your lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. It was interesting to me as I had never heard this before, and it was something I needed to hear in that moment. I […]
    Traceyb
  • Sliding Doors
    There’s a movie made in the 1990s called “Sliding Doors”. It stars Gwyneth Paltrow and I think it was done before she was a big Oscar winner. In any event, the story is about a woman who has a moment in life that has the potential to change everything. She simply misses her train. The […]
    Traceyb
  • What’s Next???
    This time last Saturday, I posted an update to Facebook letting friends know that I had officially resigned my position from Microsoft. Resign isn’t actually the right word. I had been on a personal leave of absence (LOA) first to care for Ed, and then of course to care for myself and my family after […]
    Traceyb
TEAM BLACKBURN
Purchase a TEAM BLACKBURN "Cancer Sucks" wristband and support the Sarcoma Foundation of Amercia!

Help us fund a cure for Sarcoma.
Choose Quantity
Archives