When I found a suspicious lump in my right breast, what I would have given to read Lisa Adams’ controversial blog and Twitter feed about living with that disease. I was thirty when I first went to a doctor about it, thirty-two when the diagnosis finally came — in disbelief, angry at myself for not having insisted on a mammogram when I sensed the lump had grown, worried about my father’s heart and my mother’s nerves, wondering if I would ever have children, and if my career, perhaps my life, was over. And those thoughts were only the ones I had immediately subsequent to the diagnosis.
My college students cried when they learned. I cheered them up. My humor that first year was off the charts — part of coping. Colleagues at the University of Connecticut refused to let me drive myself to treatment. Knowing I’d go alone, they showed up early at my home each morning to drive an hour, sit unsettled with me and other cancer patients, keep me company, and drive me back home.
I was interviewed frequently that year about research I’d conducted that was receiving a lot of national and international press coverage. I either didn’t mention cancer or asked, if they knew about it, that they not mention it in the articles. That was my choice at the time for a variety of reasons that aren’t relevant now.
Lisa Adams’ struggle is in a different time and she is her own person. Breast cancer is more commonly discussed now. There are many support groups and medical advice is widely available. Still, it’s a scary thing. From the number of followers she has, it’s evident that patients and their families and friends want the kind of information she provides. Her postings of photos are lovely and inspiring. She shares news of cancer treatments and blogs about topics important to people coping with cancer.
I wish her the best and hope that the conversation generated by criticism of her blog and tweets will be considered a small moment among many ones of support, gratitude and love.