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September 15, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Children's author Judy Blume writes about her struggle with breast cancer: "As I've told my friends who've also been treated for breast cancer, I've joined The Club - not one I wanted to join or even thought I would ever be joining - but here I am."
posted by Fizz (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
My mom joined that club this year. Her diagnosis sounds pretty close to Blume's, and she's only a year younger. That said, I wonder what reasons her doctors had to recommend against radiation. My mom had the lumpectomy and is just now finishing the radiation, and will be taking that daily pill thing Blume mentioned she was considering in her blog.


That having been said, I appreciate her consideration in the way she expressed that YMMV on treatment decisions.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:24 AM on September 15, 2012


(PS mom is considered cancer free and has a great prognosis.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:24 AM on September 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


I grew up reading Judy Blume. I adored her.

I had no idea she uses social media. The last time I read anything about her, it was that her grandson was arrested for raping a 17 year old girl on Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket.

No doubt the past few years have been difficult for the Blume family. I do still love the way she writes.
posted by discopolo at 9:31 AM on September 15, 2012


When I was in second or third grade, I innocently asked my parents what a wet dream was after reading "Then Again, Maybe I Won't". My mother, being conservative as all hell, took the book away from me and drove us to the library, where she loudly scolded the poor librarian for carrying a book with such subject matter in the 'children's' section - even though I'd likely gotten it from the YA shelves. I'd never been more embarrassed in my life, not to mention frustrated as I STILL didn't know what a wet dream was. My parents never did explain it to me, though I do think I've finally figured it out. It was a terribly revealing incident, showing that Mom & Dad had a set of ideas that were outdated and, in a lot of other ways, ignorant, despite the fact that they were really intelligent people.

That episode was one of the first of many that taught me that my parents weren't always right, and in fact my beliefs differed from theirs dramatically. I owe Judy Blume a thank you for that. She'll always be the reason I began questioning authority and going with what I thought right.

Thank you, Judy.
posted by item at 9:35 AM on September 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Oh, no. Stupid cancer. Judy Blume was a big part of my childhood, from Superfudge to Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret and her other early teen "issue" books. Wishing her all the best.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:25 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Welcome to Cancerland
by Barbara Ehrenreich

"No, this is not my sisterhood. For me at least, breast cancer will never be a source of identity or pride. As my dying correspondent Gerri wrote: "IT IS NOT O.K.!" What it is, along with cancer generally or any slow and painful way of dying, is an abomination, and, to the extent that it's manmade, also a crime. This is the one great truth that I bring out of the breast-cancer experience, which did not, I can now report, make me prettier or stronger, more feminine or spiritual -- only more deeply angry. What sustained me through the "treatments" is a purifying rage, a resolve, framed in the sleepless nights of chemotherapy, to see the last polluter, along with, say, the last smug health insurance operative, strangled with the last pink ribbon. Cancer or no cancer, I will not live that long of course. But I know this much right now for sure: I will not go into that last good night with a teddy bear tucked under my arm."
posted by Blasdelb at 10:32 AM on September 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


In related news:

Actress Kathy Bates tweets news of her breast cancer diagnosis, treatment
posted by fairmettle at 11:06 AM on September 15, 2012


Blasdelb, bravo a thousand times.
posted by spitbull at 12:13 PM on September 15, 2012


(Oh yeah. Heaven help the poor fool that tries to give my mother a pink ribbonned anything. Heh.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:21 PM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, I hadn't heard about either Blume or Bates. Good luck to them.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:34 PM on September 15, 2012


Oh dear. I was surprised that she felt she needed to mention that she hadn't eaten red meat in 30 years but she'd had an estrogen patch for 17.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:02 PM on September 15, 2012


Ideefixe, if her experience has been anything like my BFF's, she is constantly getting quizzed by people eager to point out what she "did wrong" to "cause" her cancer.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:00 PM on September 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Very sad altogether, I have too many friends getting this diagnosis now. Having read Barbara Ehrenreich's book where she talks about her breast cancer, she does blame at least in part the estrogen replacement therapy that was enthusiastically pitched to her by her doctor as she entered menopause, as well as environmental pollution that is doing who knows what to all of us. So I too was surprised to read about Ms. Blume lamenting the loss of her estrogen patch. This is something the medical profession and the drug companies got wrong and should take some blame for promoting to so many women. Not that individual cancer patients should be made to feel that something they did caused it, but when something like widespread estrogen replacement is found to be a cause, someone has to answer for it.

As to all the pink, my friends with breast cancer share Barbara Ehrenreich's distaste for the whole cutesy girly thing. What I have learned from my friends is that when someone gets this bad news, don't ask a lot of questions, they will share with you what they want to. Don't offer unsolicited advice on how they should live now, what they should or should not eat, miracle cures or horror stories of someone else's chemo nightmare. What you should do is listen, be there, support, let them cry or rage, be scared or or be stoic, don't tell them how brave they are or how good thoughts will beat it. Offer to cook dinner when they are feeling ill, take them out to a funny movie, and love them. And don't give them anything pink unless that was already their favorite color.
posted by mermayd at 3:13 PM on September 15, 2012 [3 favorites]



As to all the pink, my friends with breast cancer share Barbara Ehrenreich's distaste for the whole cutesy girly thing. What I have learned from my friends is that when someone gets this bad news, don't ask a lot of questions, they will share with you what they want to. Don't offer unsolicited advice on how they should live now, what they should or should not eat, miracle cures or horror stories of someone else's chemo nightmare. What you should do is listen, be there, support, let them cry or rage, be scared or or be stoic, don't tell them how brave they are or how good thoughts will beat it. Offer to cook dinner when they are feeling ill, take them out to a funny movie, and love them. And don't give them anything pink unless that was already their favorite color.




What mermayd said. That is exactly how mom felt.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:17 PM on September 15, 2012


Note to disappointed fans in San Francisco: I’m sorry I couldn't stay after the screening to sign your books. Now you know why. I wasn't supposed to be in crowds. Could not take the chance of catching a bug before surgery. On the plane I wore a surgical mask (and scrubbed our seats, tray tables, etc, like a lunatic while George pretended to be asleep) but I couldn't do that with you without explaining, and the time wasn't right for explaining. I’ll come back to your beautiful city and sign books for you another time.

Oh, what a classy lady! I can't believe she is 74! Now I feel old. But come to think of it, her books were easily 15 years old when I read them; they only felt like my own wonderful discovery of the moment. Nice essay. I, too, had no idea she was on the internet.
posted by bluefly at 6:47 AM on September 16, 2012


Item! I asked my Nana the same question in the back of the car during a trip through the Canadian Rockies, and my parents snapped into instant distraction mode with "HEY LOOK A MOUNTAIN GOAT A BIGHORN SHEEP A GRIZZLY BEAR A CHUPACABRA PAY NO MIND TO THE SMALL GIRL IN THE BACK SEAT".

Also, Deenie must have had a much softer washcloth than mine.

Ms. Blume contributed a great deal to my understanding of adolescence and didn't ever seem to flinch from a controversial topic - she really changed my world for the better. Best wishes to her, and a hearty "Fuck cancer", too.
posted by gingerest at 7:37 PM on September 16, 2012


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