beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

  • Contact BIDMC
  • Maps & Directions
  • Other Locations
  • Careers at BIDMC
  • Smaller Larger

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

Smaller Larger

Needing Celebrations

Posted 8/2/2016

Posted in

  We all know how much it helps to look forward to special moments or events. Many of us have gotten ourselves through painful procedures and difficult days with the anticipation of something lovely on the calendar. I often talk with women about the importance of having goals: being here for your child's graduation or a major birthday or a planned family vacation.

  When I was initially diagnosed with cancer in 1993, I had both short and very long term goals. The short term one was to stay alive as long as possible as I was the single mother of an 11 year old. The long term goal was to live long enough to see both her and her older sister established in life. That didn't feel very likely at the time, so I had medium range goals, too: graduations and birthdays.

  When my second breast cancer was diagnosed in 2005, my older daughter was mostly launched. By then, she had a couple of graduate degrees and was married. My younger daughter, however, was a college graduate, but still very much making her way. My goal was to see her married. I know, I know; that is not the ideal goal for a feminist mother, but I really needed to believe that there would be someone else in this world who would love and protect her when I was gone. I expanded the vision to include specifics of the wedding: not the dress or the venue or the music, not even the groom. What I thought about was walking her down the aisle, and how it would feel to both of us. On my desk, right in front of me, I have a picture of that moment. And the reality was even more wonderful than my imaginings.

  When I talk with women about the value of holding tightly to these goals, I suggest that they fill in all the details. Don't just think: "I want to be at her college graduation." Think about the weather that day and what you will wear and what the crowded scene will feel like. And then, someday, keep a picture of it right of you.

  From Heather Millar in WebMD:

Every Cancer Patient Needs a Prom

When you have cancer, life isn’t normal. But sometimes, it’s healing to pretend.
Take the case of Jared Springer. A senior at Arroyo Grande High School in California, planning for the
prom was one of the things that had been getting him through rehab.
Springer collapsed in school in 2014 and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After 20 days in a coma, 5
months in the ICU, two surgeries, and a year-long chemo regimen, Jared left the hospital in a wheelchair.
A massive brain hemorrhage had left him unable to walk.
Still, Jared was able to go back to school for his senior year, with the help of an independent study
program, a school aide, and supportive teachers.
Then last month, Jared fell from his wheelchair and broke his hip. Surgery and physical therapy followed,
causing Jared to miss three weeks of school.
Days after they picked up Jared’s prom tickets, his parents were shocked to get a phone call from the
school. Jared would not be able to attend the prom, an administrator told them, because he’d missed too
much school. He wasn’t attending school, so he couldn’t go to school functions. They weren’t sure the
venue could accommodate his wheelchair. No, his Dad could not accompany him to smooth the way
because he had not had a background check or tuberculosis test.
I’d bet that this is a case of someone upholding the letter of the rules, but not the spirit. Clearly, schools
want to devise consequences for kids who cut school. And clearly, you shouldn’t let just anyone chaperone
a kid. But wow, what a dumb thing to do.

Read more:

By Heather Millar


Add your comment