Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Breast Cancer Press Conference

We’re pausing from our usual light-hearted posts today for (as they say on tv) an important public service announcement.

As most of my blog readers know, I was invited to participate in a press conference for breast cancer month at the Monter Center where I go for treatment. Let me correct that—Stretch and I were invited. They wanted me to talk about living with metastatic breast cancer and how Stretch and the blog have helped me to reach out and encourage others with chronic or life-threatening conditions, while at the same time boosting my own morale as I forget about my troubles and lose myself in some fun writing projects.

While the experience of speaking to the press and seeing myself on the local news was exciting, what mattered most to me was the opportunity to get out that message that is so important to me—whatever you face in life, don’t waste your precious time obsessing about possible negative outcomes or what you’ve lost, and try to keep the fears at bay by finding something you love doing, something that lets you forget about all the bad stuff and literally “zone out.” I think of the time I spend writing fun posts with Stretch as if I’m on an episode of the old Twilight Zone show where I enter a new dimension where I’m not a cancer patient anymore. And through Stretch’s antics, my readers and I get to fantasize what it would be like to live as a pampered teddy bear without a care in the world.

The second part of my message is critical. When you’re faced with a scary diagnosis, who you choose to make your partners in dealing with the disease is more critical than your condition. I feel that I’ve been able to transform my life in amazing ways during the past 5 years. (I was first diagnosed in 2009 and went through 9 months of treatments, after which I was cancer free until the new diagnosis of bone metastasis one year ago.) Much of my courage in dealing with my disease, while at the same time reevaluating my life and making some major changes in my views and the goals I want to accomplish, is due to the constant support and loving care of my doctors.

Dr. Karen Kostroff is Chief of Breast Surgery for the North Shore-LIJ Health System on Long Island. You would never imagine the high goals this woman has achieved from her down-to-earth demeanor. Her empathy and compassion for her patients is always foremost; the very first time I met her, she “diagnosed” exactly what type of oncologist I would want and sent me to Dr. Jane Carleton at the Monter Center.

Dr. Carleton is the most incredible doctor on the planet. I could write at least 20 paragraphs on why I love this doctor, but I think that one statement sums it up perfectly. I told her that I was tempted not to mention how wonderful she is because I don’t want the world beating a path to her office so that I can’t get an appointment. Her response? I will always have time for you.

We now return you to our regular blog format as Stretch takes over:
I enjoyed being part of the press conference and I’m sure everyone was honored to have me there. I would like to add one thing, though. I was disappointed there was no “Green Room” with coffee and donuts. The next time I’m invited, you might want to offer me some refreshments, such as the fun October-themed donuts and coffee my assistant has thoughtfully provided for me while I was waiting to type my part of this blog post.


Dr. Bernie Siegel said...

Dr. Carleton is the most incredible doctor on the planet.
What you see in others resides within you. You are incredible my dear.

Cathy Scibelli said...

Dr.Siegel, I am so honored to have you comment on my blog.

And if what you say is true--that what you see in others resides within you, then I guess that makes you incredible, too. :-)

(Actually there are millions who already know how incredible you are.)

#1Nana said...

What a great experience! The wonder of today's technology is that you never know how many people you will reach with your positive message. Keep it up!

marilee said...

That.was a very nice sum up of your experience.I'm so glad you have such great Doctor's. I wish I can find Doctors that great to treat my disease.!!!I love you!!!!

Cathy Scibelli said...

Thank you Nana! I really appreciate your support and encouragement.

And Marilee, I pray every day that you'll find doctors who will treat you with compassion and help you to deal with your disease. You are such a treasure and I love you too!

Jennifer Wolf said...

Such wonderful pics of Stretch and his "entourage"

I am so glad it came out great for you, and Stretch finally had his spotlite too OMG, the EGO grew!, lol. o:)

Cathy Scibelli said...

Thanks Jenn!
And you're right about Stretch's ego--especially when the head of P.R. for the Monter Center saw this post and sent Stretch an e-mail to tell him that next time she'll be sure and provide him with refreshments! He is getting spoiled beyond belief!

Anonymous said...

The love and strength and positive attitude that you and Stretch bring to the world, encourages all of us (especially me) to seek out the positive in all of us. I too am dealing with some difficulties now but I look to you and to Stretch to my guides. His and your #1 fan, Laurie from hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Cathy Scibelli said...

Laurie, you are one of the precious jewels in my crown of friends, I'm so glad we connected. You don't realize how much inspiration you give back to me and Stretch, we love you!

Anonymous said...

You look fantastic (and Stretch strikes a very handsome pose, too). So pleased that all went so well and now a local paper interested in your story, too! I'm sure it will be an inspiration to many.

Cathy Scibelli said...

Thank you Ellie! I really appreciate your encouraging words, and Stretch is now preening in front of his full-length mirror and congratulating himself on his handsome appearance. And you're such a big help to me with special items for Stretch to use in our stories, I couldn't do this blog without talented friends like you.