I remember a long ago episode of “Law and Order” when Anita van Buren (played by S. Epatha Merkerson) said of breast cancer, “There are two kinds of women, those who have survived and those who have not been diagnosed yet.” Funny, I can’t remember anything about that episode, but I remember that line of dialogue so distinctly, even after all these years.  Every woman over the age of 40 knows the anxiety that accompanies the annual mammogram — not because we are adverse to having our boobs crushed between two freezing pieces of plastic, we are adverse to what may indeed prove to be our own battle call, our own quest to vanquish this insidious demon that grows in our breasts and if not defeated, takes our lives.

I’ve seen my fair share of cancer. Women that I know well and hold dear have battled this disease with warrior fierceness; most survived, a few succumbed. This is an emotional topic for me, so I’m not going to serve some profound words of wisdom about inner strength. Instead I’m going to provide a link to Deborah Doucette’s “Huffington Post” article, with her permission, after which I will light a candle in remembrance of those who lost the battle with the big C, and sing with joy for those who survived.




  1. Thanks for the link. As a medical transcriptionist a huge portion of my work is oncology. I type everything from the history and physicals of people diagnosed with cancer (breast and prostate cancer are predominant) to the summaries of treatment. It is scary, depressing, and enlightening. What strikes me the most is how often the doctors comment that patients “tolerated treatment well” and are “in good spirits.” I spend a lot of time praying for people I don’t know and will never meet. They don’t know they are being prayed for by a stranger; nor do they know that a stranger is inspired by their stories. And they do, all of them, have a story, a life, a past and, God willing, a future that will be ultimately cancer free. There are those who do not survive. I pray for them, too.

  2. Marilyn Carr says:

    Good article. I had my annual mammo yesterday. Tech. said that it wasn’t any different than last year’s (thank God) but radiologist has to read it yet. I’ve known so many women with breast cancer and pray that a definite cure will be found soon.
    So great to have you as a relative. I sometimes lose my memory (mind) but I do know the difference between grandmothers and mothers though I sometimes can’t believe that my sister is a grandmother.
    Keep on murdering the parts of speech. I love it (and you).