How to Say the Wrong Thing

Posted April 18th, 2018

I’ve heard so many unbelievably wrong things throughout my cancer career, I’m no longer shocked. Some comments are so wrong they aren’t worth noting here—they’re not likely to occur to most people. Would you tell a cancer patient you wish you could have chemotherapy because you need to lose weight? No? Because you know that’s […]


Dealing with cancer? 5 Gifts To Give Yourself This Holiday Season

Posted December 18th, 2017

My husband, Gary, was diagnosed with late-stage disease, whereupon the experts projected two years because he was relatively young and in good shape, and prostate cancer is slow-growing. But Gary beat the two-year deadline. In fact, he lived ten high-volume, courageous years. And if I needed to assign credit for his extended quality of life, […]


Bob Riter

Beginning A New Relationship After Cancer

Posted October 12th, 2017

It’s challenging to begin a new relationship after having had cancer. I’ve written about that as have many others. But what about the other partner in a new relationship – the one without cancer? One woman put it this way, “I feel like cancer is a member of his family. I want to understand and […]


4 Insights Into Reticent Men and Cancer

Posted August 24th, 2017

A friend of mine started dating a man six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the start of their relationship, he was open about his health issues. And then cancer showed up stronger, and he walled himself off. “He won’t let me give him any hands-on care,” my friend said. “And he doesn’t want […]


How To Live With Knowing – And Not Knowing – The Future

Posted June 29th, 2017

For a second time, I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air by surgeon and author Paul Kalanithi. At age 36 and on a career path that was spiraling upward, Dr. Kalanithi was rudely interrupted. By a lung cancer diagnosis. I had originally highlighted several passages in the book, but one that stood out the second time around […]


Bob Riter

Cancer-Related Fatigue

Posted June 19th, 2017

When people think about the side effects of cancer treatment, they usually think about hair loss (which is common with some types of chemotherapy), and nausea (which is not nearly as common as it used to be). But in my experience, fatigue is the side effect that’s most universal and least appreciated. Fatigue is different […]


Bob Riter

Connecting Cancer Scientists and Cancer Patients

Posted May 1st, 2017

Most cancer research begins in laboratories where scientists seek to understand why normal cells mutate into cancer cells and then travel, wreaking havoc, elsewhere in the body. These basic scientists are generally more familiar with test tubes than with cancer patients. Nationally, there’s growing interest in building partnerships between scientists and patients. For example, review […]


Celebrating a Life Well-Lived: Random Thoughts

Posted April 11th, 2017

Family and friends gathered in Idaho this weekend to celebrate a life well lived: Mom-in-law Ivalene, who died of complications due to pancreatic cancer. Since the Celebration of Life service, a few random thoughts have been swirling in my brain: Random thought #1 — about people There were the usual suspects at mom-in-law’s service — you know, […]


Bob Riter

Cancer Makes Everyone Stupider – and Smarter

Posted March 30th, 2017

A professor recently told me that he instantly became 50% stupider when his doctor told him that he had cancer. He said that his own research in his field of study is careful and thoughtful. When he learned that he had cancer, the “careful part” of his brain shut down. Rather than thinking logically about […]


Carolyn Vachani

It’s Not All Rainbows and Glitter

Posted March 29th, 2017

If you have never heard the words “you have cancer”, then what I am about to explain may defy logic, but bear with me. Let’s imagine you are heading to the cancer center for your last day of treatment – chemotherapy, radiation, whatever it may be. What are you feeling? What thoughts are running through […]