I went to my first class last night and really liked it, really liked my professor. I loved being in a classroom again. The professor is kind of fun. He did a little speech about the fact that he had a very strict attendence policy and that you had to have a really good excuse to miss his class. Hospitalizations, famiy deaths and automobile accidents on the way to class were NOT good reasons to miss his class. After the silence that followed, he said a good reason to miss his class was free tickets to a baseball game, a chance to sleep in, a good party…something GOOD. He said he hoped we wouldn’t have to deal with bad things and would only miss his class because a GOOD opportunity came along. I like him!

After class I went to my Toastmaster’s meeting…I had to give a speech. I was supposed to give an inspirational speech. I decided to do a speech about Dr. Jimmie Holland…she inspires me. She has brought attention to the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis. She wrote a book I loved when I was newly diagnosed with cancer…”The Human side of Cancer: Living with Hope,Coping with Uncertainty”. She founded the science of psycho-oncology. She made many oncologists aware of the emotional struggles we all face after a cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Holland made the cancer comunity aware of the fact that we were not just persons with a tumor who need medical care, but whole individuals who are traumatized emotionally, and not just physically, by the diagnosis. She is a hero of mine. The emotional consequences of cancer,in my view, far outweigh the physical effects of cancer and treatment. She’s advocated for us all. She recognized that we are people, not just illneses, that there was so much more to us than our disease, that a cancer diagnosis affected our whole being, not just our health. She is 80 years old and still advocating for us. We are her life’s purpose. She honors us, she honors our stuggle. I loved doing a speech about her.

Did I tell you I got to meet her? She is involved in the AACRs Scientist-ssurvivor Program I am a part of. So I got to meet and spend time with my hero at one of the AACR annual meetings. It was such a priviledge. Maybe I’ll get to be like her and still make a difference when I’m 80.

CR Magazine did a great article about her I’ll paste here: Caring for the Whole Person. Please try to find the time to read it!