Posts from October, 2011

Ann’s Diary: The Two Anns

One of the gifts I got in the Cancer Christmas I am forced to celebrate every day of my life is an oncologist named Ann Partridge.

Newly diagnosed in 2004, I searched for someone who could relate to me as a young woman with kids, a husband, ovaries that still worked–and a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer.

I was told there was a woman who was phenomenal at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, that she specialized in women under the age of 40 who get breast cancer.  She’d been on the Today Show, she was affiliated with Harvard Medical School, she knew her stuff…

And it was Ann Partridge, MD, MPH.  She took me through the drill of how to “be” a cancer patient, and I was beyond grateful for her support and encouragement, not to mention her medical ability.

That was 7 years ago.

Today, at my book signing– at the same hospital that I came for 8 rounds of dose-dense chemotherapy and 5 years of check-ups–I came back not as a patient but as an author.  I was proud of myself and of all the ups and downs, highs and lows that I’d had to endure to get there.

And you know who else was proud of me?

Ann Partridge, MD, MPH.

She came down and hugged me and told me she loved my book, loved my work and told me to keep on keeping on.

As a former–and now current–breast cancer fighter, that means the world to me. So, though I planned to do it anyway, I’m going to keep on keep on.

After all, it’s doctor’s orders.

(Ann Partridge and Ann Murray Paige discuss ‘pink tips’ at the Dana Farber ‘pink tips’ book signing, Boston, MA. October 28, 2011.)

2011APAP@DFCI

Posted October 28th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: The Two Anns
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Ann’s Diary: Book Tour Pics

I’m having a blast in New England on my book tour. I’m on the road and will write more later but want to share a glimpse of the amazing time I’m having.

First stop, Maine and the University of New England–with Dr. Dora Anne Mills, VP Clinical Affairs, UNE and Maine State Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess.

2011UNE

Next stop, Mass General Hospital’s The General Store (and yes, I bought some new shoes there.  If you’re in Boston, you HAVE to check out that store–it rocks!)

Mass General

And then–off to meet some amazing students at Salem State University:

2011SalemState

This morning I got up–to snow! And did an interview at New England Cable News–and now I head to Dana Farber Cancer Institute for my final book signing–11 a. to 1 p. at the Friends Gift Store on the first floor at DFCI.  It will be very fitting for me to return as an author to Dana Farber and not a patient.

I’ll let you know how THAT feels later…

Posted October 28th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Book Tour Pics
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Ann’s Diary: Thank you UNE!

I had a fantastic time this Sunday at the University of New England in Portland, Maine!

Kim Block and Ann Murray PaigeThank you especially to my friend and WGME-13 news anchor Kim Block for mc-ing the event, and for her help and insistence that I stop in Maine on my book tour.  Back in the day, Kim and I worked for competing stations in Maine. In the news biz there is obvious tension in the field as each station races to be the first with ‘the story.’ Unfortunately, that competition can spill over to the talent and crew.  I remember plenty of moments in my television career where I was snubbed, ignored and otherwise dismissed by the competition. So what does it say about Kim that years after my time in Maine news, not only doesn’t she snub me or ignore me, but she supports and goes out of her way to showcase my literary work in her own back yard?  Not to mention that it aired on WGME-13 that evening and all of the next day. (Pictured above: Kim and me.)

All thanks too for my friend and another of my big cheerleaders, 2011UNEDora Anne Mills MD, UNE’s Vice President for Clinical Affairs–who together with Kim Block organized the day–and taped my presentation and plans to use it to bring a level of compassion and enlightenment to all graduates of UNE’s graduate medical programs by bringing a patient’s perspective to their clinical learning. (Pictured: Dr. Mills with me at the ‘pink tips’ book signing. Maine’s Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess on far right.)

And finally, so many of my former television colleagues came out to hear me speak about my new book, ‘pink tips’,that as I looked around I thought–and thus began my talk with,

“There’s so much media here that this could either be a city council meeting…. or an unattended death.

I truly was–and remain–overwhelmed with gratitude to all of them..

2011UNEGirls1

(Pictured: WMTW-8’s Shannon Moss, Former First Lady Mary J. Herman, WGME-13’s Kim Block, Ann Murray Paige, WCSH6’s Cindy Williams.

Posted October 25th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Thank you UNE!
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Ann’s Diary: What Matters

Someone asked me what I plan to say to my audience at the University of New England/College of Pharmacy in Portland, Maine today before my book signing begins.

The event is from 4 to 6 pm on Stevens Avenue, and the sketch plan is that I speak for the first hour and I sign my book, ‘pink tips’ for the second.

I was chuckling about the question because a) I always speak off the top of my head so I really don’t know what I’m going to say and b) because it really doesn’t matter what I say.

I mean what really matters is that I’m here.  Or should I say still here? It matters that I’m beating breast cancer even as it tries to invade my lungs. It matters that I’m going to get to see my mom and dad and all my sisters during this quick trip to New England.  It matters that I’m here this year at all to stand in front of any crowd.  It matters that I’m winning my breast cancer battle. It matters that I’m not letting cancer scare me away.

But what I say?  Who cares. Well, I don’t really mean that. Of course I can’t get up there and say nothing.  So I’ll give the thumbnail sketch of where I’ve been, and what I’ve done since my film, the Breast Cancer Diaries (which made its debut in Tawain yesterday.  That makes about 24 countries so far that have seen it–psych! ) And I’ll share how it’s been this last year for me and my family, when I and they got the worst surprise of our lives with my metastatic breast cancer diagnsosis.

I’ll say something good, I told my friend, don’t worry.

But in my mind, whatever I end up shooting out to the crowd today, what’ll matter to me most and what will be going through my mind is not what I’m saying,

but that I am here to say anything at all.

Posted October 23rd, 2011 by
Ann's Diary:  What Matters
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Ann’s Diary: Thank You, Taiwan

As I fly 5 thousand miles over the county of the United States of America this morning, embarking on a week-long book tour for ‘pink tips‘, I’d like to make a shout out to the people of Taiwan for sharing in my story, The Breast Cancer Diaries. I’ve already heard from Jialing, who writes,

It’s nice to watch the film tonight, I was surprised about your strong attitude, I love the part when you be with your family. I am not a cancer patient but I like the spirit you have, thank you for making the film.”

No matter the country, the culture or the community, breast cancer awareness binds us all.

我想你最好的健康。 (this is from an online translator. I couldn’t find proper Taiwanese.)

Posted October 22nd, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Thank You, Taiwan
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