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Opening up her heart, Had I Known - A Memoir of Survival, gives readers an intimate look into her journey navigating a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as personal family dynamics internal struggles, and the balancing of personal and public life. The book feels like a journal in many ways, jumping from inner thoughts and fears to more factual content. Messages of support from colleagues and fans are included throughout the book, highlighting how important it was for her to receive this love.
Each chapter begins with an inspiring and motivational reflection by a different celebrity who has battled cancer in the past. Diving right into the harsh reality, Joan shares a first person account of what it was like for her to receive a Stage II breast cancer diagnosis. She writes:.
I felt as if I had just been shot out of a cannon at supersonic speed into the world of oncology.
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There were so many new terms. It was an avalanche of information. I had no knowledge of my disease or treatment. Although she did not have a family history of breast cancer, every year Joan underwent an ultrasound after her 3D mammogram due to her dense and fibrous breast tissue. This was advice she had received from Dr. Susan Love during an interview years earlier. She shares the anxious uncertainty of having the ultrasound technician see something suspicious and the doctor wanting to do a needle biopsy.
Due to a family event, she was able to put it off for the weekend and had to endure a couple days at home of acting like everything was normal - not a simple task at all. I was a healthy and vibrant person! I felt an instant guilt that I was putting Jeff in this situation. I needed to be strong and healthy for him and for all of my children. I wanted time to stay frozen, but the cruel reality was about to be laid out by my doctor. Facing the biopsy results, Joan shares the challenging and conflicting emotions, fears, doubts and thoughts that run through her head as she prepares to face a weekend waiting for the pathology report.
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She explains that she was familiar with sudden, untimely death because her late father, a cancer surgeon, died in a plane crash when she was just thirteen years old. Facing the reality of having a tumor, Joan questioned why this is her reality - what are the relevant risk factors for her? What did she do wrong? She did not have a family history of breast cancer, and she always had the mindset that since her father was a cancer surgeon, she was immune in some way! However, as she looked deeper, she discovered that only a small minority of breast cancer patients have a family history, and that risk factors such as growing older, dense breast tissue, consuming alcohol, lack of sleep, stress, and hormone therapy are all important to consider.
She also needed to start the process of finding the right wig that will make her feel like herself once her hair starts to thin and fall out. While Joan was fortunate enough to have access to wonderful doctors who were able to give her many supportive options, she reflects on the challenges patients face when needing to make these hard choices, especially when they need to be made quickly.
As a public figure, Joan knew that she must go public with her breast cancer diagnosis at some point but really struggled with how to go about doing this since she saw herself as a health advocate that people look up to. In the end she understood that she could look at her disease as an opportunity! In the end, as long as we live, that is a choice we all have! Once understanding that she needed to share her news, Joan told her extended family and arranged to go on Good Morning America to make her story public on her own terms. While many breast cancer patients have a lumpectomy and then chemotherapy, Joan had her chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor.
While beginning chemotherapy, Joan and her husband, Jeff, told their children about her diagnosis. The family also prepared to go up to Maine for the summer at the camp that Jeff ran, and Joan tried to reconcile with the fact that, at least for the time being, she would not be the same independent person she had always known herself to be.
It was time to open herself up and accept that there would be a new normal. After sending out a personal email to family, friends, and colleagues, Joan returned to Good Morning America as a guest and shared her news with the nation. As people start to offer their sympathy, she felt uncomfortable and did not want people to pity her.
Following her public announcement on TV, Joan received a huge outpouring of support from fans, friends, and former co-workers, ending her previous anxiety. She was very touched by the love that she felt from all these messages, many of which are included in the chapter, and decided to keep a blog to document her journey moving forward. She felt like a powerful warrior… and hoped to continue feeling that way!
Big reveal 2 happened as Dr. Given that she was going to stay in Maine for the summer, Joan makes arrangements to get care locally rather than travelling to New York City. As her treatments continued and side effects started to become more consistent, she understood how important it is to honestly share how you are feeling! Are you seeing a pattern?
Once again, this comes from misunderstandings:. Eating in excess is just another way to avoid reality. If you are focusing on the eating and not on your thoughts, it would stand to reason that you will feel better. Is it a reward? A part of a celebration? Is it sustenance or passion? By finding clarity about the role food plays in your world, you can better approach how to handle food challenges during this tender time," she says.
But you also have to do some active work, too. Now may be the time to schedule lunch dates with a good girlfriend.
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She will help you laugh and be with you while you cry. By numbing the painful stuff, you're also numbing the good stuff. So what are the takeaways for those starving for breakup relief and a return to normalcy? Here's Pearson's take: "As your stressful thinking affects your body, you will notice that you're suppressing your appetite.
However, the opposite is also true: you may also look to avoid your discomfort with food.
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If you could visit some places in your area, like theaters, museums or restaurants, what would you choose? Ann eventually found her way back to herself with this process: feeling, awareness, and support while she figured out what she really needed to create a life she loved. You will too. Think Carrie Bradshaw in Payless Shoes. Fridays: My take on celebrity break-ups.
Phil of celebrity break-ups minus the toilet seat cover hair ring around the head thing. And can I just say that you have no idea how hard it was for me to post this in the middle of the week. But, I actually got out of bed to do it at 2am because I knew if I went to sleep without posting my new and improved idea, I would get sidetracked in the morning and just put it off again.
Give a copy to your mother. Your neighbor—the one who gave you a fruitcake brick for Christmas last year.
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Can you find happily-ever-after if you sell out? I mean, how great would it be to have someone take care of me? No financial concerns. No worries.
I could focus on my writing and maybe take a vacation. I could just see myself sitting on a beach in the Caribbean with my laptop, an umbrella drink, and a half-naked man servant fanning me with a palm leaf while back home a maid cleans my obscenely large house. Pinch me. But somehow, I missed Gold Digging Maybe because the poor guy has the same hunger to succeed, to become something more, he believes in having a dream and chasing it like his life depends on it.
I can relate to that. I declined the two Sugar Daddy offers. I wanted it all: love and happiness. If I have that, the money will come.