Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Duo proves infirmities can't stop the music

Disabilities don't limit pianist or dancer from jointly performing 'Taptoe Through the Tulips' 

Nancy Fox, who is celebrating 20 years of being breast cancer free, marked her recent 75th birthday in a unique — and extra-special — way.

My wife, in effect the heroine of my new book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," wanted to promote the idea that disabilities can't stop folks from doing what they love.

Nancy Fox (left) and Maree Gilmore.
Nancy's hard of hearing. Despite that problem, she plays the piano at numerous senior facilities — and, all listeners seem to agree, makes the 88 keys resonate extremely well.

Her partner for the unusual gig at the Kindred Nursing and Traditional Care rehab center in Greenbrae was Maree Gilmore, a resident there who'd been confined to a wheelchair.

An ex-hoofer and dance teacher, she proved that her toes and tap shoes can still be enormously active at age 83.

You can check out “Taptoe Through the Tulips” at http://youtu.be/Y7N8QJ8PlE8. It's definitely worth 3:07 of your life.

Marin County non-profit seeking new leader

Breast cancer prevention group in Northern California searching for a new executive director

Zero Breast Cancer, a community-based Northern California non-profit, needs an experienced executive director.

Janice Barlow
The new director, who will replace Janice Barlow, must be prepared "to drive the direction and expansion of breast cancer prevention research, advocacy and educational programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond."

How far beyond?

Well, that most likely depends on the individual's imagination — and skills.

ZBC was founded in 1995 as Marin Breast Cancer Watch by a small group of women with invasive breast cancer who wanted to find out why Marin County and the Bay Area had a particularly high incidence of the disease.

In 2000 it gave out its first annual Honor Thy Healer awards, recognizing both individuals and organizations.

I, Woody Weingarten, author of "Rollercoaster: How a man survive his partner's breast cancer," have been the only person to earn the honor twice — once for being the caregiver for my wife, Nancy Fox, and later along with Marv Edelstein and Dan Goltz as longtime members of our weekly support group, Marin Man to Man.

Marin Breast Cancer Watch became Zero Breast Cancer in 2006, with a "focus on identifying environmental factors and the role they play in breast cancer."

The San Rafael-based organization collaborates "with local and national scientists on studies designed to identify the causes of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence."

It also sponsors the annual Dipsea Hike, a noncompetitive fundraiser that follows a six-mile loop beginning and ending at the Dipsea steps.

Ms. Barlow is stepping down from the executive director's position after more than 10 years in the post.

More information about ZBC is available at www.zerobreastcancer.org or (415) 507-1949.

Coping with cancer? Buy this ebook or paperback

You can order 'Rollercoaster,' book on male caregiving for breast cancer patients, now

Got milk?

No? Doesn't matter.

Got Kindle?

Yes? Makes a big difference.

Why? 'Cause you now can order — for $9.99 on Amazon — "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," by Woody Weingarten, a comprehensive memoir-chronicle and up-to-the-minute scientific research, meds and where to get help.

It shows how I, the author, and my wife, Nancy Fox, coped with breast cancer, its treatments and its aftermath — and how you can as well.

I'm a prize-winning journalist pro — for 50 years, actually — who has led a male partners' group for two decades. Though I became an expert reluctantly, I now unflinchingly share what I've learned.

Oh yeah, the book's available in paperback, too. From Amazon or through your favorite bookstore.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Breast cancer-free trip triggers 1,200 pictures

Photos help to re-live the joys of European jaunt that marked 20 years of being cancer-free

We were sort of forced to take tons of photos in London and Paris because our recent celebratory trip abroad was so special — it commemorated Nancy Fox's being free of breast cancer for 20 years.

That bumpy two-decade journey, not incidentally, is a trip I, Woody Weingarten, documented in my new book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

The photos, both I and my survivor-wife figured, would fill the gap left by our short-term memories having faded a wee bit.

So I shot about 1,200 of them. 

Now, a few weeks later, I've honed them to about 200 for our personal album. Then I decided to put a baker's dozen of them right here.

You can enlarge or download any the pictures by clicking on it.


And do tell me, please, which of these European trip photos you like best of all.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Push the "Rollercoaster" button NOW

Yep, it's just like giving birth: Amazon now taking orders for breast cancer caregiver book


It's truly exciting (and precisely as some rather wise friends and associates had predicted I'd feel). Sort of like giving birth: You tend to forget the pain that came before and focus, instead, on the pure joy.

Question: What in the heck am I raving about?

Answer: There's now a button available on Amazon for the paperback and ebook versions of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer." Just plug in my name, Woody Weingarten.

The actual publication date was Nov. 1, which happens to be my wedding anniversary. Coincidence? No one should take that bet.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review of Woody Weingarten's caregiving book

‘Rollercoaster’ wins ardent support, labeled 'a must-read' by key psychiatrist/oncologist 

After reading pre-publication pdf’s of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner’s breast cancer," Kenneth G. Lerner became a passionate, vocal advocate of the book that I, Woody Weingarten, wrote.
Dr. Kenneth G. Lerner
The key psychiatrist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, asserts that:

“The author not only immerses the reader in the devastating impact of this all too common affliction and its treatment on his wife, but also in the emotional rollercoaster of his experience and of the other male partners of cancer patients in his men’s group, a not often presented narrative.”

Ken, who’s also an oncologist (he worked as a staff physician at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, B.C., Canada), goes on to say:

“His superb writing skills lead us along the path of initial discovery, diagnosis, therapeutic and reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy and irradiation to emotional and physical rehabilitation.”

And the doctor ends his endorsement with:

“This book is a must-read for anyone affected directly or indirectly by breast cancer…[It] supplies a thoughtful, well-documented and informative discussion of the various treatment options and the supports available to patients, partners and loved ones. As a physician involved for 40 years in both the medical and emotional aspects of cancer treatment, I give ‘Rollercoaster’ my most enthusiastic recommendation.”

Thanks, Ken.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A 12-month-a-year job, not just October

Rethinking breast cancer awareness: Should our focus be on pink ribbons or a cure?

This month, October, is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


The media has been crammed, as it now is every year, with sympathetic tales — of survivors, of breakthroughs in research, of the medical world being soooo close to a miracle cure.

The original idea purportedly was to promote mammography. As for the pink ribbon component, it was an outgrowth of the yellow ones worn in 1979 in solidarity with American hostages in Iran — and, later on, the red ribbons that signified AIDS awareness.

And we’re all inundated with pink this and pink that, with corporations donating modest amounts to breast cancer research.

Yoga pants — only $34.98.
The now-global awareness campaign began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of what has become AstraZeneca.

The pink symbols flourished when the Susan G. Komen Foundation started handing them out in 1991 to runners who took part in its New York City breast cancer survivors’ race.

But some folks — and I, Woody Weingarten, the author of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," count myself among them — believe the initial concept was hijacked by Big Business and became a profit-making distraction (some have labeled it “a red herring”) from what is most important: finding answers to what causes the disease.

And finding a cure.

Awareness must become a 24/7 job, 52 weeks a year, 12 months annually — every year until one is found.