Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Superstar's surgeries blocking cancers

Angelina Jolie follows double mastectomy by removing her ovaries and fallopian tubes 

Angelina Jolie
Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie's 2013 decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery is cited in my VitalityPress book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

The reason, she'd explained at the time in an opinion piece in The New York Times, was that she'd inherited the BRCA1 gene.

That's a mutation that placed her at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Several paragraphs in my memoir/guide to research and meds detailed her choice — and the homage she paid to her then partner, now husband, Brad Pitt, whom she described as "so loving and supportive."

I also quoted her conclusion: "So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part."

Which, in effect, is why I, Woody Weingarten, wrote "Rollercoaster" in the first place — to make sure men realize the crucial role they play — and to help them cope with the ups and downs they're likely to experience.

But now — in another op-ed piece in The New York Times in which she underscored that she wrote the first article because she "wanted other women at risk to know about the options" — Jolie has revealed that she's also had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

The point?

To block her from contracting ovarian cancer.

She acknowledges the new operation was "less complex surgery than the mastectomy" but put her "into forced menopause."

In the new column, titled "Diary of a Surgery," she also noted that Pitt flew from France "within hours" to be by her side. "The beautiful things about such moments in life," she wrote, "is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful."

Her op-ed ended with this notion, which I wholeheartedly endorse: "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bookstores anywhere can get 'Rollercoaster'

'Rollercoaster' is selling here, there, everywhere — from Thailand to Mass. to Marin 

Woody, stocking bookstore.
I just filled an order for five copies of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer" that will be placed in libraries in Bangkok, Thailand.

Another copy has been on display in a bookstore's front window in Northampton, Massachusetts, as part of a monthlong exhibit by The Cancer Connection, a nonprofit that offers free services for patients, caregivers and families — to help them "learn how to cope with their changed lives and bodies and emotional turmoil."

I know, too, that several folks who still live in Detroit, Michigan, the hometown of my wife, Nancy Fox, heroine of my book, have ordered it.

Copies likewise are being sold at the Paris Green boutique shop in Ashland, Oregon, famed home of the Shakespeare festival and what's become the country's largest repertory company.

And, in my adopted home county of Marin in California, "Rollercoaster" is available in lots of places: Book Passage in Corte Madera, Copperfield's in San Rafael, Whyte's Booksmith in San Anselmo, Diesel in Larkspur Landing.

Obviously the book, to borrow once again from the Beatles, is "here, there and everywhere."

And I, Woody Weingarten, am thrilled to report that "Rollercoaster" can be ordered from just about any bookstore in your area, wherever that might be (just tell 'em to get it through IngramSpark or Baker & Taylor).

Can't afford to buy it?

Reading copies are available at cancer care units at Marin General Hospital's or Kaiser Permanente in Terra Linda — or the San Anselmo Library.

You can help get my message out by suggesting that your local hospital — or oncologist, radiologist or surgeon — keep a copy in sight for caregivers or patients to peruse. They, too, can order through IngramSpark or Baker & Taylor.

Or Amazon.

plea and my motto seem to be merging into one phrase: Help me help others. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

CBS feature highlights male caregiver's book

Radio spots help to promote 'Rollercoaster,' its caregiving author, men's support group 

KCBS afternoon news co-anchor Jeff Bell certainly is able to cram a lot into 90 seconds.

That's what I found out Sunday when I listened to his Adversity 2 Advocacy spots on the radio station.

The feature, which was repeated three times on both AM and FM, effectively digested a 15-minute interview Jeff did with me, Woody Weingarten, about my being a longtime caregiver for my wife, about my running a support group for two decades (Marin Man to Man), and about my writing a new VitalityPress book ("Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer").

If you missed the KCBS broadcasts, you need only click on ow.ly/K6l9k to hear what Jeff created.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Radio broadcasts feature 'Rollercoaster' author

CBS station in San Francisco features 'Rollercoaster' author  — 'from adversity to advocacy'

Jeff Bell
I'm planning to claim my first minute and a half of radio fame this Sunday.

I'll be the solo guest of Jeff Bell’s regular spot, which focuses on people who've moved “from adversity to advocacy” — in other words, according to the A2A Alliance website, “individuals who have successfully turned a personal challenge into service to others with similar challenges.”

The 90-second segment, boiled down from a 15-minute interview,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bookstore officials hail 'Rollercoaster' success

Copperfield's book-signing by 'Rollercoaster' author called 'one of best since store opened'

Woody Weingarten signs "Rollercoaster."
The title of a classic movie from 57 years ago may best sum up what I experienced last weekend:

"The Sweet Smell of Success." 

what I, Woody Weingarten, gleefully felt after my first book signing — at Copperfield's bookstore in San Rafael.

Jake James, assistant manager, and Alex Steinmetz, community events coordinator, agreed that my "meet-and-greet" was "one of the best since we opened this store" at the end of 2013.

It was my first-ever signing for "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

Happily, it drew friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, relatives, neighbors, former co-workers, members of my Marin Man to Man support and film groups, members of my wife's cancer support and book groups — plus a sprinkling of strangers.

Happily, too, many of them bought books — three to four times as many as average meet-and-greet purchases, according to store officials.

"Rollercoaster" is aimed at caregivers. It’s a hybrid book, a memoir-chronicle, a love story, and a guide to research, meds and where to find help.

It tracks a caregiver’s bumpy yet uplifting journey from the depths of a wife’s diagnosis to the heights of their climbing the Great Wall of China. And it illustrates that most couples can successfully deal with the disease itself, “slash, poison and burn” treatments, fear, and the repercussions of it all — and that there truly can be light at the end of the tunnel.