Thursday, September 11, 2014
BOOK TRAILER FOR STRIPPED, MY LATEST MEMOIR!
Check it out, folks: the PROFESSIONAL trailer for my latest book: STRIPPED: CANCER, CULTURE, AND THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING.
[Note: as of August, 2015, this version of Stripped has been retired. A new, though virtually similar version, has now been published by Loyola Press].
Angela Wood and Ben Guzman of SMALLMEDIUMLARGE PRODUCTIONS created, filmed, edited, and pulled this whole amazing thing together.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. I went against medical advice and refused chemo, radiation, and Tamoxifen.
On a related note, in the New Yorker this week is a piece by Jerome Groopman called "The Transformation: A breakthrough in leukemia treatment."
He talks about how the prevailing thought about cancer, up to very recently, has been to kill the cancer. But now they're discovering, with a certain kind of leukemia, and a new drug, how to make the cells mature and heal.
"The Agios drug, instead of killing the leukemic cells--immature blood cells gone haywire--coaxes them into maturing into functioning blood cells. Cancerous cells traditionally have been viewed as a lost cause, fit only for destruction The emerging research on A.M.L. [a kind of leukemia] suggest that at least come cancer cells might be redeemable [emphasis mine]: they still carry their original programming and can be pressed back onto a pathway to health."
Later, Groopman notes: "The images at Agios showed robust marrow: the leukemic cells had been forced to mature and had reverted to functioning white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. They were transformed [emphasis mine]."
Then he writes about a precursor to the new Agios drug, a drug called ATRA that had been developed thirty-five years ago.
"The idea for ATRA grew out of research by Zhen-yi Wang and Zhu Chen, of the Ruijin Hospital, in Shanghai. There were studying acute promyelocytic leukemia and wondered whether there was another way to treat the cancerous cells besides killing them. Want was inspired by a passage from the Analects of Confucius: 'If you use laws to direct the people, and punishments to control them, they will merely try to evade the punishments and will have no sense of shame. But if by virtue you guide them, and by the rites you control them, there will be a sense of shame and of right.' Wang later wrote, 'If cancer cells are considreed elements with 'bad' social behavior in our body, 'educating' rather than killing these elements might represent a much better solution."
These are exactly the kind of thoughts that came to me in my own 'walk' with cancer-- except my own inspiration was the nonviolent Christ of the Gospels!
The order and harmony of the universe applies from the macro to the micro, from the cellular level to the global level, from our innermost hearts to the laws that govern the movement of the sun and stars.