Tag Archives: Genentech

Blogging Your Cancer

29 Jan

An interesting column by Bill Saporito in last week’s edition of Time magazine addressed the growing phenomenon of blogging about cancer. Former New York Times editor Bill Keller and Emma Keller of the U.K.’s Guardian both wrote columns questioning the necessity and taste of patients blogging about their cancer and their treatments. Both columns made valid points but set off a debate about over sharing and fighting cancer with dignity.

When I was receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I felt no need to share what I was going through with the public. Although I wish I would have had a Facebook account at the time so I would have been able to update family and friends on my treatments without having to make multiple phone calls. How primitive.

Since the publication of The Year My Dad Went Bald, I have found myself in the position of sharing my experiences with people I’ve never met before on a regular basis.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I sat down to write and illustrate the book it gave me a unique perspective to happened to me and how I would never look at life the same again.  Initially, I wanted nothing to do with any sort of self-help encounters or discussions groups. Since my recovery, I have found myself speaking and participating in these encounters that I was so desperate to avoid. What changed?

I never wanted to be the “cancer guy” but like it or not I have become a voice, especially for fathers, for those who are going through this ordeal. I can only hope that my story and recovery has given comfort and hope.

I have been fortunate that companies like Genentech and the Ohio State University to be given me the opportunity to share my experiences with researchers, and future doctors. Everybody handles adversity in different ways; The Year My Dad Went Bald has changed the course of my life and made me a different person. Hopefully better.

Robert Kessler who writes for Gawker has started to blog about his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  As a well-known writer he is in a unique position to share his story with a large audience. I wish him well and look forward to his posts.

If people like the Kellers can’t handle it or find it distasteful there plenty of other websites to distract you from the realities of what some people are going through.

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No Sophomore Slump

17 May

I was thrilled today to mail off my annual donation to both the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society  and the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer. It is always gratifying to support these two organizations that provide such excellent services and support to patients and their families. When I first created “The Year My Dad Went Bald” I wanted to be able to give back to those who helped me in my fight against cancer. Since I self-published the book, I am able to share a portion of my sales with these organizations. I am especially thrilled since the donations this year were three times the amount of last years donations, meaning we had a really good year getting The Year My Dad Went Bald out to the people who it might help. I grateful to all those who played at part in this very successful year, including the James Cancer Center at Ohio State, the Central Chapter Ohio of the LLS, Camp Kesem and Genentech, Inc. which has been a great supporter of the book.

Sharing my Story

5 Oct

It’s been another hectic summer; so hectic I have been lax in blogging about the book. From book signings, to participating at summer camp for kids whose parents are fighting cancer, raising awareness and sharing my story has kept the The Year My Dad Went Bald team busy. But I am not complaining, the publishing of the book has given me opportunities that I never knew existed.

For the third time this year, I have been invited by Genentech to share my story and TYMDWB. I will be a featured speaker at the Genentech North American Country Clinical Operations Meeting later this month in San Francisco. Genentech is a biotechnology corporation, founded in 1976. Considered the founder of the biotechnology industry, Genentech has been delivering on the promise of biotechnology for more than 35 years. The brainstorm of my old friend Amy Black who thought that it would be insightful to for me to talk to a gathering of clinical researchers who had come from all over the globe to a meeting at Genentech’s South San Francisco campus.

Although these researchers work in the fight against cancer everyday, few of them had actually met someone who had benefited from their hard work. Genentech produces Rituximab, which was very effective in my recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

From the shock of my diagnosis, to my eventual recovery, I took them through the many lows and scant few highs of my cancer ordeal, which culminated, with the publishing of TYMDWB. I never considered myself much of a public speaker but it is a role I that I have come to enjoy. And, at least I get to talk about one of my favorite topics, me!

With great anticipation I look forward to revisiting with the folks at Genentech later in the month.