Tag Archives: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

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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21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

15 Jan

While The Year My Dad Went Bald was shut out of the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, the judges still had plenty of great things to say about the book in their commentary.  After reading this, I think I need to find out who actually won, because those books must be awesome. Thanks to Writer’s Digest for recognizing excellence in the growing field of self-publishing.

JUDGE’S COMMENTARY FOR THE YEAR MY DAD WENT BALD

The illustrations are cute and quirky (even Dad barfing!), nicely complementing the text, adding humor to a serious subject.

The title will intrigue kid-readers; its seriousness makes it valuable for kids whose parents have cancer.  The boy protagonist/dad cancer victim widens the audience since studies claim boys won’t read books about girls, but girls will read about either sex.

The story is funny (beginning with the subtitle “coping with a cold head” through the reactions of the protagonist/dad (particularly nice: who made Dad’s hair go gray; the champagne scene); humor is vital in such a book.  The boy’s voice is natural and perfectly kid-like, drawing readers in and making his plight understandable.  The details about the diagnosis are presented in easy-to-understand terms; the protagonist’s confusion and worries are things kids in similar situations face. Particularly nice: the added responsibilities for him and Mom.

The hockey tie-in is unique.  The explanations of lymphoma and chemotherapy are good; while sidebars, they are presented in a way that keeps the book sounding story-like, not a lecture; wonderfully done.  The list of wildly successful people who’ve had lymphoma is perfect, as is the list of resources.  Wonderful is the bit about “the new normal.”  A fantastic book for kids knowing someone with cancer, yet lively enough to appeal as an “ordinary” story, too

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure and Organization: 5

Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot (if applicable): 5

Character Development (if applicable): 5

What a Week–TYMDWB in Print and in the State House

20 Mar

I thought the most exciting time for TYMDWB would be when we released it, but this has been a pretty incredible week.

First, our good friend Dan Trittschuh, who was actually with me the day I was diagnosed with NHL, wrote a column about our shared experience in Suburban News Publications, one of our local weeklies. It was an amazing column–bringing me so clearly back to that time and helping me remember how much I value our friendship.

And then I open the Friday mail and discover a proclamation from our Ohio State Rep. John Patrick Carney (22nd district) who authored a State House honor for TYMDWB. I was absolutely speechless. What an amazing thing to have happen, and I am so grateful to Rep. Carney for supporting our book and efforts to help those with cancer.

Some local Columbus orders for the book came in this week, which I think may have been spurred by Dan’s column. As grateful as I am for those purchases, I also know they may mean another family is facing cancer. So to all those who order I say, “Thank you, and we are here for you.”

Join Us Tonight for Family Skate for a Cure

12 Feb

Big end of week and weekend. First, Brian get a clean bill of health from his doctor–no sign of cancer and no more CAT scans until February of 2012. Woo hoo! Now tonight he will hold his first book signing at Chiller North, 8144 Highfield Drive, Lewis Center, OH 43035-9673, (740) 549-0009, as part of FAMILY SKATE FOR A CURE, organized by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supporter Jen Richards and her fellow teammates with TEAM IN TRAINING. Please join us from 7:30-91:15 p.m. for the skating, and pick up a copy of TYMDWB while you are there–signed by the author! Click and print the discount skating coupon below!

FAMILY SKATE FOR A CURE

On Our Way!

30 Nov

“The Year My Dad Went Bald” is officially at the printers! We will have it ready to ship by next month, and it will retail for $7.99. To pre-order, please contact us!

Introducing ‘The Year My Dad Went Bald’

15 Nov

After being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2008,  I had a lot to worry about–not the least of which was how I was going to explain what was going to happen to my son. And finding a book that would give insights into our immediate future was a lot harder than I expected.

Fast forward two years and, now that I am in remission, I knew I had an opportunity to share my story in a way that might help others feel a little less alone and a little less scared when it came to explaining their cancer diagnosis to their own child.

“The Year My Dad Went Bald” was born.

We are readying the book for the printers right now, and plan to have it out in time for Christmas. We are excited to be working to distribute the book through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and will donate a portion of all proceeds from sales of the book to L&LS, as well as the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Program and the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.

If you’d like more information, please contact us!