Elissa Goodman is a holistic nutritionist, cleanse expert, and author of Cancer Hacks. Following her own experience with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1992, and her husband’s death 11 years later from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Elissa turned to the study of holistic nutrition as a conduit to healing for herself and her young daughters. That path led her to reinvent herself, and at age 50 she launched a thriving nutrition enterprise. Elissa talks about her belief that we can all participate in our own holistic healing by incorporating a spiritual practice and attending to the body’s nutritional needs by eating whole foods.
Cecily Young’s husband, John Ruble, underwent a bone marrow transplant as treatment for leukemia in 2005. Cecily talks about providing for her husband’s wellbeing, as well as that of their young son, during his treatment and recovery. Using the metaphor of herself as a ship’s captain, she envisioned herself as charged with maintaining morale and keeping the everyday concerns of their lives afloat. Cecily also delves into the devastating conflict she experienced with her sister while caring for their mother, as well as the feelings of resentment engendered by the significant professional sacrifices she made as a result of being persistently pressed into service as a reluctant caregiver.
Today, I speak with Evan Handler, actor, author, and advocate for cancer patient care. Best known for his roles in Sex and the City and Californification, Evan was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 1985, when he was 24 years old. After a two-year remission, Evan had a cancer recurrence. He received a bone marrow transplant in 1988, which he credits for saving his life. Evan wrote about his experience in the book, Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors, which originated, in more condensed form, as an off-Broadway one-man show.
In this episode we talk about Evan’s encounter with cancer, which has with faded with time but remains the defining event of his life. Evan shares what he learned from his own experience of navigating a bewildering, often inaccessible world of medical information as well as a medical system and procedures that seemed centered on priorities other than patient care. He also talks about his motivation for undergoing harsh treatment for cancer when his odds of survival were very low.