I’m Diane McDaniel, and on today’s show we are talking about Mother’s Day, a celebration to honor one’s mother, motherhood, and the influence of mothers and maternal figures in society.
This crowdsourced episode includes ten different voices–Cynthia Boxrud, Louis Browning, Philippe Browning, Anna Chi, Catherine Davidson, Rory Green, Jessica McCrea, Diane McDaniel, Debi Pomerantz, and Abigail Wald–reflecting on what they are thinking about on this Mother’s Day.
Entrepreneur and independent business owner Carole Yu talks about coping with her husband’s death from cancer while raising two young daughters. With support from Camp Kesem and other organizations, Carole helped her daughters survive and thrive despite the devastating loss of their father. Carole also talks about how she found the strength to follow through on her own life dreams one step at a time.
Camp Kesem is a nationwide community that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer: campkesem.org.
REAL is now on hiatus. We’ll be back on January 2, 2018, with more stories adversity, resilience, creativity, and transformation. This episode is a sneak peek of some of the stories on which we are currently working:
As 2018 approaches, we’re thinking about for the New Year, and so we’ll start the year with an episode on that. Let me know if you’d like to contribute your thoughts.
I spoke with Tanya Ward Goodman about her book Leaving Tinkertown, how writing about real people affects your understanding of them, developing an individual artistic vision, and writing about Alzheimer’s disease.
Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha came into the studio to share what it’s like to be two men raising a daughter, some of the questions that they’ve encountered about their family, and how their own experiences with difference have helped them teach their daughter about how to think about her differences.
Carole Yu shared with me how she and her young daughters endured the death of her husband in 2007, how the national organization Camp Kesem helped the girls feel normal and connected despite their loss, and the paths each member of the family took to chart individual futures in which they could thrive.
Roger Freeman and Alexandra Decas are members of The Dinner Party, a national community of mostly 20- and 30-somethings who’ve each experienced significant loss. Our conversation explores how connecting intimately with strangers who have similarly experienced loss has allowed each of them to address their feelings of isolation and learn how to live with and speak about their profound loss. They also talk about the role of humor at Dinner Party tables, how they each seek joy in their lives, and the confounding issue of helping men—who have been trained to hide any weakness—to show up and feel safe.
Today’s episode marks an ending of sorts and a new beginning. It is a lacuna, an interval, a gap. One door is closing and another opens. Today’s episode is the space between the Real Cancer podcast and the REAL podcast.
REAL will continue to feature conversations with individuals who‘ve faced the humbling encounter with reality that is cancer, and it will also explore other ways in which we engage with reality in the lives we live. REAL will broaden out the focus, exploring each week—through conversations with creative people of every type—the biggest questions we face in life: What does it feel like to be alive? How can we live meaningfully? Given the complexity of life—good and bad, hard and easy, exhilarating and depressing—how do we get on with living?
Jonathan Cohen is a gastroenterologist and founder of MD Medical Navigators. Jon discusses his attraction to the intensity of interactions between physicians, patients, and family, as well as the intellectual and emotional aspects of practicing medicine. He also talks about the desire to innovate and follow his curiosity, which is at the center of his personal approach to his profession. Jon discusses how his desire to explore from different perspectives, coupled with a keen sense of the need for humility, has led him to a new endeavor as an advocate for patients and families as they navigate their health care.
Today’s story is a personal one for the host of Real Cancer, as her friendship with this guest and his engagement with the search for a diagnosis led to treatment that saved her life.
Jodi Newson is a registered dietitian in oncology nutrition who works with cancer patients. Jodi talks about the central role that food plays in maintaining our social bonds and how side effects of cancer treatment can disrupt our most cherished ways of showing care. She also talks about being drawn to meaningful work in which she has a positive impact in the lives of her patients and their families and explains how her role often extends beyond nutrition. Jodi also reflects on how she has personally benefitted from the life lessons she has learned while helping others.
Steven Weiss-Smith was 13 years old when his father died of metastatic melanoma. Now 44 years old, the age at which his father passed away, Steve talks about the ways in which his father’s death—and especially his lack of understanding about his father’s illness at the time—has affected him throughout his life. He reflects on the ways in which his professional choices have incorporated ways of trying to get to know the man who he knew only as his father, though the eyes of a child.
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.
Eve Makoff is a palliative care doctor who specializes in working with cancer patients. Eve talks about following her father’s example in choosing medicine as a route to fulfilling life work. Drawn to the intensity of in-patient care, Eve has found professional gratification in learning how to listen to her patients, help them to understand their options, and facilitate their articulation of their goals and needs in their life and death.