Blogging About Breast Cancer: TMI, or Every Woman’s Right? Weigh In.
Laurie Kingston, author of Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer, writes about living with metastatic breast cancer from her home in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. A former blogger for this site, Laurie helped surface a media storm that developed this week around fellow writer Lisa Bonchek Adams, a young mother of three who blogs about living with metastatic breast cancer from her home in Connecticut.
In an op-ed piece in last Sunday’s New York Times, columnist Bill Keller, former executive editor of the Times, questioned blogger Lisa Bonchek Adams’ choices around her cancer experience: both that she’s chosen “heroic measures” to stay alive, rather than opt for the “calm death” Keller’s father-in-law experienced; and that by writing so publicly about her experience, she’s set certain expectations for how we all deal with cancer, to whit, “…as cancer experts I consulted pointed out, Adams is the standard-bearer for an approach to cancer that honors the warrior, that may raise false hopes, and that, implicitly, seems to peg patients like my father-in-law as failures.”
After reading Keller’s piece, here’s what I think: he has just as much right to question Lisa’s approach to cancer, in print, as she does to write about her experience for a public audience.
And I have just as much right to judge Keller – and to find him lacking in empathy, understanding, and just plain human kindness – as he does to judge Lisa: especially from such a public pulpit as the New York Times.
Read Keller’s piece. What do you think?