Did you feel like dancing before your mastectomy?

Did You Feel Like Dancing Before Your Mastectomy?

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about on and off ever since the video of the woman who danced before her mastectomy went viral last month. I was going to write a post then, but decided against it. The wonderful Lisa Bonchek Adams wrote one and she nailed it as far as I was concerned. I commented on her post and thought to myself – okay I’m done. Move on.

Then last week I saw an ad on TV which said the woman in the video, Dr. Deborah Cohan (she’s actually a doctor – an OB-GYN no less), was going to be a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America last Friday. I planned to tune in. But of course I forgot. Over the weekend I stumbled upon the Good Morning America interview and the video again and I just couldn’t get it out of my head so… of course I thought time to write a blog post! 

I could have included this video story in my 2013 year’s end wrap-up post, but I specifically chose not to for reasons I’m getting to.

I realize that it’s highly probable that I’m in the  minority here, but I was not inspired by the video. I did not find it be a shining example. I did not find it to be empoweirng. I did not find it to be awesome, as it was called by some.

For me it had the exact opposite effect.

I found this video to be condescending. I found it to be trivializing. I even found it on some level to be hurtful, dare I say it, even offensive.

You see minutes before I was wheeled off into the OR for my bilateral mastectomy, dear hubby and I exchanged one of the most intimate and private moments of our entire marriage, communicating much just by looking into one another’s eyes. As I was wheeled off, he had tears in his and a look so full of concern and emotion that I will never forget it. And let me tell you, dancing around the OR was the last thing on my mind. For some reason this video seemed to minimize those and other  feelings I felt at the time. For me, it seemed more like something I’d see on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s hard to explain I guess…

But this video wasn’t about me, it was about this other woman. I get that. I do.

Rest assured, I believe this woman had every right to dance before her surgery. More power to her. I mean that. If that’s how she wanted to handle things, fine. To each her own. No one handles any part of cancer in exactly the same way.

But what did puzzle me was the reaction to this video. 

So many people were so quick to watch it, share it, talk about it, praise it, call it awesome and celebrate the way this one woman chose to handle her surgery. 

Why was/is this?

What about the rest of us?

What about those of us who did not feel at all like dancing in the OR?

Did we not handle things as well? Ludicrous and completely not true I know, but…

There was a subtle message being sent; a message that seemed to say cancer isn’t that bad. A mastectomy isn’t that bad. You’ll be fine if you just stay positive. Maybe that wasn’t the intended or the entire message meant to be sent, but it’s the one I received.

That message bothered me and still does. Maybe a few of you have been thinking like me since that video first came out and have been bothered too. Or, maybe not…

When I read that the dancing doctor/patient said the following during her Good Morning America interview:  I was more nervous about my dance than my surgery... I knew this blog post was getting published.

Cancer is a big deal.

A mastectomy is a big deal.

Positivity can be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t the end all, nor does it assure things will be fine.

As I’ve said  many times before, this blog is my safe place where I get to state my honest viewpoints and frankly, I found this video and the attention it received to be darn right bizarre.

If you disagree with me, that’s fine; in fact, I’d love to hear from you.

If you want to sing, dance or throw a party in the OR before your mastectomy; more power to you. As for me, that’s a party I would want no part of.

And one more thing just for the record, I find women like Lisa Bonchek Adams to be far more inspirational than a patient who dances before her mastectomy. I’d like to see Lisa’s story and the stories of so many other women like her who are living with metastatic disease, get more attention. Those are the stories that  inspire me. Here’s a link to my mets page. You’ll find a list of some inspirational mets bloggers there. Check out their stories and be truly inspired.

There, I said my piece.

I feel better now.

What about you?

Did you feel like dancing before your mastectomy or your partner’s mastectomy?

Did you find this video and the attention it received to be at all bizarre?

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Did you feel like dancing before your mastectomy?
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64 thoughts to “Did You Feel Like Dancing Before Your Mastectomy?”

  1. Nancy – I have only seen snipits of the video, and had no desire to watch the whole thing. In fact, I originally thought it was a bad joke. I can say for me, I did not want to get up and dance in the OR. I did want to get up and run away. I’m glad she could process her fear, by turning it on its heel, with a happy dance. To each their own. Until I read your post, I thought I was alone with my distaste of it. Thanks Nancy for a great post.

    1. Cindy, It’s hard for me to watch too. As I said, dancing is her prerogative, but the messages being sent out – that is the troubling part for me. I must admit I did hesitate before publishing this one… Glad I’m not alone. Thank you for commenting.

  2. As always, great post! I had ignored the vid. You know I’m a making-lemonade-out-of-lemons kind of girl: cancer is not necessarily the end of the world; surgery doesn’t have to change the essential things in life; lots of positive things can come out of the traumatic things in our lives. But dancing just seemed to trivialize it too much. It is still a big deal. How we choose to deal with it it up to us, but it is a big deal!

    1. Julie, A big deal and then some… I know some thought the video was great, but me – not so much. Thanks for the show of support. It means a lot.

  3. Dancing? I locked myself in the bathroom while I was changing out of my reg clothes preparing for surgery. I had a total meltdown I was alone, no one was there for me I suddenly realized the whole impact of what was about to happen. things happened so fast I didn’t get a chance to really think about things…until that moment I was so scared, thinking about it now makes me sad and teary. I was given something to help me relax I was dozing off and on till surgery. I saw the lights of the OR and I just gave in to the inevitable. Dancing yeah right!! What about the sterility of the operating theatre I talked to a friend of mine who is a surgeon and he said it was likely staged because before surgery all those people bouncing around wasn’t likely and he said never in his OR Theatre! ..especially setting up with equipment etc.. I’m with you Nancy I found it to trivializing, not showing the true reality It reminds me of PINK!!

    1. Alli, It’s another one of the feel-good type breast cancer stories that the public eats up. I’m sorry you were so alone back then. Many are in your corner now! At least online. Thanks for sharing.

  4. So loved your post. I have not been able to watch the video because it makes my stomach turn. I am not offended by her choice…go her! But I’m creeped out by all the positive attention it has gotten. I was scared and sad when i had to remove my breast…and even more so when i had to remove my other breast…i cried on the operating table. No, this doesn’t inspirerad me at all…it just makes me feel like it is being completely trivialized.

    1. Maria, That’s what I thought too. Thanks so much. I appreciate your supportive comment. I wasn’t entirely sure what the backlash on this one might be…

  5. Nancy, I have to completely agree with your take on this video. Not to be vulgar here but to put it bluntly, it totally pissed me off!! That video went viral two weeks before my bilateral mastectomy. I’m sure you can well imagine how I felt about all of this celebratory behavior. I want to say too that while reading about Amy Robach’s experience in the People magazine I was again spitting mad!!! She returned to work two weeks post op. It shows a photo of her leaning against her husband full makeup on elegantly dressed and I, who had surgery just one week later, looked like an utter train wreck next to her flattering photoshoot. No, their situations were not the norm and to glamorize this disease and having one’s breasts removed is completely insensitive to all of us “average joe” breast cancer patients. Grrr is all I can say.

    1. Angela, Gosh, that was horrible timing for to be inundated with both of these “news” stories right before your bilateral. I’m sorry. You aren’t being vulgar at all. Feeling pissed off seems like a reasonable reaction for you especially considering the timing. You raise a really important point regarding Amy Robach’s experience and how quickly she returned to work looking fabulous. Most of us live in the real world and things don’t go quite as smoothly. Sometimes I still feel like I look like a train wreck! Seriously though, I hope you’re feeling stronger and recovering well. Thank you for adding your thoughts here.

  6. I didn’t see the video but I read the story & saw the pictures. While I think its great that this woman felt joy and wanted to dance before her operation, I don’t think this is the norm & it wouldn’t be inspirational for me.

    I think it can possibly give some people the wrong idea- that they should feel this way too. I remember feeling a great deal of sadness just before I went in. My older sisters and husband were there to see me off. They told me later that they cried as I went off with the surgeon, like I was their “little sister” again, facing something huge.

    In my post cancer year and nine months since diagnosis, I have felt moments of joy & gratefulness to be alive. But also fear and sadness too. I think these positive moments are great in and of themselves, but they can send the wrong message. That if we DON’T feel this way, we’re not handling it right. It’s irritating and annoying. Depending on where you are in the journey, it could be downright offensive. And yes, it might inspire some women too, I guess. But just don’t tell women that’s how I should feel or something’s wrong! I would hazard a guess that dancing before your operation is uncommon.

    1. Lauren, Well said. And I felt that same sadness before my surgery. Dancing? Seriously? But I take no issue with her choice to dance and I don’t think this particular dancing/doctor/patient was telling anyone else how to feel or what to do. I just found the reaction to the whole thing completely bizarre – not even right or wrong, just bizarre. Thanks for chiming in on this one.

  7. When I initially saw the video I knew there had to be more to the story. Finding out that she is a doctor and knowing she was dancing in the OR with her colleagues/friends made the story less interesting to me. As far as my own experience before my bilateral mastectomy, I in no way shape or form felt like getting up and doing a jig….. But I have to say that I wasn’t afraid nor was I sad…..I was more excited and anxious to get the “party” started so to say….. That was just me tho. Again remember this woman was dancing with her colleagues/friends… I don’t think it’s that big of a deal… But then media got a hold of it and the way it was portrayed definitely is a big deal….not inspiring at all tho!

    1. Andrea, To each her own. I do really believe that. I just think the reaction to the video was astounding and the messages being sent out were/are not really helping anyone. I think the fact this woman is a doctor sort of makes it more of a big deal in some ways. To some she appeared insensitive. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  8. I avoided the video until I read your post just now. I definitely didn’t feel like dancing. Instead I kept thinking about running away – forever – to a beach somewhere! ….we could just drive right past the hospital and continue on to the airport… cancer doesn’t exist on the beach right?!

    Before my BMx I stressed out about what my last thought would be before going under. I’d never had surgery before and was terrified. I imagine we all have little things we latch on to during this experience. I finally took solace in hearing Pema Chodron quote Rainer Maria Rilke “Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, no feeling is final”.

    To play “angel’s advocate” I’ll suggest that this was HER best way to go into surgery. (You suggested this as well, but still were a little prickly with the video; which is understandable) I’d say that the video can be uncomfortable because the general public may now thinks this is something that people just sail right through, no heart wrenching decisions…… As a doctor she was likely less nervous about the surgery than most of us, since she works in that world every day. I’m sure she had a full range of emotions as we all did/do, but she didn’t have to filter through all the medical mumbo jumbo. I would also assume that once she made her logical decision it was her heart and soul that needed the attention.
    From a psychology standpoint this is a very smart thing to do. Now, her whole surgical team is in a positive space going into surgery. Their chemistry has actually changed. They are more connected to her as a person rather than a “patient” or “case”. Maybe they make that extra effort because they are now connected to her on a heart/soul level.

    I think the video was such a success because those who have not experienced this very much want it to not be as horrible as it is.

    Here is my blog on “no feling is final”

    1. Celeste, Thanks for sharing your interesting perspectives. Maybe this was her best way to face surgery. I don’t begrudge her that. I just wanted to share how I did not find the video to be awesome or inspirational. And making so light of a very serious surgery which so many women face every day sends out a very poor message IMO. Be sure to read the post Lisa Bonchek Adams wrote too. Her insights were exceptionally good. We need to be cautious about creating a cavalier attitude about breast cancer. That’s what this video does in my view. Thank again for reading and commenting.

    2. I think you are dead on when you say that the video is a success because those who have not experienced this very much want it to not be as horrible as it is. I have gotten to where I wish I could start life anew where no one knows what happened to me because it has been hurtful that most people who knew me didn’t want to acknowledge how hard this was on me. They didn’t want to hear that I was afraid and that the aftereffects were very harsh (infections, several surgeries for reconstruction repairs, early menopause, etc.); they just wanted me to dance. My experience the morning of surgery was just as yours Nancy– my husband tearing up and looking utterly terrified. I had already had my anxiety attack a couple of days before. However much I wanted to run and not go in there and be mutilated, I had a son who needed me to fight. But I was no jubilant warrior. Mastectomies are NOT something to celebrate. Thanks so much for posting this.

      1. mmr, I found that whole video and the reaction to it to be just bizarre. Of course, that woman had every right to dance before her mastectomy if she wanted to. I could never fathom doing such a thing, so I wanted to write a response back then about my feelings in order to show that for some of us, the video seemed to trivialize how we reacted before our mastectomies. Seeing the video going viral was troubling to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it.

  9. Nancy, thanks for writing so clearly and articulately about this video. As a woman who will die from metastatic breast cancer, I continue to be offended by others’ trivialization of this killing disease. I would like to see more media highlight the soul and body crushing grind of trying to live with mets.

    1. Phyllis, You’re very welcome. I don’t blame you for feeling offended by the trivialization aspect of all this. I would like to see more media coverage of the entire spectrum of this disease. The pink-parade-party-stuff is getting old isn’t it? Thanks for sharing. My best to you.

    2. For the sake of those whose breast cancers were not or no longer that simple to treat maybe we should say enough with the breast cancer AWARENESS time for more BREAST CANCER ACTION.

      1. I’m sure everyone knew what I mean ideally ACTION towards a CURE to save both the “BOOBIES” or BREASTS and THEIR OWNERS

  10. Nancy, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you. This minimization has to stop. It stems from mortephobia. I get it. People want to distance themselves. They are desperate to believe it’s not that bad. But it is that bad, and worse. I think if we called a mastectomy what it is, an amputation, that would be a start.

    1. Jude, You might be right. An amputation does sound a bit more harsh doesn’t it? Personally, I think it might be a better word choice. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Totally agree with the nomenclature. One of the few friends who acknowledged my grief said the same thing– this is mutilation. I too prefer “breast amputation”. I’ve actually had several young women look at me blankly when I say I’ve had a mastectomy. They seem to have no clue what that means. I think if I said breast amputation they would understand a little better why I can’t lift the heavy grocery bag or buy the pretty–but to me painful– bra they are trying to sell. That said, I have come to realize my husband doesn’t seem to see my chest as having been “amputated” now that there are implants under the skin. Although I still see (and feel) those foobs as just bean bags stuck to me, he can only visually see something similar to what it used to be. In that instance of sexuality I’d prefer he is not reminded of the truth. I guess I feel less feminine and I am afraid of him seeing me that way too. Gosh that was hard for me to admit, and I know others might be stronger and not as bothered by that.

      1. mmr, Some of these things are hard to admit. I understand. I feel much the same as you it seems. I know technically amputations refer to limbs, but still, calling a mastectomy an amputation feels far more accurate. Thank you for validating what many of us feel.

  11. Nancy thank you for writing this. I agree she had a right to dance before her mastectomy but the reality is so different. This type of publicity fuels your other post of people thinking that this was a free boob job. I’ve been bothered too and resisted putting my feelings on paper. I am glad you wrote about Lisa and other incredible women with metastatic breast cancer that truly inspire us.

  12. Nancy, thank you so much for this post. I am positive this was a staged event. I cannot imagine a hospital allowing this in a real operating room just before major surgery because the room and equipment need to be sterile. For what purpose this was done, I don’t know.

    The most accurate words I can think of for describing this keep bringing back the taste of Mom’s Camay soap, so I’ll leave them to your imagination. My surgeon normally has her patients unconscious just before being transported to the operating room, because she feels it is emotionally easier that way. I cannot imagine her joyfully dancing just before surgery. She, as a woman herself, understands it is emotionally devastating for many women and hopes the day comes when drastic surgeries are no longer needed.

    So many things we do not know here. What stage cancer was this woman, for one? Did they remove lymph nodes? (I really doubt it, she was not having any visible trouble with arm movement at the interview.) What kind of mastectomy did she have? (With that lowcut shirt she wore on Good Morning America, I feel pretty sure she must have had a skin sparing with reconstruction started immediately. I know I can’t wear anything cut like that with mastectomy bra and breastforms.)

    I believe I expressed in comments on another blog, it is my personal opinion that skin-sparing mastectomies and modified radical mastectomies should not both be referred to as mastectomies, which the media and “pink” folks do quite regularly without making any distinctions. People get a very false impression, and those of us who medically had to have the more radical surgeries find ourselves perceived as whiners because people do not know that our surgeries were different.

    In one place that showed this, I read some of the comments and I felt sick. Over and over people who claimed (but were they?) to be breast cancer patients wrote what an inspiration she was. One MAN commented how “wonderful” it was because obviously she knew her breasts could be replaced with “bigger and better boobs.”

    My personal opinion: anyone who dances on the way to a mastectomy needs to be in the mental ward. And those doctors and nurses who trivialized cancer and a serious operation can join her there.

    I think staged or real, this is being used as a way of sexualizing and minimizing the seriousness of breast cancer. It is closely related to the “be positive and you will beat it” attitude. It is almost like they are saying, “OK, we still have the same number of women dying (40,000) as 20 years ago. We still are having to amputate breasts. So, since we can’t find a cure, let’s just make everyone think it isn’t so bad.”

    1. Elizabeth, Staged for what purpose though? I just figured the OR staff was willing to be way more lax with the rules since the woman is a physician herself. I don’t think any ordinary woman would get away with something like this. You raise some interesting questions… I love how you always express your opinions so candidly. We all know where you stand on this one! Thanks for adding to this discussion.

    2. Let’s hope the IMMUNE THERAPIES coming on stream that were like the “IMMUNE SYSTEM COACHES” who say “ALL RIGHT TEAM, LET’S GO OUT THERE AND KICK SOME CANCER BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” will either be CURES or even BETTER TREATMENTS with LESS EXTREME SIDE EFFECTS.

  13. I watched just a part of the video and had to stop. This was a doctor? Was it meant to be a commercial advocating surgery? “Look how happy we are to be doing this service!”
    Nancy, you are right in thinking that this is NOT the way it should be!

    1. Sharon, I can’t really watch it either. I keep coming back to that word “bizarre”! That’s what it is to me. bizarre. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. I appreciate it.

  14. Nancy, I’m with you on this one. The whole “let’s be positive no matter what” message doesn’t take into account the traumatic nature of cancer and the accompanying surgeries and treatment. Being positive is a good thing, but sugar-coating every horrific thing that happens looks more like denial to me.

    1. Eileen, Well this video is one dandy example of sugar-coating and then some! That’s a good way to put it. Thanks for chiming in. Glad you’re with me!

  15. Nancy, thank you. I completely agree with you. I’m a doctor, and I sure didn’t dance before my surgery. It was not a happy time. It was not a celebration. And the media response to it is nauseating to me.

    The “she-hero” myth is not helpful or realistic. IMO.

    1. Kira, It’s wonderful to read your response and realize you understand, not just because you’re a doctor, but because you’re a woman. Nauseating, I agree with you there about the media response. It was also disappointing. I agree with you about the “she-hero” myth as well. Not helpful or realistic at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Hi Nancy,

    I haven’t watched the video, nor am I going to because I’m sure it would make me sick. Sure, the patient/doctor would have a right to react in this manner, but I think it’s harmful how the “be positive” message trivializes and minimizes the reality that is breast cancer.

    When I had my bilateral, I was in an entirely different frame of mind. I was actually happy that my breasts were coming off because they had caused me nothing but pain (it was a prophylactic bilateral DIEP procedure). Since the cancer, I had scares all the time on my mammograms, and the final straw was when an MRI picked up a mass in the same breast that had had cancer a few years prior. I decided that enough was enough.

    While I was determined to have these breasts off and very driven to get the medical care I needed, I was in no way, shape, or form joyful and dancing around like an insane person. I knew this stuff was serious, the surgery was serious, and recovery would be so difficult.

    The general public needs to know that breast cancer is not a big party to be celebrated. It’s not an opportunity to show the world how positive one is. It is scary and hell. The attention that video has gotten is inappropriate and sad in my opinion.

    1. Beth, Smart decision on your part not to watch. I like your point about breast cancer and a mastectomy not being an opportunity to show the world how positive one is. Of course, we each do the best we can, but… well you know. Thanks so much for reading and voicing your opinion.

  17. I was not resentful about her video but don’t think I felt like dancing. I remember well going to sleep the night before very apprehensive and sad. Fortunately, I think chemo brain, has blocked going into the OR and even seeing the surgeon from my memory. I do remember telling the oncologist I was in denial about cancer and being reminded what I was going through and had done was SERIOUS. I have tried to be positive but would be lying if I didn’t say those times of fear and negativity don’t creep into the picture. I can’t help believe that the dancing was not a way to cover the fear. And if that is/was her way of dealing with it, great. Each person has their own way
    I did have trouble with people, with good intentions, following my last day of chemo and radiation, telling me to celebrate and rejoice, when I still felt pretty bad with chemo/radiation side effects. Yes, the treatment was over, but not the cancer.

    1. Alex, I completely relate about that celebrating and rejoicing expectation following chemo. I remember getting a certificate, a bottle of sparkling apple juice or something and being congratulated. Of course, I was thrilled to be done with that aspect of treatment, but I wasn’t in a celebratory mood at all. At the time, I thought it was just me, now I know better. I agree each person has her own way to deal, but when the messages go viral and so many people are eating this stuff up, that’s when I feel it’s also okay for me (or anyone) to step in a voice concern with those messages. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  18. First, she is a doctor, this would not be allowed for persons.
    Second, I would not have been able to dance more than likely, I may have stumbled form the xanax they had already provided.
    Lastly, & most importantly, I did enjoy the video, & as a a person who likes to dance everywhere & doesn’t care since my surgeries I almost felt a tad envious. Why? Because I made a point to make jokes with the OR staff, I found it made me relax more, laughter is the best medicine, plus I was Not told that I was irate when I did this, when I did not make jokes with staff, I did become irate upon being awakened, cussing my doctor out like a sailor… I did think about this video, & no, I would not want to get up & dance in the OR, I would rather just be transferred from bed to bed without getting up…at least I think so…

    1. Laura, You’re right about the rest of us probably not being allowed to do such a thing. Still, since she was/is a doctor and there was to be a video, perhaps she should have been a bit more careful about the messages it was sending and how some might not have found it appealing or appropriate. I think it’s almost irresponsible for a doctor to do this unless it’s to be kept private. Or she should have been more careful whose hands it ended up in. Did she have an agenda as some have suggested? I don’t know. I wouldn’t care to guess about or judge her on that. As I wrote in my piece, I’m just concerned about the messages being put out there and how so many are so eager to lap up the positive spin when reality for many of us if far far different. Thanks for adding to this dialogue. It’s pretty interesting.

  19. Thank you Nancy for writing this. I thought I was alone in my hatred for that video. I agree, that woman has every right to behave as she pleases right before her operation. It was how it was posted and shared…. the operation itself has been trivialized.

    1. Maesprose, I’m glad I went ahead and posted this one, too, because just like you, I thought maybe I was alone, but at the same time, suspected I was not. As you can see, we were not! Thanks so much for the feedback and I agree about the trivialization of the operation.

  20. Nancy,
    I had forgotten about this video after reading about it on Lisa Bonchek Adams’ blog a few weeks ago, but I watched the link you provided to the GMA interview and read the many comments already posted here and got those mixed feelings again. I can respect that Dr. Cohan uses dancing like I use running and writing, but I am concerned that too many of those who viewed the video walked away with the wrong idea. I doubt she meant to trivialize this experience for others, but in a way that is what happened. I went in to my bilateral mastectomies with a positive attitude too, but I wasn’t feeling like dancing. A positive attitude can take many forms. I wrote a poem a couple days prior to my surgery called “Goodbye Breasts.” It was as heartfelt and emotional as her dance, but it isn’t likely to go viral. We live in a society that wants to sugarcoat too much, and in the process we deny the grief and loss. It is also why we are stuck in the pink muck of misguided breast cancer awareness.
    I agree, Lisa Bonchek Adams is far more inspirational. I think of her and others with MBC and the help they need. I don’t think Dr. Cohan’s dance helped much.

    1. Lisa, I’m sure the doctor in the video had completely good intentions. Still, as a physician, letting such a thing go viral was a bit insensitive IMO. And you’re right, who did her dance really help? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  21. Nancy, thank you for blogging about this video. I wanted to but back-burnered it after I read Lisa’s powerful post. On that post of Lisa’s, I wrote “I also just had a lengthy discussion on this video with my [breast cancer] group and we were all disturbed by it…. The biggest issue [I have] is the feeling of joy. There is no joy in having your breasts removed. PS My friends that I saw posting this on Facebook and talking about how awesome it was are NOT breast cancer patients. That in and of itself is always telling…”

    Maybe I’m the oddball here, but there was no abso-effin-lutely way that I could have danced before my surgery — or any of the six that followed. I think because she is a physician she is a) more comfortable in a clinical setting b) she had her biddies in the room with her (the rest of us were alone with strangers aside from our doctor) and c) I would lay money down that the intent from the get-go was to have the video go viral.

    I don’t know. There’s just nothing for me to take away from watching that video except to feel bad that I was (am) unable to feel so positively about getting the cancer out.

    Keep blogging about the hard stuff, Nancy. The more we all do it, the more we break down the facade of cancer.

    1. Renn, I agree with everything you said. I don’t doubt that as a physician this woman felt more comfortable in the clinical setting, but still, as a woman and a physician, shouldn’t she have also realized if such a video went viral, it might be hurtful to some? I’m still going with “bizarre”… that’s what it still is to me. Thanks for reading and sharing your perspectives, Renn.

  22. I originally saw this and, in the mood that I was in, I celebrated life with this woman. I enjoyed it and I shared it.

    Later, I didn’t like it at all. For the exact reasons you describe. It really is all a big part of that “stay positive” bullshit. Now when I look at even a still shot from the video I only say to myself, “I can’t dance.” And I turn away.

    Breast cancer is not a picnic, even when you do get to dance.

    1. Scorchy, I find this video, or the reaction to it, to be more disturbing the more I think about it, so I choose not to anymore! ha. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Each to their own I say although I never did click on this clip when I came across it because I just knew I would have reservations about the super positive message.
    My husband just gave me a hard time for not showing any emotion or fear while I am waiting for the results of my biopsy. My follow up Mammogram and ultrasound resulted in very “concerned” comments from the radiographer including mention of double mastectomy before even seeing the Dr. The Dr said no point thinking about until the results of the biopsy. I’ll deal with it when I know the facts. Apparently, I’m supposed to be having a meltdown or if I’m not, am in denial of possible outcomes. Or, I’m a robot.
    I’m none of these, I’m just going with the flow and will find out my breast future or possible life future, tomorrow. This doesn’t make me positive or celebratory, or a robot, it’s just the way I am thinking and feeling.
    So, thinking what will be, will be and thought I’ve have a bit of a look at some blogs to see what I’m ‘supposed’ to be feeling.
    My love to all you wonderful women who are on some level of the breast cancer journey. Stride it as you will and my love and best wishes to you all. x

    1. Alli, I agree, to each their own. The thing about this particular video that struck me was how it was so quickly embraced and held up as an example of sorts. And now it’s even in a TV commercial. Bizarre, I’ll stick with that word to describe it. And please do continue to absorb, process and react in the way that feels right for you. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. My best to you as well.

  24. Well said! I live in Australia so this is the first I have seen of the video. But I so agree with your sentiments. I also hate the FB pictures of a person on their last day of chemo holding a sign “I kicked cancer’s butt.” They never think of those of us who will NEVER finish chemo, we never hear updates of those people down the track. Everyone who hasn’t been there (here) just doesn’t understand. Maybe the dancing patient just did that for the camera, and was not so bright and gay on the inside. Don’t know. But, even so, it just looks silly to me and not worth the air time.
    Thanks for your blog, there is very little support here in Australia, I am so glad to have found kindred spirits across the oceans who I can feel safe with.

    1. Karyn, I think about people who will never finish chemo, too, when I see those FB photos. But that dancing video really irked me, not because the woman danced (she had every right to do that), but rather the fact it went viral and that she was invited to be on GMA. Like her way was a gold standard or something. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    2. Maybe if some of them had complicated breast cancer in the sense that their breast cancer had the temerity to migrate to other parts of the body, they could say in a sense, “WE KICKED CANCER’S A** OR ASS (FOR NOW THAT IS.). I wonder if that is the VERY GROUP who would have to be USED TO CHEMO SIDE EFFECTS and “CHEMO CAPS” for HAIR LOSS.


  25. No problem with dancing before her mastectomy. Each of us needs to react to breast cancer in a way that will get them through such a horrible disease. I was optimistic from the very beginning of my diagnosis. Totally refused to let breast cancer take over my life. Having three daughters, I also had to show them what I had always preached to them to be strong and fight any battle that comes your way.

  26. Dancing around before surgery would have been the last thing on my mind! I could barely make myself walk into the hospital that morning. If my Daughter had not been with me, I would have turned around and left. In the previous 8 months I had gone through 2 lumpectomies and hospitalized three times with staff infections. Twelve chemo treatments in between. Surgeon first thought another lumpectomy was needed. But after the 3D mammogram he decided on the mastectomy surgery. Did I feel like dancing? Not on my life! I wanted to quit, say enough is enough! Still have chemo every three weeks. Ready to stop this madness! Thank you for posting!

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