A Shameless Plug

 

I think one would be living under a rock not to know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I know of far too many people who have found their lives upended with such a diagnosis.  People in my family;  people I love and have loved with all I’ve got.   Friends who are inextricably connected to me through shared history, experience or circumstance.   And to deny the insidious, silent way that one’s body can morph from one moment to the next is just folly.  It happens all the time.

As it did to my friend Jill Foer Hirsch.  Jill is a breast cancer survivor, writer and humorist (I would put the emphasis on humorist, for there is little that Jill can’t find the humor in).  She recently published a book When Good Boobs Turn Bad – A Mammoir.  When Jill received her diagnosis, there was certainly fear, shock, disbelief.  There were tears.  And then Jill returned to form – “I have good news and bad news; the bad news is that I have breast cancer.  The good news is I’m seeing a hot plastic surgeon who keeps telling me to take my shirt off.”

And so she shares her journey with total candor and gentle humor.  It’s how she managed to endure surgeries and chemo, the vulnerability of returning to work and the tenuous re-immersion into her life.  I’m not going to speak about Jill’s courage – that’s not her thing (though she is one remarkably strong and accomplished woman).   She doesn’t see herself that way.  She would prefer to make an acceptance speech, receive an award for her light touch and flair for the comedic.  And in my eyes, she deserves all that and more.

I was honored to review her book.  I am more honored to know her, to be able to laugh with her and celebrate life at the local diner where we both indulge in grilled cheese sandwiches and fries (before you tell me how unhealthy it is – I know that.  But it’s diner fare, and we don’t get together all that often).  She and her husband recently celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary surrounded by friends and family.  I won’t even tell you how irreverent their new vows were to each other (suffice it to say that Jill felt that since their first wedding ceremony was in Hebrew and neither of them understood what they were committing to, it was time to define the parameters on their own terms).

Breast cancer isn’t funny.  Jill was diligent in ensuring that her medical care was excellent, followed her protocols seriously, and would occasionally wear animal hats to her appointments.  We all do what we have to do to get through.  Jill relied on humor.  Finding moments that could engage her funny bone.  To lose her ability to laugh would have been a concession that she was not prepared to make.  Her outlook is inspiring – and may be a balm for anyone who is navigating the challenging path of fighting such a  formidable foe.  I am one of her biggest fans – and have been since we met years ago.   The greatest takeaway from her book is the grace that is evident when taking circumstances seriously, but ourselves lightly.  I am proud of her for sharing her story; I am proud to be her friend.   And though this is a shameless plug for her book, it is representative of a perspective that I respect and applaud.  She is healthy and she is well – and we laugh.  Oh, how we laugh.  Congratulations my dear friend – I am hopeful this book will be a welcome respite for anyone who may be on this challenging path.

meltzer-friend-cracked

50 thoughts on “A Shameless Plug

  1. Not a shameless plug at all. Homage to friendship, courage, dignity, humor and how her gifts have impacted you. Hoping they help her beat the beast and feeling pretty confident they will. Here’s to remission and a cure and here’s to strong friendship that definitely makes possible the mindset leading to the other two. She is lucky to have you in her corner. Beautiful post, Mimi.

  2. Oh Mimi, I think I’m crying more now than when I got cancer! More than when I realized that repeating after the Rabbi meant that I was married! Your writing, and humor, is so refined that I can only stand back and look on in awe. I feel very lucky to have met you, worked with you, laughed with you (until we snorted) and shared grilled cheese sandwiches at our favorite hot spot. And so much more to come. Life is good, and we should both receive some sort of red carpet award. Lots of love XOXOXO

    • Anyone who reads your book is going to feel better honey – it is a gift to hearts that are feeling fragile and scared. And as for luck? I think that feeling is mutual..xox

  3. Beautiful tribute to a woman who, it would seem, inspiration is the legacy. I’m buying the book, not just because I love you…but because I know I will love her. You are blessed Mim…and I venture to say, so is she. xoxo

  4. Mimi, a wonderful tribute to to your friend. As you know I am with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. There are so many courageous stories that I hear often from individuals like Jill that it gives me that extra internal nudge to do everything I can to help move our institution closer to finding a lasting cure for all cancers. I believe, that in the next 10-20 years that may become a reality for many of the cancers.

    I am moved by her story and will also read her book and pass it along to others. Thanks for sharing.

    Bill

    • I’m glad you saw this Bill – and I hope it offers some moments of light for people who are on this difficult road. I’m very familiar with the amazing work that is being done at M.D. Anderson. I too share your hope and belief that there is a cure for all cancers out there that is almost within our reach. Thank you…m

  5. I read the book. It is a testimony to courage. I wish I would have been able to use humor as effectively when I went through it. Her take on some of the stuff was hysterical but she didn’t sugar coat the procedures either. Should be required reading for any with a breast cancer diagnosis.

  6. not shameless when you’re tooting someone else’s horn, Mimi. Very cool that your friend is dealing with a nasty situation with humor and grace. Not as eloquently written, but here’s a blog of a friend of a frend: http://meanmeanboobs.blogspot.com/ Don’t think she’s added to it for a while, which is good as it means she’s doing well. Wishing the best for your friend as well.

    • I agree with you Danny – she has always had my respect and love. And the manner in which she faced this incredibly challenging time in her life was laudable.

  7. The title of that book is so great…and the strength of your friend is so evident in the words that you have shared, Mimi. Cancer is all around us, it is everywhere…and we all benefit so greatly from having such wonderful people to help us all to get through the difficulties happening within ourselves or our friends or relatives. I will be looking for that book…thank you.

    • She is really wonderful and I am sure her book will provide some solace and a bright spot for those who are going through a tremendously trying time…thank you…

  8. What a wonderful ‘plug,’ honey, and not the least bit shameless, as it’s done with all your heart for someone you clearly admire. It sounds like an *amazing* book, and I’m humbled by Jill’s courage and fortitude in the face of such a terrifying illness. May she laugh and love for many years to come….

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