Friday, September 16, 2011

Lessons from HOPE 2011

Many thanks to Sabrina Mosseau, RN at Samaritan Hospital Cancer Center for creating and hosting last night’s HOPE 2011 party, dinner and education event. The theme was “Difficult Conversations” and they were conversations about: Fear of Mammogram and Colonoscopy; Fear about Money and Fear and Silence around Sex.

Many thanks too to Hilton Garden Inn in Troy for a fabulous venue and amazing dinner—proving that healthy food can indeed be gourmet and delicious.

I was one of the speakers but, as always, I did the learning from women in the audience. I learned that—for sure—there is not enough talk about sex in Cancer Land. And not just about their own cancers—many breast cancer survivors were in attendance --but the other cancers women experience, and their husband’s cancers. One woman told me that her husband’s doctor said to him, one hand on the door knob, “Wear a condom,” but didn’t say when, for how long or under what circumstances. That’s so crazy.

I learned that most of us want to hear more about sex—related to cancer and just related to our lives and we want a safe, comfortable setting to learn in. Most of us don’t talk to our friends about our—and their—sex lives—so we miss so much information –and we miss comfort.

I also learned that there are other women who want to kick back against the pastel, fragile, powerless image of women with cancer and who will meet cancer’s fierceness with their own.

And I learned—and loved this—that you can buy lymphedema “garments” –important after breast cancer surgery—that look like tattoos and groovy, chic tee shirt sleeves.

Amy Winehouse would certainly approve!

For more information and tons of resources contact: Sabrina Mosseau, RN, OCN at

No comments: