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Thursday, September 27, 2012


When I was around 12, I developed an obsession with infectious diseases. I read a million books about Ebola, Legionnaires' disease, Hanta, and all the rest. So when the movie Outbreak came out, I. was. ob.sessed. I think I must have come across it at the video store, and the rest is history. I watched it approximately eight million times. The trailer, which I never saw until the magic of Youtube, is above.

When I found out about all the tumors in my boob, I thought of this masterpiece of American cinema. Specifically, when Donald Sutherland is predicting the spread of the virus, and he flatly marks the progression of time and spread of the disease - "24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours..." It's around 1:20 in the above trailer. I pictured all my small tumors growing and connecting, turning my breast into a mass of red. Red = bad, on the map DSuth is showing.

If you're at all familiar with the plot of this movie (in which Patrick Dempsey makes an extremely embarrassing appearance) you might remember that Donald Sutherland wants to blow up this little town to contain the virus. (And something about biological weapons...)

To make his case, Sutherland urges the other decision makers (who are they? No idea) to "be compassionate, but be compassionate globally." Yes, I just recited that from memory. And yes, I do see the irony in the idea of being compassionate "globally" now that I am globe-less.

I went with Donald Sutherland on this one. I blew up the town. I chopped off the boobs.

It's not for everyone.


  1. I was 27 when I was diagnosed with Triple negative BC. I got one chopped off, and now 5 years later, get to make another lovely decision about the other one - since it's been poked and cut open & biopsied every year since the Big C. It's staring at me now saying "no, no! Remember, I'm the good one! Don't do it!" Funny how the choices we make - we get to live with them even when all directions suck a big one. Love reading your blog, bittersweet, intimate, vulnerable, angry...and comforting. Glad to hear I'm not alone. thanks.

    1. It's such an impossible decision. With cancer, or anything like it, you have all these options so there's this illusion of choice. But, like you said, all the options suck. There's no "or get a puppy instead!" (Why oh why??)
      I'm sorry your remaining boob is causing so much strife. My prophylactic side has been very obedient, which sometimes makes me wonder what would have happened if I had kept it.
      Thanks so much for your comment, and good luck with your decision. (Maybe you should say fuck it and just get a puppy.)

    2. Sweet Jeezus, Emily, even the comments make me cry. Your year video was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Perfectly real, and stunning in its honesty. Props for your strength in the face of so much to be afraid of. Much love from Florida.