Tag: cancer

When My Mother Became the Freaking Buddha



Author’s note: As I mentioned in another column, I’m working on a novel that contains a character loosely based on my mother, partly just as an excuse to have her in my head. In the process, I ended up rereading this old essay. The illness described here was not the one that finally got her — she was around another 13 years.

“When My Mother Became The Freaking Buddha” is adapted from my 2005 collection, Above Us Only Sky.

One day in May of 1995, I got a call from my mother. “I was just picking up the phone to call you,” I assured her, knowing she was anxious to hear the latest on a book deal I was hoping to get. I was supposed to call the minute I knew anything, but I hadn’t. Well, only two days had gone by since I’d heard the news, which wasn’t too good, and anyway, one has to balance the pleasantness of one’s mother’s interest in the minutiae of one’s life with its faintly annoying aspect.

Making up for my tardiness, I launched into the tale, and it wasn’t until she broke in and said, “Well, I have to go soon and —”

“I’m almost done,” I said.

“Yes, but I have some bad news.”

No. “What?”

“Well… It looks like I have a little cancer,” she said, and then, in the five minutes remaining until her boyfriend Ceddie picked her up to go eat Chinese, and interrupted by my shrieks of what and how and when, she told me that she’d been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, she had known for over a month, she was starting a course of chemotherapy and radiation on Friday, and she had a fifty percent chance of cure. Then Ceddie was there, and she had to run. “Oh, Mommy,” I said helplessly.

Hopkins Builds New $100 Million Cancer Center

Image via Ayers Saint Gross Architects
Image via Ayers Saint Gross Architects

Have you noticed the new construction going on at the corner of Fayette Street and North Broadway in East Baltimore? In a little more than two years, that building site will be transformed into a cutting-edge $100 million cancer treatment center.

Gov. Hogan’s Cancer “95 Percent Gone”



Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has had quite a rollercoaster of a year. First, he won a race with the odds stacked against him; then just a few months into his first term, doctors told him that he had an aggressive form of cancer and his body was riddled with 60 tumors. Now, in his first face-to-face interview since he revealed his diagnosis earlier this summer, Hogan told the Washington Post that the cancer was effectively “dead.”

Breast Cancer Survivors at Risk of Weight Gain, Hopkins Study Says



By the time a woman can call herself a breast cancer survivor, she’s been through a lot — generally, a scary diagnosis and then an even scarier treatment. But the health risks of breast cancer may be more wide-reaching than previously thought, according to recent research out of Johns Hopkins. 

Johns Hopkins Stars in New Ken Burns Cancer Documentary



Filmmaker Ken Burns has already famously tackled classic examples of Americana, including baseball, the national parks, and the Civil War. His next documentary subject, however, is a bit more unexpected: cancer.

Brown Soda Raises Cancer Risk, Johns Hopkins Says



I’m never going to be able to fully enjoy a Diet Coke again after reading this news out of Johns Hopkins: The chemical that makes soda brown also has the unfortunate side effect of basically being a carcinogen

What Causes Cancer? Bad Luck, Johns Hopkins Says



We’re regularly bombarded with messages telling us to not smoke, avoid tanning beds, and avoid other activities likely to cause cancer. But according to recent research out of Johns Hopkins, the most common factor determining whether or not someone gets cancer isn’t our actions or activities; it’s not even our genetic history. Instead, it’s the one thing we can’t control: luck.

Towson President Takes Leave of Absence



In an email to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, Towson University President Maravene Loeschke announced that she would be taking a leave of absence from her position through December.

This Week in Research: Cancer Moves in 3D



Image of cancer cells moving through a 3D collagen matrix by by Johns Hopkins Univeristy graduate student Anjil Giri
Image of cancer cells moving through a 3D collagen matrix by by Johns Hopkins Univeristy graduate student Anjil Giri

Cancer cells are mysterious little guys that can wreak a lot of havoc. One way to fight against them is to understand them better — know your enemy and all that, right? — which is why this new research out of Johns Hopkins is exciting.

For a long time, biologists assumed cancer moved through the body in a slow, staggering kind of way, a behavior they poetically dubbed “random walk.” But one group of Johns Hopkins researchers started to wonder whether the cancer cells’ random movement wasn’t so random after all. Whereas most cancer studies are done using flat lab dishes, this group decided to use sophisticated mathematical modeling to examine how the cells would move through a 3D environment. And they found that they “follow more direct, almost straight-line trajectories,” according to professor Denis Wirtz.

Johns Hopkins Shares in Major Cancer Research Gift

Photo via Cornell Medicine
Photo via Cornell Medicine

For 34 years, Johns Hopkins spent more on research than any other university in the country, amounting to $2.106 billion in 2012 alone. And now you can add to that the $90  million that the university’s Kimmel Cancer Center just received as part of a massive half-billion gift from Ludwig Cancer Research.

Hopkins scientists at the Kimmel Center have received Ludwig money before; in 2006, they used a $20 million gift from the foundation to create one of the first genomic maps of cancer.