Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four Best Shows for Breast Cancer Patients

So, you are doing chemo or recovering from surgery, and you don't have a ton of energy.  You want to veg on the couch and watch TV.  So, what shows and movies does this breast cancer patient recommend to help get you through the days?

I thought you'd never ask.

1.  Deadliest Catch. 

What?  A show about hard-bitten crab fisherman working in the Bering Sea?  Why would that show be good for those undergoing breast cancer treatment? 

I'll tell you why.  We have all had that experience of feeling like we just can't do it one more day. Can't do chemo, can't climb the stairs to the Oncology ward.  It's too hard.  Well, watch as Sig's crew battles thousands of pounds of ice forming from spray on the boat at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of the Bering Sea - for 20 hours straight.  Do your bones ache from Tamoxifen?  Watch as Phil skippers the boat with a severe backache - year after year.    Feel like you don't want to see one more doctor, ever again?  You'll see the boys pull their hundred thousandth crab out of icy water - and then do it again.  Fear death?  Watch as they climb on crab pots in hurricane force winds, watch as the coast guard does heroic and dangerous at-sea rescues.  Watch as some don't make it.

The boat heaves, the guys get no sleep for days, weeks on end, they do the hardest physical labor in the most grueling conditions for 30 hours at a time - if they can do that, well, I know I can sit in a barcalounger and let somebody hook an IV up to me.  The stakes are a bit higher for me too - they only get money.  I get my life.

(This is also the most beautiful HD show on TV)

2.  Sex and the City.

Sometimes, people get tired of hearing about cancer.  Sometimes, you get tired of talking about it.  Sometimes, friends aren't there for you in the ways you'd hoped, and sometimes you don't have the energy to be there for them.  You may be exhausted, sporting bags under your eyes, never getting enough sleep.  If you are like me, you might have even kept your pajamas on for days.  You may have no breasts, no hair, no energy.

The antidote is Carrie and friends - always beautiful, always supportive of each other.  Of course, they always look fabulous and the fashion holds up decades later - but the writing of the show is warm, funny, meaningful. It's about friends, and mistakes, and love.   I have seen the complete series dozens of times and still don't get tired of my girls.  No matter how exhausted I'm feeling, after watching Sex and the City, I feel better.  And, an added bonus - Samantha got breast cancer in the 6th season and had to do chemo.

One of us!.   

3.  A Man Named Pearl

My favorite film style is documentary.   This movie is a lovely story about a man who wanted to win Yard of the Month in his small town and ended up learning to create topiary from thrown away plants.  He created the most magical topiary art in his yard, and it pretty soon took over the whole town.  Those dealing with cancer will enjoy it, because the lesson is life can be meaningful in unconventional ways.  Out of his hobby and talent, Pearl learned art, has helped generations of kids by allowing them on his property for tours, beautified his entire town and even became a college teacher.  You will also admire the intelligence and work ethic of Pearl, a remarkable man.  Aching bones will feel better after watching this uplifting movie, I promise.

4.    Groundhog Day

This is my favorite movie of all-time.  What's not to love about a man who lives the same day, over and over, and eventually finds meaning in the mundane?  No matter how long or short our lives are, the lesson is it is those little, quiet moments where you are fulfilling your promise or promise to others that make a life.

What movies or TV shows have been inspiring and comforting to you as you went through treatment?


  1. I loved 'Shall We Dance?' I thought the marriage was beautifully portrayed. We get caught up in the busy-ness, and drift a little, but in a good marriage, you draw close again. I felt isolated sometimes, as if I was the only person who understood, and it was scary. I have a good marriage though, and despite my times of isolation, we drew close. Again, and again, and again.

  2. I also liked the Sex in the City movie - the first one. Samantha is still coping with long term breast cancer issues... I thought they handled it very well and show someone getting their life back afterwards.

  3. My favorite is "As Good as it Gets" with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicolson. http://onlygypsytravels.blogspot.com/

  4. Thank you for a simple reminder amongst the chaos.

  5. I would watch hours of "Deadliest Catch" for those same reasons. Somehow lying in bed feeling like crap just didn't seem so bad compared to working for 2 strait days in sub-zero temps and hurricane strength winds for a few thousand dollars.

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  7. Ah, thank you for the laugh. I just stumbled onto your blog and you are funny! I agree that good, fun tv/movies are important in the long difficult days. I've been reading books about people surviving the Holocaust, the 1922 displacement of Greek refugees and others surviving the harsh Australian outback at the turn of the century - very inspiring. Slumdog Millionaire was pretty good too!


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