Thursday, October 6, 2011


Yesterday, I had a very long day.  It started with a doctor appointment at 9AM and ended at 8PM in a parking garage in Manhattan.  While I was waiting for my car, I grabbed my iPhone which had been silenced for the past two hours.

My Information Compass, aka my son who alerts me to any BIG news a full five minutes before it's available on CNN, Fox or MSNBC sent me a text.  Steve Jobs died.  It was very sad to read those words and it was particularly upsetting having just left a room where I was seated with a dozen other survivors.  We were a mixed group.  A few pink wimps with cancer-lite mixing with the likes of melanoma, colon, sarcoma, renal and yes, pancreatic.

I just spent two hours inside the Rockefeller Research Laboratories building on the campus of Sloan Kettering with the most extraordinary men and women.  I am inspired by this particular group of people in so many ways.  The awe of being in their company was quickly replaced by the shock of the message on my phone.

The news was viral.  It was on every radio station and when I got home, it was on every TV channel, too.  My chemobrain may mess me up in plenty of ways, but I did remember reading something days earlier.  The Nobel Prize for Medicine was announced two days prior.  One of the recipients was a cell biologist at Rockefeller University.

There is a partnership among Rockefeller University, Sloan Kettering and Cornell where high reward research is conducted with minimal bureaucratic involvement.  Ralph Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering a particular cell that is far too technical for me to even attempt to understand.

What I do understand is that he used these cells in combination with standard chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.  He used his discovery to treat his own disease.  The announcement was made from Stockholm on October 3.  Ralph M Steinman died of pancreatic cancer on September 30, never knowing he was awarded such an honor.

For now, pink will have to take a back seat.  The purple ribbon just lost two superstars in five days.

PS-I hope, if you haven't already heard the only commencement address ever delivered by Steve Jobs, you will take the time to watch him on You Tube or read the highlights on Marie's "Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer."


  1. The loss of Steve Jobs is indeed very sad, as is the loss of Ralph M. Steinman. The loss of every life from cancer is sad, and at a time like this I also find myself thinking about those more "quiet losses."

    And I like your comment about pink taking a back seat for a couple of days. It needs to "step out of the way" for a bit.

  2. It was just so surreal for me to see the text on my phone having JUST walked out of Rock Research Lab. I knew about the death of Ralph Steinman because the committee didn't know how to handle the situation. They never posthumously bestow awards. The Nobel Prize people didn't know he died and he didn't know he won AND he won for a discovery with which he was treating his own pancreatic cancer dx. There is something just so poignant in the entire story. Although I was aware of the Nobel Prize, hearing about Steve Jobs immediately upon leaving a building that houses some of those very labs connected the two men together and in some twisted way, made me feel connected to the entire thing. I'm sure this is making no sense but I DO understand what I'm trying to say!!!

  3. AM, you post sent chills down my spine. I get ya! Thanks for sharing the Jobs' Stanford address link. I'd never heard it before.

  4. Thanks for including a link to my post on what Steve Jobs taught us about living and dying Anne Marie - I am also very much in agreement with Nancy when she says that "the loss of every life from cancer is sad". One thing we have learned is that cancer is no respecter of age, gender, status, or anything else - it takes what it can, when it can, regardless..

  5. Renn.... Marie..... After posting this and realizing my brain was truly fried after such a long day, I was drained. Shortly after Friday's entry, I learned of the death of a friend's dad. Also pancreatic cancer. It's time to change the conversation. It really is.


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