Blossom Ball 2019
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8TH - Cipriani Wall Street
Thank you. Thank you, thank you everybody. I'm so happy to be here tonight, and you know, and thank you, Doctor. All the doctors, all the honorees, all the great work that the Endometriosis Foundation of America does on behalf of women all over the nation is just so moving to me. I was so happy to be asked to receive this great honor, and also to help the organization to continue to bring notoriety to it to bring press to it, to make it know the amazing work that they do.
So, I thank you, the Endometriosis Foundation of America. I really do, for recognizing what I do, and for doing what you do as well. I think that the 21st century is about inclusive, not exclusive in the non-profit space, and wherever we can support each other, that's when we're going to move mountains and make a big change occur. So, again, this is a very moving moment for me to be here, because I'm about to celebrate 19 years well from uterine cancer. Thank you, and the only problem was it took me two years and eight doctors to get a proper diagnosis. I got in the stirrups more times than Django, and every doctor had a different kind of diagnosis for me, and a different solution for my symptoms.
I have been speaking to a lot of the women in this room who have encountered over the years similar experience. I mean, one doctor said I had leg pain because I had Restless Leg Syndrome and I should drink gin and tonic before going to bed, and then another doctor said that my stool changed because I was eating too much spinach, and then another doctor said that my breasts were so hard because "tits of an 18 year old", which I do, but there I was in need of roughage, perky breasts, going to bed slushed, in some vain attempt to cure myself. So, it was a lot of persistence, eight doctors, well when doctor number eight said that I should take an endometrial biopsy, that was the test that doctor number said that I was too young for, and I didn't ask, "Why? What would that prove or disprove?"
I was just so happy to be too young for anything, but in fact that was my diagnosis of uterine cancer was because of that simple in office test. So, I felt very compromised. I felt betrayed by my body and by the medical community that it had taken me so long, and to have a radical hysterectomy was going to be my cure and I had not had children yet. So, it's a particularly bitter pill to swallow, and I remember one day I was looking at myself in the mirror after I had come home from surgery and my body was so misshapen and swollen and black and blue, and there was cruel red line going across my pubic bone and I looked at myself and I thought, "I'm never going to be the same person that I was one year ago on The Nanny."
I felt so sad and not like myself at all, because I was always everybody's Super Woman. I was the starker. I was the one that helped other people. I wasn't the weak one, and here I was the only one that had cancer. Well, it was on that day that my cousin Susan was coming to visit and my mom and my parents had come to take care of me, and my mom had just made lunch and we all gathered around the dining room table to eat and Susan was talking and eating, and suddenly she starts choking on her food, and I had seen this in a restaurant before, so I knew what was happening, and without even skipping a beat, I jumped to my feet and I started doing the Heimlich Maneuver.
Well, my dad who rarely comes up for air when there's food placed in front of him said, "What's going on here?" And mom in a voice not unlike my own said, "Don't rip your stitches," and every time I did the Heimlich Maneuver, cousin Susan's glass of white wine, which was still in her hand splashed across the room until finally miraculously this little piece of regurgitated poultry pops out of her mouth. Well, we all gathered around to look at it. Mom bent down with a big white napkin to pick it up, examined it and said, "It's not even that big," and then she flicked it to the dog, "Here, boy." And cousin Susan still gasping for breath said, "Fran, you saved my life."
I really did save her life, but in a funny way on that day, Cousin Susan saved mine, because it was in that moment I began to feel like my old self again. Life goes on. On one random Tuesday afternoon when life bites you on the butt and it changes forever, it's never going to be the same again, you can be mired in the depths of despair. You could be saying, "Why me, Lord? This wasn't supposed to happen to me," or "This wasn't supposed to happen to my loved ones," but nobody has a crystal ball. We don't know what's going to happen five minutes from now let alone the rest of our lives. So, we must play the hand that's dealt us as elegantly and courageously as we possibly can, and we have to somehow pivot what's happening into some kind of an opportunity.
So, I decided to write the book Cancer Schmancer, because I didn't want what happened to me to happen to other people by means of misdiagnosis and mistreatment, but then I realized what happened to me has happened to millions of Americans. Many people right here in this room, misdiagnosis and mistreatment, and unfortunately for many women and men, late stage cancer diagnosis as a consequence. I was lucky. I was still in stage one even after two years and eight doctors. So, I'm very grateful about that, but it's just, when I started realizing that this is so common, I started to create a vision about what needed to change in a country as rich as ours, why was this happening so much?
So, I knew that the book was not the end, but just the beginning of what has now become a life mission so I founded the Cancer Schmancer movement, and thank you, and I hope you all go to CancerSchmancer.org or go to SusanH@CancerSchmancer.org and find out more about what we do, because we compliment other organizations like this. We are the ones that are asking the questions why? What is the causation? How you live equals how you feel. So, you have to start looking at how you live and not be a mindless consumer, but be a mindful consumer, because we are living in very toxic times, and even if you have a gene, genes have at least 28 different ways to express themselves.
So, what is causing it to express itself in a negative way? It may be fragile, but what can we do to support the body? What can we do to create greater immune systems, greater internal systemic function? And that's what we at Cancer Schmancer do, and right now, especially if you have kids, you can go to CancerSchmancer.org and you can watch a great little half hour video that I made with Jamie Fox and Jeff Bridges and a bunch of kids, and it's targeting families to learn how to be the change, because kids today for the first time in US history are predicted to not live as long as their parents, and we don't want to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I understand that the Endometriosis Foundation is also supporting a big education movement targeting kids in schools.
So, there's a lot of synergy here, and I just feel like I want to wake up and shake up, educate, motivate, and activate people to understand that they can effectively reduce their risk of all kinds of disease if they just start looking at what they're buying. What are they putting in their mouth? What are they putting on their skin? All their personal care items including oral hygiene. What are cleaning and gardening with? Start with that, and you will reduce your risk disease, and at the same time you'll be dictating more responsible manufacturing trends, because what's important is our health and the health of the planet, and I'm not against making money, believe me, but making money at the expense of all things of true value.
No, that's not good. That's not good. Our health, our children's health, the health of the planet, we're one big interdependent organism, and it's very important that we recognize that and start pivoting our thinking to not abuse things, but actually shepherd things so everything thrives, and so that's the portal that I'm coming in, and I'm very happy and delighted to be recognized for these efforts. I hope you got to CancerSchmancer.org. I hope you come to y Cancer Schmancer dinner cruise in New York Harbor on June 24th. I'll be there and it's our Cabaret night. We get such great talent and organic food of course, because we walk the talk, but in any case, I just want to say that Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Let's not take the path and see where it goes, but go where there's no path and leave a trail."
So, that's what we're trying to do, and I hope that you can follow me and organizations like this who are trying to take the road less traveled and find new answers and solutions and ask the questions why as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Women are like teabags. We never know how strong we are, until we're put in hot water." Thank you, and God bless. Thank you. Thank you so much.
[inaudible 00:13:38]. Here it is the 10th anniversary award acknowledging your advocacy for early diagnoses and prevention in women's health. Fran Drescher, tomorrow will be beautiful.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. I shall cherish this, and be well. Peace.