I’m Mad as Hell

September 27, 2014
There is so much misunderstanding about metastatic breast cancer that I want to bang my head against the wall.
Vera has a better approach however; and that is to use her words to spread understanding and awareness. Read on to see her letter to the Today Show. And if you would be willing, pass it on.

Vera Writes —
You may have heard that Joan Lunden is going through breast cancer treatment. She was featured bald on People magazine and Today is doing a “Today Pink Power” show in October.

A friend of mine wrote to the show to ask that awareness of metastatic breast cancer be included. They invited her to appear on the show, only to un-invite her once they saw in her photo that she isn’t bald. They say they only want a group of women who are ‘bold and bald’ (their words) on the show to support the cause.

I was incensed at the ignorance and audacity of the Today Show. I wrote them an email, and published it on my Facebook pages too. Thought you might want to know about this.

Here’s my letter:


I’m a metastatic breast cancer warrior. I’ve had this recurrence of breast cancer to my bones for the last 3 years.

My friend Lisa told me that you are only interested in women who are rendered bald by this disease.
I’ll have you know that 12 years ago, when I was bald from chemo, I was only stage 2 and had a 70% chance of never having cancer again.
Unfortunately I ended up in the unlucky 30% and here I am today.

That your news organization only wants ‘bold and bald’ women to stand around on the day you feature breast cancer is so highly offensive, I struggle for words to express to you, as someone dying from this disease, how insensitive and ignorant this truly is. Many treatments for end-stage breast cancer do not cause hair loss. It is one of the few indignities that some of us are spared in our last days.

Shame on you for putting shock value ahead of humanity. I will never watch the show again.

Vera Bierend
Stage 4 breast cancer patient
Santa Clarita, CA

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My grandson has MS

September 4, 2014

I haven’t talked about this before. It was hard for my family to go public with this piece of information. Partly because we didn’t want to talk about it with other people. We wanted to curl around that bit of sadness, keep it to ourselves. Didn’t want to  pretend that our collective heart weren’t breaking.

My grandson, overnight, became the man I hoped he would be someday. Didn’t have a whole lot of indication that he was anything more than someone I loved dearly who liked to play computer games and didn’t have much ambition. I believed in him blindly because I loved him so much. Then this happened, this terrible diagnosis that had so much uncertainty surrounding it that no one knew what to expect from one day to another. My grandson, who managed to be born on my birthday,  stunningly and courageously taught our whole family how to live and to be.

Tomorrow our family and friends will gather together to celebrate this wonderful young man’s journey. Pray for him and all the others so afflicted.

Trevor’s Grandmother


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2nd Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference LA County

September 1, 2014

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MBC Writing Project

August 31, 2014

Been a long time since I paid any attention to this blog. One starts with good intentions, but after a while the passion for talking to the world grows less. I’m still plugging away at my latest novel Layla Bunch. It’s taken so long, people have stopped asking how’s it going? Well, it’s going. I hope to put Roberta and Layla and the whole cast on stage pretty soon (please God).

What’s taking my time these days is new, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Writing Project. Studies show that writing can be healing for anyone in a stressful situation. Writing is a great way to communicate with yourself and others and in a larger sense in this case, create awareness of the difficulties that must be faced by the metastatic patient.

This project is about encouraging people with metastatic breast cancer to write. Put their thoughts and feelings on paper for themselves (journaling); for the world (blogging). We also have a series of articles  we have asked writers to submit for publication on coping with the disease.

If you know anyone that’s metastatic, tell them about the MBC Writing Project. Soon there will be an MBC Writing Project website. Right now we meet over at Google+ where we’ve been posting samples of articles. Ask to be included in this community.



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Sharon Spencer Schlesinger: NaNoWriMo

November 11, 2011

Sharon Spencer Schlesinger: NaNoWriMo: What am I doing blogging when this is National Novel Writing Month? For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is almost self-descriptive. A whole bunch…

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I’m Reading a Dummies Book

June 27, 2011

There I said it. Not only am I not smarter than a fifth grader, I’m a dummy when it comes to writing. After over 60 years of reading nearly non-stop, I thought I was qualified to write. Sorry, not true. However, if I hadn’t put those years in, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to write at all.  At least I can write badly.

The Writing for Dummies book is an MFA in a box. I know, just from this one book, that I’ve probably improved my skill level at least 30 to 40%. I’m using what I’ve learned to plan my latest WIP (that’s work in progress), Lalya Bunch, which is turning out to be a vast improvement over my first three books.

I’m sorry I ordered it on Kindle.  I wish I had a physical copy so I can dog-ear the pages and write and highlight more easily. Yes, you can set bookmarks and highlight text on a Kindle, but it’s not as visual.

But, if you are a writer without confidence or would like to try to write and are willing to admit you are a dummy, there is no better starting point to learn about how to plan and structure your work.

I promise next week I’ll tell you what I am reading for fun. You’ll be surprised.


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Eyeballs on Your Manuscript

March 28, 2011

I don’t have any editors in my family, or authors, or publishers or English teachers.  But I do have very bright children and grandchildren who like to read.  You may have some resources like that available to you too.  Ask them to read your manuscript.

Of course you know they will either be too kind, or too critical.  But this is what getting some eyeballs on your manuscript will do for you:  identify typos; point out inconsistencies;  clarify weak story lines, just for starters.  By the questions they ask you may realize where you have more work to do.

My daughters just finished reading the  latest draft of my first novel, working title, The Energy Collector.  They had good suggestions on pacing, inconsistencies and incomplete story threads.  And they caught stupid mistakes too.  For some reason, when I want to type quick, I’ve been typing quit.  What’s that about?  Is there a message there?  Forget about it!  I’m not going to quit.  The trouble with Word is that it will notify you of  misspellings, but not usage errors.  Don’t give an agent or publisher the least excuse to throw your beautiful manuscript down in disgust.

Tomorrow is literary agent day.  Oh goody.


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