Thursday, September 23, 2010

Relationship with cancer

 There has been a lot of talk about how Catherine Zeta Jones has reacted to Michael Douglas' cancer and how she is not planning on going with him to his chemo and radiation treatments.  She has come under fire from all sides about how heartless she is, how can she not be with him during this difficult time.  She said that she didn't think she could see him like that, that maybe she should be stronger emotionally but she just isn't.

When I was diagnosed I had several friends disappear.  And I was pissed.  Pissed for a long time.  How could my friends just go away?  Don't they see that I need them?  Yeah I felt that way for a good 2 years.  But then I realized something.  I didn't know what their relationship with cancer is.  Maybe they had someone close to them die, maybe they watch tv and see the fictionalized version of what happens, maybe they are just scared and don't want to see their friend go through treatment.  It took me a long time to get over my anger at them.

So who are we to judge her and how she feels?  How she relates to cancer?  Because we know how we react? As survivors? As caregivers, friends, family, co-workers? 

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones live in Hollywood.  Its a fishbowl.  They can't go anywhere without the paparazzi snapping photos and posting online and in the tabloids.  I know.  I lived and worked there for 10 years behind the scenes on television and award shows. Its a different world out there.  Imagine if every move you made was documented in print and on tv for everyone to talk about, to gossip about.  How would you feel?

Now add on a cancer diagnosis to that.  Paparazzi are probably swarming whatever hospital Michael Douglas is at hoping to snap a photo of him at his most vulnerable.  All for a quick buck.

Now imagine that was you.  During treatment.  At the time when you feel the lowest, the shittiest, the worst you will probably ever feel.  Walking to your car.  Someone takes a picture for all the world to see.

So yeah,  I am not upset with Catherine Zeta Jones.  As my friend Donald Wilhelm would say, hey  "it is what it is." 

It's their journey.  Not mine

I have my own journey.

Mel is the producer/co-host of The Vic McCarty Show.  Listen live Monday-Friday 10am-noon on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on available on demand and on Itunes


  1. Great job my great friend Mel!! Well said as always..she doesn't want to see him go through this..and who can blame her...people react in different ways. I had some friends come by and had plenty that couldn't handle seeing me all burned up and in pain. It doesn't make you a bad person and I never thought a bad thing about the peeps that didn't visit me. It is so unfair for these tabloid idiots to say bad things about her when they have NO IDEA what they are going through. I don't wish this horrific disease on anyone..but I wish they could have it for a day to see what we deal with..she just can't handle watching him go through the pain and suffering that has to do with treatment...and I know..we have the EXACT same cancer..sooo you tabloid writers and paparazzi..come speak to a Warrior before you post your filth...I am right here...Mel has my # PEACE & LOVE....D.

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  3. Very valid points. I think the part that is most hurtful to those criticizing Catherine Zeta Jones is that she is all over the news. People know about her personal life and they look up to her. Her choice to not be present is sending a message that contradicts the needs of those with cancer. No one wants to attend those appointments, they do it to show support and comfort. It's good to have a role model acting as the ultimate caregiver, it would have been nice to see Catherine take on that role.

    -Lauren (