Tuesday, August 21, 2007
An Open Letter to Rosie O’Donnell
Dear Rosie,

Over the last few years a conversation you had with a friend continues to resurface and each time it does, it feels as though I've been stabbed in the heart.

During your lawsuit over your magazine, it was reported that you stated to someone who had been recently diagnosed with cancer that she was a liar and that people who lie get cancer. Since that time you have clarified that statement as follows (taken from your blog):

“I had a conversation
with a friend/co worker
about how the physical and
spiritual r connected

that the darkness is where disease

all humans lie”

“but to choose darkness
is to invite illness
i believe”
It sounds reasonable on the surface on some new-age level. In fact, I may have agreed with you . . . before I myself was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39.

I don’t claim to have never veered to the dark side, but I disagree with your interpretation of the mind-body-spirit you-reap-what-you-sow connection in relationship to illness. I believe the connection may lie in your respect for yourself, which manifests itself in your respect for your body (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.). Honestly, if it were as simple as you claim, why isn’t every murderer on death row and every child molester writhing in pain from the most torturous cancer known to man?

I understand that it seems you are saying that in some metaphysical way, illness lives in the darkness and that by inviting more darkness into our lives through our actions we are creating a greater dwelling for illness. Howver, there is still a randomness in this theory that seems to effect some (those who seemingly invite little darkness -- Dana Reeves?) and don't effect others (those who seemingly dwell in tremendous darkness -- murderers et al.).

Let’s not forget genetic predisposition either. If I test positive for a cancer gene, something I was born with, at what point did I invite darkness or is it a result of my ancestors’ darkness? There are fatal gaps in your logic, Rosie.

You have great influence, Rosie, and you do many good things for many people. However, for those of us who have had to face cancer, suffer tremendously from the treatments, undergo multiple surgical procedures, and, if we are lucky enough, forever live under the threat of it returning, you have judged us harshly. You have told us that we brought it on ourselves. How do you know this? What science or research supports this? Can I be absolved of my sins and my cancer at the same time? Sadly, the people whom you influence will perpetuate this flawed belief of yours.

I do not believe you would have told that to your mother. Nor do I believe that in the unfortunate situation that someone else close to you is diagnosed with cancer, a sister, brother, childhood friend, wife, or child, that you would say it to them. I do not even believe you would use this unfortunate rationalization on yourself if you were faced with this dreaded disease.

Sadly, you chose the people who were already suffering, going through a living hell, facing their own mortality and announced that they did it to themselves; that their cancer was their own fault. I believe you have offended anyone who has ever had cancer and the people who love them.

Best Regards,

(Somewhat) Enlightened Cancer Survivor

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
4 chimed in

Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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