Picoult on Vulva Cancer in Redbook

Writer Darci Picoult has a great article in January’s Redbook Magazine about her experience with vulva cancer.   http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/advice/vulvar-cancer-essay 

This is an excerpt from her blog:


After writer Darci Picoult had major surgery to remove and reconstruct her vulva, she wasn’t sure if she would ever have physical sensation there again. Here’s what has happened since she wrote the original piece for Redbook:


Sensation is returning. Slowly but surely my nerves are regenerating.  A cause for celebration, the human body reviving itself. Some get a new heart and it beats, a new limb and it moves, in my case, a new vulva and it feels. Am I excited? You bet. My doctor? Ditto. And my husband Larry? Did you hear trombones playing all the way from our house in Brooklyn?


But what I really want to talk about are another set of nerves and feelings. The nerve it took to write that original article and the nervousness of seeing it in print. “What did I do?”’ I thought. Everyone will know the most intimate details of my life.  My relatives in Texas, my acting students at New York University, strangers on planes who pick up the magazine at airport newsstands during the holidays. I envisioned people on the street pointing and whispering “There’s the vulva.”  As if that was it. That was me. One big vulva.  And then I took a breath and thought back to why I wrote the article in the first place.


When Redbook’s editor in chief, Jill Herzig, asked me to write about my medical ordeal, my initial thought was “No!” Then yes, Then no. Then, Of course. Why not? If not me, than who? One doesn’t talk about their vulva or vagina publicly, unless perhaps it is in the context of a great night or in a monologue by Eve Ensler. But diseased?  That’s for medical books or diary entries, or whispered in the privacy of one’s home.  My decision to unlock that door and invite you into my life, was to give a voice to that whisper.




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