Media Room

Upcoming Radio Interviews

Listen to Elaine on the Michael Eric Dyson show.

Previous Interviews:

KMOX's "Charlie Brennan Show", St. Louis, February 8

KPFK, 90.7, Los Angeles, March 19

WFAN, New York, July 24

WOLX Madison, WI, August 26 - Listen now

WQYK Tampa, FL, August 26

WLW Cincinnati, OH August 30 - live

Blogtalkradio interview from the Soulful Detroit - Listen now

WKLH, WJMR, Milwaukee, September 9

BIG BUCK COUNTRY 106.9 - THE JOURNAL - September 11-12

WJYI-JOY 1340 - FYI ON JYI - September 11-12

WKLH-96.5 - FOCUS ON MILWAUKEE. - September 11-12

102.9 THE HOG- WHQG - THE HOG TAKES A LOOK - September 11-12

WJMR-JAMMIN 98.3 - JAMMIN JOURNAL - SUN. September 11-12

KNOX, St. Louis, MO, September 16 - live (10:30 AM CST)

KCTE, Kansas City, MO, September 16 - live (2:15 PM CST)

WPTF, Raleigh-Durham, NC, September 18 - live (1:05 PM EST)

WJJM, Nashville, TN., September 30, (11:05 CST)

Elaine will be talking to listeners of KNUS Radio, Denver, on Thursday, September 30, at 4 PM.

"IN TOUCH WITH TAMPA BAY – Connecting to our CCommunity"
CBS Radio Tampa Bay - Public Affairs on Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 17, as follows:

WLLD 94.1 Sunday 6:30 - 7 AM

WLLD-HD2 94.1 Saturday 7:30 - 8 AM

WRBQ 104.7 Sunday 7:30 - 8 AM

WRBQ-HD2 104.7 Saturday 6:30 - 7 AM

WQYK 99.5 Sunday 11:30 - 12 PM

WQYK-HD2 99.5 Sunday 10:30 - 11 PM

WSJT 98.7 Sunday 8:30 - 9 AM

WSJT-HD2 98.7 Sunday 9:30 - 10 AM

WQYK-AM 1010 Sunday 6:30 - 7 AM

WCCO, KZJK-HD, Minneapolis, MN - October 4

Elaine will be interviewed on "Colorado Matters", KNUS Radio, on Sunday, October 10, at 11:30 PM.

The WBAL interview will air Sunday, October 17, at 7 AM

KMBZ, Kansas City, October 23, 6:30 - 7 PM.

KMBZ, Kansas City, October 23, 6:30 - 7 PM.

Elaine will be "live" on WKXY, 92.1, Memphis, on Thursday, October 28, 7:45 AM

Elaine on WKXY, 92.1, Memphis, on Thursday, October 28, 7:45 AM

The John C. Scott Show, KJLL, Tucson. November 17

KQKQ, Omaha, 11/22

Elaine will be a guest on an upcoming "Lynn Rivers Show", WEMU, Ann Arbor, MI on Monday, November 29, at 8 AM, and 6 PM. It will also be streamed on


About Bravery

Put Old on Hold Journal

Posted July 2, 2013

As far as celebrities-and-cancer goes, Michael Douglas is brave. Angelina Jolie, not so much.

Bravery requires taking a risk. Jolie’s decision to remove her breasts and ovaries was perhaps the most important decision she has ever made. Melissa Etherage, a cancer survivor, has said she doesn’t think that Angelina’s choice was brave, but “fearful”. She’s right about Jolie’s medical choice, but wrong about the bravery aspect. Jolie took a big risk by going public about her choice; a huge risk, for someone who makes her living as an actor. Will it affect her box-office appeal? That remains to be seen.

Michael Douglas had no health imperative at stake when he went public. His statements about the connection between the HPV virus and head-and-neck cancer align with what cancer specialists have known for a long time. His risk was similar to Jolie’s, but public perception may be less lenient to cancer’s connection to cunnilingus. Open discussion about breasts is within the sphere of public discourse; talk about cunnilingus makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

All of this relates to what bravery is all about. When I was being treated for cancer, I often heard comments about my bravery in the face of so deadly a disease. It always made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t being brave, I was taking actions that I believed would save my life. And they did. It was a no-brainer.

Right now, my best friend in the world is sitting at home with her husband, who is in hospice, waiting to die of lymphoma. They are both waiting it out. There is no hope for any other outcome, and they both know it. But is providing love and care an act of bravery? I don’t think so.

Bravery, in connection with disease, is complicated. Steve Jobs took a risk by foregoing chemotherapy and choosing alternative therapy for his aggressive form of cancer. That might have been an act of bravery…or was it an act of folly? Would conventional treatment at the beginning of his treatment have made a difference in the outcome? In terms of bravery, I don’t think the outcome matters.

Many years ago, when I saw all of the women on my mother’s side of the family die, one by one, of some form of reproductive cancer, I knew that cancer was a health issue I wasn’t likely to escape. My mother died of breast cancer, so did her sister. As far as I was concerned, the only way I could avoid the same outcome was to have my breasts removed. It was an easy decision for me, because I had always had a contentious relationship with my breasts. They were not an erogenous zone, they had no feeling at all. As far as I was concerned, they were sitting on my chest, waiting to kill me. I wanted them off, but my best friend, the one now awaiting her husband’s death, talked me out of it. She thought the whole idea was crazy.

She was wrong. Times have changed. I still wish I had made that decision. It would have kept me from the inevitable diagnosis of breast cancer. But as decisions go, it wouldn’t qualify as brave.

It’s Never Over – Survivor’s Guilt

Posted June 19, 2013

By Elaine Jesmer

It’s never over. That’s the inescapable truth, whether we accept it or not. Once your life had been threatened from the inside, you may learn to live with your new reality and even find a way to put it on the back burner. But that brush with death will inevitably spring to the forefront of your mind, prompted by anything that makes you think “it” could be happening again.

There are examples of close calls everywhere you look: the young woman who almost died of an aneurism while she was hospitalized having a baby (a case where location probably saved her life), the guy who was “cured” of thyroid cancer 34 years ago, but never misses his yearly test. The event that shapes the futures of survivors may have happened many years ago, like summer camp. Only unlike camp, this experience is terrifying. Even when you push it to the back of your mind and think it’s over, it’s never over.

I have survivor’s guilt, and I’ve got it bad. It seems that every time I turn around, someone I know who has faced mortality and received a reprieve is back in the trenches, fighting for his or her life. Only this time, probably because there was a first time, the stricken one isn’t as young or as strong as before. The fight is harder. The likelihood of winning is smaller.

It makes me crazy that people I know aren’t as healthy as I am.

It makes me crazy that people I know aren’t as healthy as I am. I was stage 4 at diagnosis. That’s a statistical death sentence. And yet I’m long past my expiration date, and probably healthier now than ever before. With hardly any effort on my part. Without making those life changes that so many survivors initiate, when they finally get a chance to refigure their future with their health in the forefront.

This is what’s the same for all of us: we don’t know if “it” will happen again. We can’t ever be sure. We can’t store that period when we were being treated in the back of our minds and forget about it. It’s the other shoe that hangs over our lives, and we can never completely stop waiting for it to fall. Even if we think we’re fine – are we? The medical world throws around the word “cured” as though it’s real, but that’s a dangerous lie. Accepting it as truth could allow us to take our eye off the ball. There is no cure for cancer. And who can say if that artery wall will stand up to a normal life span? We can’t know with any degree of certainty. What happened to us took us to the outskirts of normal, from which there’s really no way back. Personally, that’s why I never take those great deals on subscriptions to magazines. One year is about all I’ll ever be able to be sure of.

Like many survivors, I’m impelled to “do something” about the thing that tried to take my life.

Like many survivors, I’m impelled to “do something” about the thing that tried to take my life. I distribute a monthly newsletter that focuses on chemotherapy. I do this because taking action seems to mitigate dwelling too much on the worst possible possibility. I think that’s what meant by enriching your life by having it threatened.

~ And life has never been richer!


Louisville Courier-Journal

Friday, February 29, 2008

Oped | Elaine Jesmer

Chemotherapy's bad name

By Elaine Jesmer

Special to The Courier-Journal

Chemotherapy. The word brings people's worst fears to life. But worse than any of the symptoms is the fact that some people refuse treatment altogether, choosing almost certain death as a result. My oncologist knows of women who would actually rather die than lose their hair. It makes me want to scream, "No, wait! It grows back! You get to wear cute wigs! What's the big deal?"

It's sheer fear that drives choices like this. Trouble is, like politics, those people haven't heard the whole story. And not enough doctors or adjunctive caregivers have told them it hardly ever happens the way they think it will, or that no two people experience the same chemo drugs in the same way.

Chemotherapy -- whether as treatment for cancer, to keep transplant patients from rejecting organs, or as a remedy for a surprising number of other diseases or conditions, including multiple sclerosis -- isn't the Darth Vader-like monster in the medicine cabinet anymore. It's a kinder, gentler chemotherapy these days.

 That's partly because better drugs have been developed to subdue the side effects. And it's also because it's easier to micro-manage those maladies because there are so many more effective drugs available today, making it more likely some combination will work.

Oncologists now consider cancer, the disease most associated with chemo, to be a chronic disease. That means if you stick with the program, you're likely to live a normal life – perhaps with an occasional pit stop in the chemo chair.

Of course, there's a downside. Yet today's chemo, across the board, is still the best option.

Granted, it's hard to watch someone you love become too weak to walk to the bathroom without help. During their journey through Chemoland, most patients do indeed experience one or more side effects including the notorious nausea, fatigue, hair loss, numb hands and feet -- yada, yada, yada. But patients need assurance they'll get through it, the vast majority with relative ease.

There's little information about chemotherapy available for people who are either taking it for a short time, living with it for the rest of their lives, or living with the side effects long after treatment is finished. There should be more, and it should focus on chemotherapy, not the disease it's treating.

Chemotherapy has its own environment, with most of the same side effects showing up across the spectrum of treatment. It's a rapidly changing environment, with more drugs targeting and killing or suppressing specific cells, leaving healthy cells alone. The chemo universe supports whole industries that create ways and means to improve the lives of people living with chemotherapy. With all that, why is it so hard to find out how to get through it?

It could be that all chemotherapy needs is a "Chemo-babe" and a good marketing campaign, to get around the "ick" factor. Maybe then, comprehensive information about chemo would spread into the world, encouraging patients to embrace their protocol as the means to cure, not kill them.

Yes, chemo is harsh. Finding out you have a disease that requires chemotherapy is bad enough, so why should the cure be more painful than the disease?

That's not really what matters. Staying alive, living in a way most resembling the life you had before you got whatever you got, is what chemo patients' priorities should be.

When Chemoland is new territory, you can't know enough to ask about options. But at your disposal are thousands of support groups of all kinds, offering relevant information for chemo patients. Fellow patients are a terrific resource, as is anyone who's been through it. They survived chemo, and so will you.

Like most people, you'll probably find a way to integrate chemotherapy into your life, or you'll finish treatment and conclude it wasn't as bad as you expected. Either way, you'll be taking your life back. And if you ever require chemo again, you won't be as fearful because this time you know it's what you have to do to save your life.

Chemotherapy has a bad name, but it easily beats the alternative. That's what I thought every time I sat in that industrial strength La-Z-Boy in the treatment room and watched the needle go into my arm.

Elaine Jesmer, a marketing consultant who lives in Los Angeles, wrote a book called " 'I'm Hot! . . . and I'm Bald!': Chemotherapy for Winners."


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