Elvis Costello Is Mad as Hell: ‘I’ll Punch the Next Person’ Who Says I’m Struggling With Cancer

Stephen Done

“I know that’s a very attractive headline to say I’ve got cancer, but it’s just not founded in fact,” Elvis Costello insists after I mention a recent story that said he was in remission.

“I’m not going to critique other writers, because I had a very nice conversation with a young man the other day, and 99.9 percent of the article he wrote was really interesting, but he used the word ‘remission’ to describe my health, and therefore his editor decided to put cancer in the headline,” Costello explains, noticeably still upset about the incident. “I’m not in remission because I didn’t have cancer. How could I be in remission? I was relieved of something that may have caused cancer. So out of respect to my friends who recently have lost that particular fight, and to those that continue to have it, of which I have rather too many, I’d rather everyone get the words right.”

In fact, Costello and I had corresponded last summer, and he had claimed then he was fine, if a bit shocked and suitably heartened that anyone cared about his health, even while headlines made it sound as though he was at death’s door after he’d been forced to cancel a string of live shows.

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Facebook Live: The Cancer Divide

If you get cancer, how long you live may depend on factors outside of your control: your race or ethnicity. Where you live. Your age. The type of insurance you have.

Although Californians and Americans overall are living longer with cancer, some communities fare better than others. There are many reasons for this cancer divide. Certain groups may not have regular access to doctors or cancer screening. Smoking and physical inactivity play a role, as does exposure to air pollution.

On Friday, Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Anna Gorman discussed cancer disparities with Dr. Kenneth Kizer, a University of California-Davis professor. Kizer is the director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement, which works with the state Department of Public Health to manage California’s cancer registry.

Survival differs based on race and ethnicity, geography and income, Kizer said during the discussion.

“Overall, as a blanket statement, people who are poor and economically challenged do less well than people who are not in that situation,” he said.

Kizer explained that many factors influence how long people live with cancer, including whether they have access to cancer screening and high-quality treatments. Having health insurance increases the odds of getting better care, he said.

“However, it’s not that simple, because not all health insurance is the same,” he added. “So, the better health insurance you can get the … more likely you’ll end up in a place where you can get evidence-based treatment.”

To read Gorman’s previous coverage about how Californians with cancer are faring, please click here.


This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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Tina Turner reveals how she planned for assisted suicide after cancer diagnosis but was saved by her husband’s kidney

TINA TURNER has revealed she was so ill she considered assisted suicide — until her husband saved her life by donating his kidney.

The soul icon fell in love with music producer Erwin Bach, 16 years her junior, in 1985 after suffering years of ill-treatment at the hands of ex-lover Ike.

Tina Turner reveals how she found happiness in her new auto-biography My Love Story
Tina Turner reveals how she found happiness in her new auto-biography My Love Story
Getty – Contributor

Tying the knot 28 years later, the singer says their 2013 wedding was one of the happiest days of her life.

But, in her new autobiography — My Love Story, out later this month — Tina, 78, revealed how she started feeling faint during that day as the party gathered for photos.

It was the first sign of an impending stroke.

Just three months later, she woke up and felt a lightning bolt in her head and right leg.

Tina was married to Ike Turner, suffering domestic abuse and reveals she was beaten on the head by a wooden spoon
Tina was married to Ike Turner, suffering domestic abuse and reveals she was beaten on the head by a wooden spoon
1964 GAB Archive

Tina said: “I tried to speak but I couldn’t get any words out.

I was having a stroke.”

It left Tina unable to walk or use her right arm.

And, to add to her troubles, doctors also found she had high blood pressure which left her kidneys working at just 35 per cent of their normal function.

Yet Tina now admits she “foolishly” scuppered her treatment by ditching her medication and instead turned to homeopathy — a decision which almost cost her her life.

Her homeopath had claimed toxins in the water near her Château Algonquin home in Switzerland were damaging her body, so she set about replacing the water pipes and having the water purified by crystals.

‘I was overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer’

But the blunder sapped her strength, leaving her unable to walk from room-to-room.

Another shock diagnosis, early stage intestinal cancer, led to part of her intestine being removed.

By 2016, Tina’s kidney function was down to 20 per cent, leaving her unable to eat.

Tina admits at one point she thought of assisted suicide — legal in Switzerland — and signed up to be a member of Exit, “just in case”.

Ms Turner here poses with her late son Craig who took his own life
Ms Turner here poses with her late son Craig who took his own life
Facebook

She said: “I think that’s when the idea of my death became a reality for Erwin.

He was very emotional about not wanting to lose me, not wanting me to leave.

“He said he didn’t want another woman, or another life; we were happy and he’d do anything to keep us together.

Then he shocked me.

Erwin Bach and Tina married in 2013 after Mr. Bach proposed three times
Erwin Bach and Tina married in 2013 after Mr. Bach proposed three times
Getty – Contributor

“He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys.

“I was overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer.”

Tina, who has notched up 200million in record sales, is no stranger to struggle.

Hers has been an extraordinary journey, from being an unwanted child picking cotton in the tiny ­segregated backwater of Nutbush, Tennessee, to years of being too afraid to leave her abusive first husband Ike.

When Tina went on stage the first time with Ike she thought he was 'real ugly'
When Tina went on stage the first time with Ike she thought he was ‘real ugly’
Getty – Contributor

She once said: “My struggle started inside my mother’s womb.

I suffered all the way from childhood right up until the end of Ike.

“What kept me on course was me, it was something I was born with.”

In July this year, that strength was tested again.

After she left Ike her career stalled buy then the album Private Dance launched her into the mainstream
After she left Ike her career stalled buy then the album Private Dance launched her into the mainstream
not known check with features

As the chart queen posed for photographers on the red carpet outside a fashion show in Paris, her eldest son Craig, 59, was in Los Angeles, about to turn a gun on himself.

Eight days later, Tina posted a picture of herself scattering her boy’s ashes off the coast of California, accompanied by the words: “My saddest moment as a mother.”

Tina, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, was just 18 years old when she gave birth to Craig in 1958.

She was determined to be a good mother, having been deserted by her own mum Zelma at ten.

Her father left three years later.

Tina performed with Mick Jagger in Live aid to sold out crowds in 1985
Tina performed with Mick Jagger in Live aid to sold out crowds in 1985
Rex Features

The baby’s father was the ­saxophonist in a band she became obsessed with after moving to St Louis, Missouri.

Its frontman was Ike Turner.

One night when she was in the audience, he invited her on stage and, wowed by her voice, later asked her to tour with them.

There was no romantic attraction initially.

Tina has performed at the Grammy's a number of times including sharing the stage with Beyonce in 2008
Tina has performed at the Grammy’s a number of times including sharing the stage with Beyonce in 2008
AP:Associated Press

It was only when she was trying to escape the advances of another musician she found herself in Ike’s bed — even though she knew then: “He wasn’t right for me”. ­

In 1960, the pair had son Ronnie.

Two years later they wed.

In 1966, they hit the big time with single River Deep Mountain High, which hit No3 in the UK.

Ms Turner's singing career began with Ike but after leaving him she became a household name
Ms Turner’s singing career began with Ike but after leaving him she became a household name
AP:Associated Press

More hits followed, along with the first of Tina’s eight Grammy awards.

But at home, she was nothing but a punchbag for cocaine addict Ike.

Describing the first beating at his hands, she recalled: “It was against the head, always against the head.”

But it was not until July 1976 that she finally fled with just 36 cents in her pocket.

Tina performed with Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Tina performed with Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Corbis – Getty

For a few years, her career stalled — but then in 1984 came her solo album Private Dancer.

The album sold 20million copies and gave her her first US No1 ­single with What’s Love Got To Do With It.

In 1985 she starred in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson — the same year she met German-born record executive Erwin, after he picked her up at an airport.

Tina recalled: “My heart was going da-dum.


I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is love at first sight.’”

They have been together since. The secret, according to Tina, is simple. She noted a few years ago: “What’s love got to do with it? A lot!”

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Tamara Tunie shares heartfelt dedication to breast cancer awareness

One look at Tamara Tunie’s resume and you wonder when she sleeps. The TV veteran isn’t a household name, but she’s quietly become one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood — appearing, in the past year alone, in “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Dietland” and “Better Call Saul” (both on AMC) and the BBC’s “Black Earth…
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Why Sandra Lee kept cameras rolling during her cancer treatment

At the opening of Sandra Lee’s new documentary, she confronts her own harsh, new reality. “You actually have breast cancer. Cancer,” the 52-year-old says, sounding incredulous. “That word will put the fear of God in you like you’ve never felt before. But you don’t realize what that feels like inside your body until it’s about…
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Black Women Face High Risk, Dangers And Death Rates With Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October presents another opportunity to spread information about the disease and how it affects Black women. The disease is responsible for a high death rate in women of color, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer despite doctors diagnosing the disease in African-American and white women at about the same rate, the CDC reported. Also, Black women are more often found to have triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive type that frequently returns after treatment.

Age is also a big factor: breast cancer incidence rates were higher among African-American women younger than 60 years old but lower among those who are 60 or older.

One reason for this statistic could be that medical professionals tend to find this cancer at an earlier stage in white women.  Also, Black women may have inadequate medical care, including limited access to cancer screening technology.

Doctors encourage women, especially those at high risk due to a family history or having BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, to get out ahead of the disease. Early detection measures such as mammograms and screenings are strongly recommended. Women can visit local hospitals that offer low-cost mammograms or call their local American Cancer Society chapter for help with screenings or doctor referrals.

In addition, researchers continue to look into why some women are more susceptible to triple-negative breast cancer, in order to find better treatment options.

Women can also choose a healthier lifestyle for a better chance of lowering risks for the disease. BreastCancer.org recommends exercise, a nutritious diet and avoiding smoking and alcohol as important in the battle against breast cancer — one that many women can win regardless of race.

Many women are speaking out to spread awareness about breast cancer and helping women to fight it. Serena Williams posted a powerful message about the disease recently.

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Managing Your Career Through Breast Cancer

As we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am reminded of the story of a woman I met a decade ago who serves as an excellent example of how to maintain your career, dignity, and mental well-being as you face this challenge.

In June of 2005, Hannah Burns was managing director of corporate communications at Lehman Bros., and fulfilling one of her major responsibilities: getting the company’s quarterly earnings results out to the public. As the numbers were being released, Burns set up a meeting with her boss – he believed she was going to update him on the media’s coverage of the data. Instead, she had to deliver a far more difficult story.

“I’ve got good news, and bad news,” she told him. “The good news is that it’s early and very treatable, the bad news is that I have breast cancer.”

Burns describes herself as a private person, but she went straight to her boss’s office when her doctor delivered the news over the phone. “Being in my function I couldn’t just disappear and not tell anybody. I just wanted to get it off of my chest and move on. It was an easy conversation. He was incredibly sympathetic, and shocked.”

The fact that this mother of two daughters had her disease detected early had her believing that she would be able to “get it off of her chest and move on.” The next few months, however, would prove to be a physical and emotional challenge that she could not have imagined.

Three weeks later, there was the surgery, which was followed by a rigorous four-month period of chemotherapy, bone marrow shots, and then seven weeks of radiation.

In a feat that can be described as nothing short of heroic, aside from a one week recovery period after surgery, Burns only missed one day of work throughout her entire four months of treatments.

“In addition to wanting to teach my daughters a lesson on how to work through adversity, the firm was so supportive that I wanted to do my absolute best to show my gratitude,” says Burns. “The firm said do whatever you need to do to get well. Knowing you’ve got that support is half the battle.”

Not only did Lehman provide Burns with inspiration, but the firm also gave her the flexibility to work through her challenge. She had her treatments on Wednesdays, did not have to return to work, and she was able to come in late on Thursday’s. Burns says her worst side effects set in on Friday afternoons, and Lehman allowed her to leave in the afternoon. The company also provided her with car service to and from the office throughout the entire ordeal.

breast cancer

(Image: iStock.com/Tagore75)

What to Do if This Happens to You

One of the many things Burns has taught me was that not everyone–not even corporate giants like Lehman Bros.– have all the answers. She simply had to tap into her courage and give the company a blueprint to help her best navigate this challenge. Otherwise, her boss may not have known what to do and there may have been a different result.

If you find yourself trying to work through this situation, here are some tips that may help:

1. Talk to your doctor before your employer

You need to know what you can expect physically and psychologically so that you can be clear about your needs to your employer. That way you can come to your boss with a clear plan of action. Burns, for example, purposely scheduled her treatments on Wednesday’s. That way she would have the weekend to recover when the worst of the side effects hit about 48 hours later. She knew she would need Friday afternoons off.

“Work is a very important part of a women’s life, and if she can continue to work, she’s going to do better,” says Dr. Ruth Oratz, renowned oncologist and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York University School of Medicine. “But they need to be flexible, and realize that they may have to make some changes.” Oratz adds that work is not going to be an option for all women.

2. Be true to yourself when talking to your boss

“How much you tell your boss depends on your own personal style,” according to Kate Sweeney, co-founder of Cancer and Careers. “If you have an open relationship, be open. If not, just present the situation, and tell them what you will need.” Also, if you have an open relationship with your co-workers, you will likely want to share details of your recovery. If you’re more private you may just want to say “I’m doing fine,” and don’t be afraid to leave it at that.”

3. Find out what your company has done with employees in this situation in the past

This is particularly true when it comes to leave and benefits. You are trying to determine if former policies will work for you. Suppose, for example, you want to work from home, yet you find out this has not been allowed. You want to be able to bring that up to your boss, as something you will need. Maybe your company has never been in this situation before. You need to find out if it is going to be up to you to guide them, when it comes to helping you remain as productive as possible.

4. Know your legal rights

In the U.S., for example, people with cancer are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act which gives you rights in the workplace. In addition, protection is provided under the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year. The weeks do not have to be taken consecutively. Human resources departments can be a great resource when it comes to knowing your legal rights. They can also be of great help with your insurer. A company calling on your behalf will likely have a lot more leverage with an insurance firm than you calling as an individual.

5. Pay attention to how you feel

If you take time off for treatments, you can expect to have a lot of mixed emotions as you transition from patient back to employee. If you don’t feel psychologically up to speed, you may want to seek out some counseling, or attend workshops and seminars to refresh your work skills. Physically, take a look at your work space. Tell your employer if it needs to be redesigned with something like back support.

 


Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Oct. 1, 2018. It originally published on Feb. 4, 2016.

The post Managing Your Career Through Breast Cancer appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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