Being a young mother returning to work after the birth of a premature baby can be difficult enough. Coupled with the discovery that your father has brain cancer and that you have breast cancer all within weeks of each other is what inspired Dr. Tali Lando to publish her humorous and informative cancer memoir “Hell & Back—Wife & Mother, Doctor & Patient, Dragon Slayer.”
“We are all juggling multiple elements of life with young families that are dependent on us,” says Dr. Lando, who is herself a pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon. “The one thing you can count on—your health—is suddenly in jeopardy.”
Lando will be speaking at the 47th Annual Moriah Library Dinner, Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m.
“We are thrilled to have Tali come out and speak at the library dinner this year,” said Tanya Wolf, co-president of the Moriah Association of Parents (MAP). “MAP strives to procure speakers who will address important issues related to both the Moriah community, and the entire community at large. Tali is relatable to both the mothers of the school, and the other family members who are required to support those that have been or were diagnosed with breast cancer.” Wolf added, “Her humor and honesty to a topic so close to many of our lives is both inspirational and encouraging.”
One aspect that makes this breast cancer book distinct is the element of humor that she employs to convey her ideas to the reader. “Things would happen to me that really were ridiculous!” Lando says. “There were things that would be so crazy that it had to be recorded.”
She tells a story that took place when she was out to lunch with her friend while she was undergoing chemotherapy. With her loss of hair and gaunt appearance it made her diagnosis obvious to those around her. A stranger stalked her from across the courtyard and approached her table. Thinking it may be the mother of one her patients, Tali prepared herself to smile. The woman simply said, “I will pray for you,” and flitted off. Lando thought to herself, Has this woman been waiting all night for someone to pray for??
She wants the readers to recognize that whatever the struggle presents and no matter how tragic, it is okay to laugh at the absurd details that occur along the way. She said that she used her humor as a coping mechanism and that it stems from her blunt honesty regarding her experience.
She furthers the idea that as a younger person, you tend to feel more invincible. There are so many things occurring that you cannot imagine one more complication. Then you are thrown a curveball with no alternative but to tackle it. “This book can address any struggle that you have no choice but to go through and come out on the other side,” she says.
Lando is also able to offer a unique perspective as a cancer patient since she is a physician herself. As someone who was always in the role of treating patients herself, it can be tremendously challenging to literally sit on the other side of the table.
As she is so well connected in the medical field, Lando did not initially reach out to Sharsheret—a national not-for-profit organization supporting Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer. She has since recognized the assistance that she could have received from this group and plans to act in the role as a peer supporter for the organization. There will be educational appearances by Sharsheret at the library dinner as well.
For further inquiries please contact Dania Lauer, Melanie Sosland or Sandy Yahalom at [email protected]
To sign up for the dinner please register at www.moriahparents.org/event-calendar/20.
By Sandy YahalomBy Sandy Yahalom
Sandra Yahalom is the former Moriah Association of Parents president, and a family physician in Teaneck.