Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert: Acceptance is wise

Sadly, Ebert died today after this blog was originally posted. He was 70.

Like many other fans of Roger Ebert's film criticism and of his spirit, I was saddened to learn that his cancer has returned.

This past summer, he graciously agreed to do an interview with me for the magazine Cancer Today, in which he talked about his decision to have his picture taken and go public despite his face being disfigured by cancer surgery. Because he is unable to speak, he sent his responses through e-mail.
Roger Ebert

"Acceptance is a wise course to take," he said at the time.

Ebert's views served as a jumping-off point for a discussion of how other cancer survivors grapple with the challenges of being visibly changed by surgery. Michelle Corove Fingeret, director of the body image program at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, said that many survivors feel guilty about being upset by their appearance, thinking they should just be happy to be alive.

She tells them it's OK to be upset by changes in their appearance. And although they might be afraid people are looking at them in a certain way, they need to understand that they have no idea what other people are thinking.

In keeping with his formidable spirit, Ebert announced in a blog post Tuesday that he was taking a "leave of presence" due to radiation treatment for his new cancer. That means he will continue to review only the movies that he wants to review, and probably blog about his illness, while associates will make sure all the major releases are covered in his column for the Chicago Sun-Times. And he will continue working on his other projects.

What a trooper.

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