S4-EP2: Emily Moore on Vulnerability, Living, and Becoming a Cancer Survivor

Oct 22, 2021

SUMMARY

The hard stop of death is something those of us beyond midlife are trying to wrap our minds around. But what if you’re in your early 40s? Debbie interviews her 43-year-old niece, Emily Moore, about what she’s learned about life after a brutal course of chemotherapy to eradicate breast cancer.

 

EPISODE NOTES

Debbie brings her 43-year-old niece, Emily Moore, onto the podcast to talk about life and death and her recent grueling course of chemotherapy to eradicate breast cancer.

Emily teaches English at Stuyvesant, one of Manhattan’s competitive-entry public high schools. She’s also a published poet (one of her poems was published in The New Yorker), and has a PhD in English. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife and two young children.

Those of us beyond midlife are (supposedly) starting to wrap our minds around the hard stop of death. So Debbie asks Emily what it was like to, unexpectedly, be forced to stare death in the face in her early 40s. But Emily doesn’t really answer because it turns out it was the wrong question.

Instead she speaks eloquently about how much energy she’s put into fighting for life (she calls it putting on her “game face” despite how horrific the chemotherapy was) and how vulnerable she now feels and how that has changed her.

She also talks about how she’ll never be “okay” again, meaning that things won’t ever really return to the way they were before her cancer diagnosis. And she compares it to our collective wish to go back to the pre-pandemic “normal” of 2019 and how that probably won’t happen.

Tune in to a powerful episode to listen to Emily’s lilting voice and positive take on her experience.

 

Mentioned in this episode or useful:

 

AULD LANG SYNE

By Emily Moore

April 7, 2008

Here’s to the rock star with the crooked teeth,

the cellist, banker, mezzo bearing gifts,

the teacher with the flask inside her jeans—

those girls who made us sweat and lick our lips.

To the jeune fille who broke my heart in France,

the tramp who warmed your lap and licked your ear,

the one who bought me shots at 2 a.m.

that night I tied your pink tie at the bar.

Who smoked. Who locked you out. Who kissed my eyes

then pulled my hair and left me for a boy.

The girl who bit my upper, inner thigh.

My raspy laugh when I first heard your voice

toasting through broken kisses sloppy drunk:

To women! To abundance! To enough!

 

Published in the print edition of the April 14, 2008 New Yorker. Reprinted with permission.

 

Note from Debbie

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts. It takes less than two minutes and it really makes a difference. It makes me feel loved and it also attracts new listeners.

Subscribe to my newsletter for the inside story about each episode of the podcast and to get my free writing guide: https://bitly.com/debbie-free-guide.

Connect with me:

– Debbie

 

We Are Looking For a Sponsor

If you are interested in reaching a smart and thoughtful audience of midlife, and older, listeners, contact Debbie Weil.

Support this podcast:

Credits:

Connect with us:

Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.

 

Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.

 

Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."