Friday, April 16, 2010


HBO Films
Cordially invites you and a guest to join
Barry Levinson, Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon,
Danny Huston, Brenda Vaccaro and John Goodman
At the New York Premiere of
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
7:00pm Screening
The Ziegfeld Theatre
141 West 54th Street

I was visiting my family in Manhattan when the invitation came. Death and dying had been a frequent theme in my “Stitch &Bitch” radiation group. When you have been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer it is often the theme of your nightmares, too. I really didn’t know Jack, only what I had read or heard from news sources. I decided to attend the premier and learn about Jack, aka Dr. Kevorkian, aka Dr. Death.
The theatre was filled with anticipation. When Dr. Kevorkian was introduced by the president of HBO productions and stood to face the barrage of clapping I realized that Dr. Death was a tiny man, hardly someone to fear. The larger than life physician was frail from age and years of incarceration.

During the film, I was amazed as actor Al Pachino transformed into Dr. Kevorkian’s shuffling, stooped over persona as he lived the doctor’s life goal, “to release people from undue suffering and embrace death.” To his patients, Dr. Death was The Angel of Mercy –A doctor who listened to his terminal patients and respected their individual and human right to die with dignity before their suffering reached a level that was inhumane. This idea is still important today because at some point we are all going to die. That is the rule of life. I accepted this fact after my cancer diagnosis. What I would not accept was the idea of undue suffering until my final moment. Many of my friends in therapy wouldn’t either. Some of them knew that their treatment was designed to give them time, not a cure. They chose to use that time to look for a quicker way out, before it was beyond their control. The fear of suffering is closely followed by the fear of a botched suicide. The question, “Does anyone know of a way to commit suicide that really works and is not bloody or messy?” was asked more than once in our close-knit group. Unfortunately, death and dying by one’s own hand is still a messy ordeal. Although Hollywood has perfected suicide, the human psyche has not. Desperation breeds misery. Where was Dr. Death when we needed him?—In jail!

The movie showed that Dr. Kevorkian didn’t chose his patients lightly, and he turned down more 97 percent of them—his patients chose him. He did extensive video interviews and was selective in deciding whom to deliver from the grip of undue suffering and place gently into the hands of waiting death.

I’ve heard arguments against suicide because people can have miracles healings. The blind might see again and believe me, I believe in miracles! I am a walking miracle. But for certain patients, Dr. Kevorkian was their miracle.
It is not the hospitals or doctors who are to blame for undue suffering. They are bound by policy that is governed and limited by law. The problem is not in the medical field but in the law. If a doctor has his license revoked, how many other needy patients is he not able to help. This is a medical catch 22 that must be addressed. Disconnecting someone from life support and allowing them to die “naturally” from starvation is not humane. We don’t even do that to our pets. We humanely put them “to sleep.” Do humans deserve less? Did Dr. Death do less?

As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote in 1969 in her book, On Death and Dying, “When a patient is severely ill, he is often treated like a person with no rights to an opinion.” Unfortunately, in 2010, I found that this is still often the case.
In the new age of Enlightment with holistic and integrative medicine are we still in the Dark Ages concerning death and dying? Watch You don’t Know Jack, April 24th on HBO and decide for yourself—Dr. Death or Angle of Mercy?

For pictures on the new Al Pacino movie “You Don’t Know Jack,” go to

About the Author: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos penned SURVIVINGCANCERLAND
Resources: THE NEW YORK POST, Friday, April 16th, 2010, pg 30

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My Article DEPRESSION: A Message From Self in Cape Women Online Magazine

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A great first piece of an ongoing series about getting an agent by editor Chuck Sambuchino of WRITER’S DIGEST that features my article.

Friday, April 9, 2010


As a shared recipient of the FABULOUS SUGAR DALL BLOGGER AWARD I was required to share ten unusual things about myself and choose five other awardees. Those awardees must then share ten things about themselves and chose five more awardees.

I have made my decision concerning my choices for the Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger awardees. Please forgive me. I tried but could not choose just five. I chose an even six—three Guys and three Dolls. &

Choosing was harder than I thought but for a very different reason than I had originally imagined— I had more than five awardees. Choices, choices! My fear had been that I would not know five people for this award. I’m pleased to say that I could have easily chosen ten or twenty. Networking on the Internet has made me rich in friendships. I thank the Universe for placing these wonderful people in my life and Lia Keys and Rachna Chhabria for creating and sharing this award. If Lia Keyes had not developed the award, she would have been first on my list. Here are my six choices:

Jackie Paulson a friend on C4Women (Connections for women.)

Genny Esterline one of my first friends on Connections for Women.

Richard D. Nielson a friend on Scribblerati who writes about life…just like me.

Jason McElholne- founder of Jason Network and a fantastic person who will go that extra mile for others.

Pamela Ferris-Olson- a great friend and writer who met me on FaceBook, took me under her wing and shared my message on her many sites.

Peter Canova- wonderful man who is deeply in touch with his “inner female” and author of the ground-breaking book POPE ANNALISA.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SHARING: The Sign of a True Friend

Sharing something sweet is the sign of a true friend and I feel privileged to be Rachna Chhabria’s. She shared her Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award with me. This award is given by British Fantasy Writer Lia Keys, founder of Scribblerati, and ScribeChat on Twitter

Although Rachna Chhabria and I became instant friends and blog followers on Scribblerati, I only knew her by her bio and her writing. I got such a kick out of reading the list of Ten Unique Things About Rachna. We shared similarities, such as reading and writing multiple books simultaneously. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was now required, as a shared recipient, to write my own list. This took some soul searching because it can’t be just any ol’ list. It must be unique. Okay, Rachna, I’m up for the challenge. Here goes….

1.)I was born in Frankfurt, Germany to an American military family. At age five I had to go before a judge to give up my dual citizenship and declare my American citizenship. After saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the judge asked me if I could show in any other way how much I wanted to be an American citizen. So I tap-danced to God Bless America.

2.)I was a first grader in Berlin, Germany the day the Berlin Wall went up. I watched it come down on TV while living in the United States.

3.)I am fourth generation Psychic. At the age of two I could see and hear ghosts.

4.)I love to scuba dive with sharks. I have never had a shark be aggressive toward me.

5.)I love to scuba dive with wild dolphin. It is like having dogs play under water with you—Big time play time! One dolphin handed me a piece of seaweed as a flower by using its tail like a hand.

6.)I never planned to be a writer. But like a kitten, my career chose me and I love it dearly.

7.)My doctors missed twice what my dreams and meditations were telling me—that I had cancer. My dreams proved to be right and my doctors wrong. I’m alive because I listened to myself.

8.)My synchronicity number is 1111. I notice it on clocks all the time. My favorite color is green.

9.)I raised a wild baby blackbird on my Siamese cat’s food. I have pictures of Fe-licks grooming Winky the bird. Winky still lives as a free bird in our backyard.

10.)My husband and I went for a boat ride and almost sank…we forgot to install the plug.


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