Roger Ebert is an inspiration - his words about coming to terms with his changed appearance

Film critic and author Roger Ebert appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show today. He's been battling thyroid cancer since 2002, and has had his entire jaw removed and has endured multiple surgeries and attempts to reconstruct his jaw. He can no longer eat, drink or talk, but he continues to write reviews and blogs. A full-page photo of him as he looks now recently appeared in an Esquire magazine article.

Besides the example he sets for everyone in dealing with adversity and maintaining a positive attitude, I was particularly moved by his comments on Oprah about his appearance. After saying he won't have more surgeries, he said (emphasis added by me):

"I'm not going to talk, or eat or drink again, so the surgery would only be to patch my face back together...THIS IS THE WAY I LOOK AND MY LIFE IS HAPPY AND PRODUCTIVE...NOBODY LOOKS PERFECT. WE HAVE TO FIND PEACE WITH THE WAY WE LOOK AND GET ON WITH LIFE."

There are several excerpts here, and this quote is in the last short video on this page:

Dear fellow Alopecians - if this man can have this attitude given his loss and the degree to which his appearance has been so radically altered, why can't we accept our lack of hair and "find peace with the way we look and get on with life"? I'm asking myself this, too - not just saying it to all of you. Though I've accepted the fact that I'm bald, I still have days when I feel angry about it, or ugly, or depressed, or self-pitying.....When that happens, I'm going to try to remember this interview. I'll remember and repeat his words that I've highlighted above. ALL I have is no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes.


Views: 15

Comment by Joy on March 2, 2010 at 9:09pm
ahh...i missed the show today and really wanted to watch the whole interview. Roger Ebert isnt giving up and its a good lesson for us all. thanks for writing this blog. you yourself are an inspiration to me!!! i admire people who can boldy go without wearing hair..i know you do it for the comfort but it still takes strength.... Blessings to you!! thanks for writing this!
Comment by Mary on March 3, 2010 at 12:01am
I just watched the whole interview that I'd recorded. The excerpts on the website I cited give you most of the best parts of it.
Comment by Stephanie on March 3, 2010 at 12:05pm
Thanks for this, Mary. He is an inspiration. For those of us with AA who are neither here nor there (not bald but covered with odd patches) it is frustrating. We cannot go out proudly bald (too much hair to shave) nor wear truly realistic wigs such as the Freedom wig. However, compared to what he is going through it's a walk in the park!
Comment by Mary on March 3, 2010 at 12:48pm
I hadn't really thought of the situation you have, Stephanie - neither here nor there. I only had about a month where my bald spots were too large to cover with my remaining hair, then I shaved it and started wearing a wig. I was AU pretty soon after that. It must be frustrating!
Comment by Sam Sam on March 3, 2010 at 3:37pm
Iam also a Thyroid Cancer Survivor. His words are touching in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.
Comment by Pamela Rosse on June 28, 2010 at 11:54pm
Amen Mary, he truly is an amazing man & a inspiration to us all.
Comment by Cheryl, Co-founder on July 6, 2010 at 1:07pm
Hi Mary, It was because of this great blog that rj posted the video on Alopecia World. What a real inspiration, with real insight. We spend a lot of time trying to cover up our flaws, when I truly believe that listening and take the lead from people like this is our real answer. It reminds me over and over again... "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Thanks again Mary.
Comment by Mary on July 6, 2010 at 1:11pm
Thanks, Cheryl. I was so moved when I first saw Roger Ebert's interview. You've probably already seen my earlier blog about Michael J. Fox and his Parkinson's Disease, but in case others haven't here's a similar quote from it, and the link:

"Have you ever found yourself embarrassed by your disease?
A: Yes, early on, certainly. Now I feel and I say all the time that vanity is, like, long gone. I'm really free of worrying about what I look like, because it's out of my shaky hands. I don't control it. So why would I waste a second of my life worrying about it?


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