David’s Cancer Journey Gets National Attention
David and Debbie relax before the first chemo treatment
For months now, we at SWHPN have been following David’s Cancer Videoblog, a chronicle of David Oliver’s journey as a cancer patient diagnosed with nasal pharyngeal carcinoma. Although David’s blog is an invaluable teaching tool for patients, students, family members and others, we didn’t just happen on this blog by accident. David, a medical school professor at the University of Missouri, is the husband of SWHPN Board Member Debra Parker Oliver, a hospice social worker currently teaching and researching at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Both David and Debra have dedicated their professional careers to helping others understand what they are now facing in their own lives.
David has taken his diagnosis as a good teacher would, as an opportunity to teach others about his treatment process. Tying in his loyalty to his school and favorite football team, he appears in each video sporting Mizzou team gear and jokes often about the “puke buckets” he’s keeping close, each enblazoned with the logos of his rival teams, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas Jayhawks. Assisted by his filmographer Debra, David’s videos begin with his announcement to colleagues of his diagnosis and take us through his first head shaving, his first chemotherapy treatment, the after effects of the treatments, his dialogues with his doctors, the support he’s receiving from family and loved ones, and, best of all, an up moment when his scan results come back to show shrinkage. All of these are sprinkled with David’s signature warmth, Midwestern character and appreciation for a good laugh.
With the posting of his fifth video, entitled I am not alone: Social Support and Cancer, David’s blog has captured the attention of national media. Picked up by an Associated Press (AP) writer yesterday, David’s story has now been featured in more than 800 online articles, including this article in the Washington Post. Moreover, David and Debra have been invited to appear on Charlie Rose in a live interview this Monday, February 6, and in a feature on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer Monday evening. This attention is well deserved for the straight-talking, inspirational, often humorous and always informative videos David has created. We will post videos and links after the reports air on Monday.
In the meantime, David, Debra, and family, we’re watching, and we look forward to your next post!