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Dina's Diary: Journey of a Cancer Survivor

Saturday, September 11, 2010 9pmProducer: Capital Public RadioListen AgainTwo weeks before Thanksgiving Day 2005, Dina Howard was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the ensuing months, the 39-year-old mother of two faced agonizing decisions about surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.At the time of her diagnosis, Dina, a former actress and arts administrator, was starting work as a freelance arts reporter for public radio station KXJZ in Sacramento. Despite having no radio experience, she had reporter-like instincts and lots of enthusiasm. While still dealing with the shock of the diagnosis, Dina had an idea: maybe she should keep the equipment she borrowed from the station and document her own battle with cancer. It would give her a task to focus on, she reasoned. And maybe the finished product would be helpful to others someday.And so, for one year between Thanksgivings, Dina kept an audio diary. But she didn't just record end-of-the-day reflections about her ordeal. She recorded her raw reactions during the most crucial moments of treatment: while she was in the pre-op waiting room before mastectomy surgery, in the infusion lounge during chemotherapy, and during radiation treatments with a giant machine hovering overhead.

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