First, You Cry (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
When Betty Rollin first discovered a lump in her breast, she did not take it seriously. Neither did Dr. Smith, her internist. However, just to be sure, Dr. Smith suggested mammograms (low radiation X-rays of the breast). Dr. Ellby, the mammographer, took a look but was not worried, either. Only Betty’s husband, novelist Arthur Herzog, remained fearful that she might have cancer.
First, You Cry is Rollin’s personal story about her discovery, a year after finding the lump, that it was indeed cancerous, and how the removal of a breast affected her life. Ironically, the author is the same television news correspondent who had reported on the mastectomy of Betty Ford, the President’s wife. She reports her own ordeal with startling frankness and wit.
As a journalist, Rollin had unconsciously considered herself immune from affliction. “You note screams in your spiral notebook, but they never come from your own throat.” Besides, she had always been in perfect health. Raised as a Jewish princess, Betty had been showered with love and high expectations. Deciding to be something, she became an actress, a writer, a senior editor at Look magazine, and then an NBC news correspondent. Confident and lucky, she always got everything she wanted, and none of the bad things reported on the evening news—deprivation, injustice, disease—touched her directly. They seemed remote as cancer.
She soon learned that the word...
(The entire section is 1240 words.)
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