Deborah Cohen is one inspirational person. She is a woman who has always felt the spirit of movement and rhythm. Dancing is in her soul and she uses dance as a way to express her joy and her sadness. But Deborah Cohen is more than a dancer. She is a breast cancer patient, and she is also an OB/GYN at the San Francisco General Hospital where she focuses her attention in the areas of Perinatal HIV, Gynecological HIV, Sexually transmitted infections, HIV epidemiology, and Sex worker health. While her work sounds depressing, her nature is anything but! And when Dr. Cohen was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wasted no time planning a course of treatment that included laughter, high spirits, and dancing.
Not long after her diagnosis, Deborah sat down at her computer and posted this on her caringbridge page:
“Dance! I’m hoping to organize a (quiet) flash mob on post-op day 1 (November 6th) in the hallway of my hospital room at Mt Zion Hospital in SF. Details to follow. I have visions of nurses, patients, my community members (and maybe a few surgery residents) transforming the solemn space of a hospital into a vibrant healing ward.”
Her plans had to be adjusted along the way, but just prior to going into the operating room for her double mastectomy, she found her opportunity!
With Beyoncé’s “Get Me Bodied” blasting in the OR, she and a team of doctors and nurses responsible for her care let their hair down. The spirit of the moment was infectious and the atmosphere changed into exactly what she had originally hoped for. It became the “vibrant healing ward” she had imagined.
A report in Buzzfeed quoted the latest entry on her caringbridge page:
“Deb’s surgery was very successful. No visible lymph node involvement. She’s in good spirits. Already did some walking. Amazing.”
I think the word “amazing” is the perfect descriptor for Dr. Deborah Cohen. Wishing her a smooth recovery, a cancer-free future, and many more years of gyrating, pirouetting, and laughing.