Some don’t like their cancer sprinkled with perks.
In April 2012, Florence Strang (cancer warrior) asked me to write a book with her. We didn’t know each other (at all) but the fact that we are both healthcare professionals led us to suspect that we shared the same mission statement :
Help others live a better life after a cancer diagnosis.
So even though we lived in two different countries, we started writing. Flo wrote the 100 Perks of Having Cancer and I wrote the 100 Health Tips for Surviving It. We sent out our manuscript and landed a publishing contract with a company out of California.
Fast forward 1 year and 3 months, and here we are getting ready to launch the book in Nashville at the Women’s Cancer Survivor’s Convention. But even though the book is not available yet, some have voiced their distain.
The title of the book…100 Perks of Having Cancer… is causing some to be…shall we say…less than kind. It doesn’t matter that they haven’t read the book. It doesn’t matter that Florence wrote her 100 “perks” while she was actively going through her treatment of chemo, surgery and radiation not knowing what her outcome would be. It doesn’t matter that they have never read anything we have ever written. They simply won’t tolerate the words “cancer” and “perks” used in the same sentence. And I respect that.
But many, as we found out in our recent CBC live radio interview, love the title. We heard from awe inspiring people who told us amazing stories that reinforced what we know and wrote about: That a positive change in your attitude can cause a positive change in your life…no matter how long or short that life is.
I know there are many that have suffered and still suffer with this disease. I know there are many that have watched loved ones die of cancer. I am one of them. I was giving my dad a back rub as he peacefully passed away in hospice of lymphoma. Believe me, the message of our book is not “Cancer is great! Go out ‘n get you some!” And never in this book will you read the words “Cancer is a gift.” (Cancer wrapped up in shiny paper with a bow is still cancer) The “gift”, if you will, is making you aware that you are alive. Sometimes we forget this. When you’re faced with not having one, life becomes precious.
But life is full of twists and turns…divorces, unemployment, loss, despair, loneliness and sometimes cancer. A “survivor’s attitude” is required to get through all of it.
I invite you to read the first two chapters of the book and see what you think. Are we out of line? Should we have taken our publisher’s recommendation and changed the title?
Are we just plain bad for wanting to help people feel good?
(I respect your opinion. Please tell me what you think!)