Show no fear. To me it is hands down the first rule in facing cancer (PS I’ve got a huge crush on Ralph Macchio to this day). I believe it’s so important that I devoted a whole chapter to it (not the crush on Ralphie, the other thing) and it’s why I pushed for an early release of the 2nd edition just so that I could correct what I considered a serious typo. No, not the extra commas where they don’t belong or the extra vowels or consonants in words that don’t normally fit according to the Society Against Grammatical Boobery (a society to which I am surely a poster child), but because the word “cancer” was capitalized and I just couldn’t stand it. It’s like nails on a fken chalkboard to me.
Why? Well, we all have our ways of dealing with things we don’ t like. My way of facing this disease was to refuse to give it all the credence the media and others seemed to. I thought of it more like the Jesse James of diseases that spew out all kinds of crap just to get noticed, so I figure if it doesn’t get my attention it’ll shrink in strength and notability.
Now when I say this I am not (hell no) saying “ignore it and it’ll go away”. I’m saying that I’m not going to cower or kowtow or even engage in debate with it. It was an uninvited guest and it needed to leave my body. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wave my arms around and go into a tirade whenever anyone mentions its name. I just quietly flip it the bird or sniff my nose in distaste and those small, somewhat silly gestures helped me keep the necessary frame of mind to face and fight to win.
Like a kid trying to finagle their way out of their chores, I’ve been continually trying to break free from this book and this disease, pick up my camera and guitar and get on with life, but something keeps pulling me back and I think its got mostly to do with Chapter 3. I feel like I can’t walk away until millions of people are less afraid of cancer and better prepared to deal with it. Until they are all quietly sniffing their noses in the air and flipping that word the bird, until they have all come to accept that death is just a means to an end and that they should enjoy life right here and now despite “x”, whatever that x represents, whether it be cancer, a bad breakup, a handicap, a fear of failure or what success could turn us into…when that days comes, I will finally feel I’ve done my duty and can step away from the podium, but when I hear (like I did this morning) that someone is in the hospital because their WBC was too low and I think how that could’ve been avoided, I feel a pit in my stomach and then I know, gdfekndammitinafknhandbasket, I know I’m where I’m meant to be.
Amazon’s free download weekend has ended. That door has closed and a lot of people walked through it which feels great. It just didn’t feel like I did enough. It was successful and the best part was getting a tweet back from Scott Hamilton (who is in my books one of the best ice skaters/cancer kickers of all time) with words of encouragement. That part was great, but word on the street is people who don’t have Kindles said the download of the Amazon reader was a hassle to do, so they got frustrated and gave up.
Well, that sucks, won’t do and I want to make it up, so if you’re reading this and you haven’t downloaded the free copy of the eBook, then click on the book below and you can get the first edition, free of charge and free of hassle. Why? Because I keep thinking of how lost I was when I first found out and that no one who’s just been diagnosed, head reeling, should have to wait for the postman to deliver the information they need right now. My marketing guy is shaking his head into his hands, but I am smiling and going to sleep like a baby tonite so, there.
Whether we like it or not, cancer affects one in three people at some stage in their lives. So, you’re in a queue at the Post Office or in the supermarket; the person in front of you, or the person behind you, or…you…will be the target of that deadliest of enemies. Ergo, out of the world’s seven billion people (and growing), an estimated 2.3 billion will be affected. Quite sobering, isn’t it? So, it’s not surprising that one or two have put pen to paper (or finger to key) to relate the experiences of how they have coped/are coping with the disease, or how they have helped others manage the disease, or how they have been affected by someone else near and very dear to them who suffered or are suffering from cancer. Quite a lot more than one or two, actually, judging by the number of books that turn up if you put `cancer’ into Amazon’s search. However, one thing you can be absolutely sure of is that each person who writes a book on the subject has a unique approach to the subject.
The C Card and Me is not just another book about cancer: it’s a very down-to-earth, no-punches-pulled, witty, funny (yes, funny), how-to-cope `guide’…with all the ghastliness of everything that comes with the gruelling regime of chemotherapy.
I always have trouble with books like this: how can I say I enjoyed it? Poor Ali was going to hell and back in varying degrees of yukkiness of stage IV cancer. So I need to make it clear that what I enjoyed was learning about this lady’s character: she’s a no-nonsense, balanced, intelligent, well-adjusted, articulate, and multi-talented person with a tremendous amount of sense of humour, and you can’t help feeling you’d love to meet her. She was the one out of three who pulled the short straw, but she’s a shining example of that overused cliché: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
This wasn’t just a book on how to cope with cancer: it was about a person with a huge personality who wasn’t to be beaten. It was inspirational.
This was a very well-written account by a very couragious don’t-mess-with-me, cancer! lady, who really ought to write a novel. I sincerely hope that it will be something she adds to her already admirable talents as a photographer, singer/songwriter and musician.