In this post, I want to share the goals I have for my memoir, Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person: A memoir about cancer as I know it. I don’t have a ton of goals, but I have some. One goal I do not have is to be on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Whew, that takes a lot of pressure off. Just kidding. But seriously, I do have some goals that are important to me and I hope they are important to some of you, my dear readers, as well.
Here they are, in no particular order or anything, because, well, you know me by now, right?
1. My story needed telling.
It’s like releasing a part of me into the universe or something.
2. I want to start conversations about cancer, yes, but also about dying, death, grief and loss.
I don’t think it’s healthy how our society shies away from these topics. It’s important and healthier in the long run to talk about death and grief. I share pretty candidly about my mother’s death and how it impacted me. If I start even a few conversations about this topic, I will be pleased.
3. I want to stress how everyone reacts differently to the death of a loved one and how everyone grieves differently.
This is true even within the same family. Having said this, I hope I don’t piss off any of my relatives, especially my siblings. That certainly was never my intent.
4. I want to talk about the ugly side of breast cancer because it’s not pink, pretty or gift-like. It’s horrible. And too many keep dying from it.
I don’t know about you, but I am weary of the rah-rah, I’m-a-better-person-since-my-diagnosis type of cancer story. I share the truth, well, my truths and they aren’t always pretty. I definitely do NOT come across as strong, brave or heroic in any way, shape or form because I wasn’t. I’m not. I never will be. Did I share too much? Maybe. Maybe not.
5. I want readers to understand that grief is never over. Cancer isn’t either, at least this is the case for me. And this is okay.
After a cancer diagnosis and after loss, I say ditch the societal pressure to find a new normal and move on (or however it is framed). Move forward, yes, but this feels much different than moving on. Cancer and grief are not experiences a person can tuck neatly behind her, at least I cannot. I don’t even want to. (More on this at some point).
6. I want to make a statement that stories from ordinary people matter too.
It’s not just the celebrity stories that need to be heard. Everyone’s story matters, mine and yours too.
7. I want to focus on metastatic breast cancer.
I hope my memoir further exposes metastatic breast cancer for what it really is – horrible and deadly. And massively under-funded research wise. Again, I plan to donate 10% of my book profits to metastatic research efforts.
8. I want a newly diagnosed person to pick up my book and get a feel for what some of this cancer shit is like.
I don’t believe in telling fluffy, “pinktified” versions of breast cancer reality. Some might say, don’t scare people. I say, it’s scarier to not be told truths. This doesn’t mean my truths are your truths, but truthful sharing is always more helpful IMO. Besides, I certainly didn’t share everything. Not even close!
9. I want to further expose the unfair expectations cancer patients are too often burdened with and encourage them to do cancer and grief their own ways.
10. I want to talk about and raise awareness about hereditary cancer, including but not limited to BRCA.
In a nutshell, my main message is this:
Having cancer is bad enough. Surviorship is no picnic either. No one should have to smile her way through any of it, unless of course, she/he wants to.
So those are my goals. I’ll tweak them as we go along.
As always, thank you for “listening.”
In my next post, I’ll be asking for your help with spreading the word about my book and will be sharing specific things you can do, if you’re so inclined, of course.
Did/do you ever feel like you’re supposed to smile your way through cancer chaos (any of it)?
Which goal speaks to you the most (if any).
I would greatly appreciate any and all shares of this post. Thank you in advance.