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CancerCation is a memoir about a beautiful actress whose perfect life is shattered by breast cancer. Our heroine battles the unseen trials and tribulations of this evil mutated carcinogen with a grace that would make Audrey Hepburn swoon, a courage that would shame an African Bush lion, and a calm that makes the eye of a hurricane look like the bounce house at Chuck E. Cheese. She emerges victorious, so deeply enlightened that Tibetan Monks come to her when they need to chill out.
Okay, that’s going to be the movie version. The book version is an authentic trip down the cancer rabbit hole with a reluctantly funny narrator: me! When my life was rudely interrupted by cancer I did my best, but I handled it about as elegantly as Lucy at the chocolate factory. How was I supposed to explain to the wardrobe guy why at one point my left breast was a whopping 600 cc’s and the one on the right was an unenthusiastic 34b? (I called them porn boob and sad banana.)
I mean, dealing with work was hard enough, in show business your bra size is part of your resume, but there was the rest of life. Romance? When do you tell a date you have cancer – before or after the entrées? Family? My Mom still suspects cancer is contagious. Porn? How exactly do you navigate Google to find pictures of breasts? Because when my plastic surgeon asked me for a wish list I found out just typing in “pretty breasts” can get you some pretty scary (think dirty Japanese schoolgirl uniforms, ladies on farm equipment, by koi ponds, clock shops?…) results!
Nights? Ha! Why sleep when you can obsess? Why me? If everything happens for a reason, what’s the reason? Was that pain in my stomach more cancer? What about that ache in my back, that spot in my eye? If everything happens for a reason…
But there were also moments of incredible compassion and love that showed up when I most needed them. It was humor and my absolute will to believe these tiny miracles were God’s way of showing me a path to something more.
Cancer is an awful, gross, scary, disgusting experience that can be full of unexpected gifts and hope.
Statistics say that one in eight woman will get breast cancer. Every woman will have her own journey – and it’s okay to laugh at mine. In my wildest imagination it’s kind of like if Dave Barry and Joan Didion had a love child. And that child got cancer.
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