Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A fookin' good book - The Dog Lived and So Will I

One of the perks of being a world famous blogger is that you are on the lists of PR companies who want you to pimp their products for them.  I am, surprisingly, picky about what I choose to tell you about.  First, the item has to mostly relate to cancer (if the product is something Cancerous Ann is interested in, of course, that means it does relate.)  Then it has to somehow help my reader.  That would be you.

(Excuse me while I let my dogs in.)

Now, with my fame and beauty and with my future dying and all, you would think I'd be on lists to get backstage passes to Disneyland and Maui vacations and stuff, wouldn't you?  I mean, there are other people who only have a year or so to live - other people who got early payouts on their life insurance and are looking to make memories, and who want me to tell them where to go.

Just sayin'

But I'm not on those lists.  Mostly what I get are books.  And, mostly what I get are unreadable, forgettable books.  Everybody who has a cancer experience feels they must share it, whether they have writing talent or not.   After the last one, I told my husband that I really have to stop agreeing to read books anymore.

(Excuse me while I let my dogs out.)

Because, I'm kinda honorable about it, you know?  If I get a free book, I'm going to read it and review it and even try to say something nice about it   Even if it's horrible.  Because, at least that author did something that I'm not capable of doing, and that is getting a book written and published.  Unfortunately, right now, I have books lined up behind me and I'm not sure I have that much time left to read them all.

Dear PR Firms.  Yes, I know I'm behind.

(Excuse me while I let the dogs in.)

So, when the package for the book The Dog Lived (and So Will I) arrived in the mail, I was distressed.  Oh no, another book, I can't do it.  I don't feel good, my back hurts, my knees are fookin' killing me,  I just want to read some crappy chick lit about shopping for purses and not another book about cancer.

But, when I opened the package and saw a picture of a beautiful beagle smiling up at me, I smiled back.  It immediately went to the head of the line.  I opened the book, and read it from start to finish.  I even dragged my dusty old book light out of the drawer and fired up new batteries so I could read in bed.

It was such a pleasure, I sighed in relief.  It was well-written, entertaining and well-edited, too, I might add.  (I've come to realize how important that is.)

This is the memoir of a woman just a bit younger than me who is dating a much younger man.  She reminds me of myself, in a sense.  (Hey, I could be a couger too, if I still had eyebrows/lashes, hair and boobs.).  She, like me, has a toast-loving hound dog (although I have two and they are greyhounds).  She nurses her spoiled little beagle through his frightening (for her, not the dog) bout of cancer, (two of my pets died of cancer while I was undergoing initial therapy)  and then she - like me -  finds out she has breast cancer.  She also, like me, blogs her experience, for the same reasons I started mine - ease of updating family and friends.

(Excuse me, I have to let the dogs out.)

Well, what can I say about her memoir without giving it away?  She survives, as the title implies.  She has problems with family and work, just like we all do, with a bit of cancer thrown into the mix.   She is funny and warm-hearted and honest.   Why do I love this book?  Because, aside from its doggy goodness, Teresa doesn't whine through her cancer experience. (Either of them).  She seems to have put it and any subsequent fear in the proper perspective.   She chooses, from the beginning, to look at the bright, hopeful side.  She recounts a tale of being accosted by a woman at radiation who wants to know her "number."  When she sorts out what that means, (odds of recurrence) Teresa says "85% chance it won't come back."  And, of course, the woman accuses her of being in denial for not seeing that she has a 15% chance that it will.

In cancerland, there are far too many people who focus on the wrong numbers, the wrong ideals, the wrong statistics, and for whom the glass is always half empty.  So many are focused on the potential for death that they forget to enjoy life.   Teresa is not one of them.  She believes in the day-to-day goodness of living: good food and hot tubs and love, which is a teeny bit dog-like (and why we love them so), and why you will love Teresa too.    Teresa is the cancer survivor I would have been, if my story had taken a different turn.

(Excuse me, I have to let the dogs in, and pet their sweet, scruffy heads)

Her book is a great read, humorous, real and interesting, and I am pretty sure you do not have to be a cancer survivor to enjoy it. You can buy her book by clicking on the photo below:

There are two books I've read in my 3 years with cancer that I found really wonderful, especially for the newly diagnosed.  One is Lopsided: A Memoir, by Meredith Norton, and the other is this one.  Both of these woman had triple negative breast cancer and both of these woman carried on with their lives with grace, humor and a big dose of perspective. I think both of these woman can show a newly diagnosed cancer patient just how its done. In Teresa's case, it's by grabbing life one lovely day at a time.

*Oh and I actually did get up and down all those times to let my dogs in and out.  Now you know why my knees fookin' hurt.


  1. Hi Ann,

    I hope you get credit...I pre-ordered the book for my kindle (it will be avail. in Oct..) Can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing!

    Suzanne Peckham

  2. Thank you! Yes, I get 4% of sales if you use my site to buy stuff. It goes up a little after a certain number of items are reached. Also, if people are shopping at Amazon and start from my blog, anything they put in their cart will be credited to me. I will be reminding folks of that a lot as the holidays approach! You won't be sorry, it's an excellent book.

  3. Thanks for sharing Ann! As a triple negative myself, I am always looking for books I can relate to.

  4. Hi Ann!
    Thank you so much for this! (I was holding my breathe while reading...I can exhale now ;-) ). I don't know if you remember this but you and I were profiled together in a Woman's Day article on breast cancer bloggers a couple of years ago. And I'm so flattered to be mentioned with Meredith Norton's "Lopsided"--I too really loved and appreciated that book. Just wanted to say thanks. I'm very glad this was an enjoyable read for you. That means a lot to me. Give your pups an extra belly rub from me and an AAAARRRRROOOOOOO from Seamus.

  5. Hi Teresa, I remember the Woman's Day profile well. It was about as famous as I've ever gotten, and I was flattered to be in such great company. :) Thank you for...uh...thanking me. You wrote a fantastic book, and I'm properly in awe of you.

    I will rub Cherry and Trista's bellies for you and I'll get 'roos back - in stereo.

    Good luck with the book. If it becomes a movie, and it should (and Jennifer Aniston should do it even if it typecasts her as a dog mom) remember me if you are looking for extras with chemo experience. No shaving necessary. :)

  6. I've been lurking on your blog for months. You are like, "Tina Fey" talented and you aren't afraid to write about the challenges you have with your family. Politically I agree with every damn thing you say. I'm an atheist who spent five years in Sacto and I wish I had known you. I'll be listening from now till whenever.

  7. I was diagnosed in March and have only read one cancer book which made me nauseous and two blogs, a friend's and this one. I'm not in denial. I just don't want to think about it all the time. Maybe I'll get more involved as I travel further in and chemo gets further behind. I do have a blog but the cancer treatment is fairly peripheral . Maybe that will change too. One thing this has taught me is that nothing is set in stone any more!

  8. Diagnosed in July. On Friday the 13th of course. I totally blame the date. My reply was an instantaneous "But I HATE pink!!", because obviously that meant that I can't have cancer at 32. Also, I was too busy for it.

    I initially saw your blog and had to stop reading it for the same reason it is awesome: it is reality and you look it dead in the eye and laugh with it and I wasn't QUITE there yet. Now, with a mastectomy behind me, followed by a lymph node dissection to catch those pesky mets we missed the first time, I start chemo this month. I am a little more prepared for reality.

    I hate that this is my reality and your reality and so many other's, but hell, it could be worse right? I mean, my sister ran in the Race for the Cure this morning...with my poor nephew dressed all in pink in his stroller. *face palm* I was hoping to only be the reason MY OWN children will need therapy.

    Can't wait to read this book. "Lopsided" was the best, most real, most helpful book I read in the first week or so after I was diagnosed. It made me laugh when I thought I couldn't, when I was still literally shaking in terror.

    Just like you. So thanks.

  9. I finished the book yesterday and enjoyed it :)


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