(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.
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.