Renee in Cancerland
My name is Renee. I was 30 years old when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout countless chemos, three brain surgeries, and everything else that life threw at me, I wrote about my journey in Cancerland. This book was written from a place of experience with wit and hope that is infectious to all who read. You can’t walk away from this book unchanged. I know I didn't. More
I have got back and forth with myself on how to actually write this whole book because let’s call a spade a spade: this IS my first rodeo.
I am writing this now to help get it out of me and relive it in a way that I can look back on with a new perspective. I hope by doing this, it will no longer sneak up and attack me with dread, fear and pain that hits so hard at such unexpected times.
I have gotten advice on how I should approach writing this book, but when I look at me - at who I really am, I knew from the beginning I wouldn’t be taking any of that advice.
With that being said, please know I realize this book isn’t 100% perfect. In all honesty, I don’t want it to be perfect. I am not in any way perfect, so why would something I write be perfect? I don’t have a grammar book sitting next to me to look up run-on sentences (even if I did, I wouldn’t use it)!
This is me. I want you to hear my voice telling you this story and in order to do that, I have to write like I talk…sometimes long-winded, sometimes short and messy, sometimes short and sweet, or sometimes no point is ever really made. But I promise you this, this is all from my heart.
With that being said, I never intended to write a book. Well, I guess I never intended to have Stage IV breast cancer either. This book has been six years in the making. At 30 years, I thought I was going to be raising children, strengthening a marriage and doing my part in the community. However, at 30, I found myself begging the matter of my life.
I was thrown the cancer card.
Before I get into all there, let’s get the messy details out of the way:
1. 30 years old
a. My baby boy just turned 1 year old.
b. I felt the lump
c. Breast cancer
d. Chemo, surgery, radiation then clean and clear!
2. Life went on
3. 32 years old
a. Routine scan
b. Heard the most heart breaking words – Stage IV Breast Cancer
I wish it were really at quick and easy as the nice little outline I wrote for you, but it is so far from that. So, SO far from that.
It has taken many of processing what Stage IV cancer means, treatable but no curable. Those words, “treatable but not curable” haunted me for years. These words are devastating, the journey terrifying. There is no way to sugarcoat it so I won’t even try, but hopefully through my experiences you will see, it doesn’t have the be the end.
This has been the longest, hardest, most heartbreaking yet fulfilling journey I could have never imagined as my life. I am putting this out it into the world to help others see what is possible and what really matters through it all. Not just through cancer, but through life.
It is hard to comprehend the blessings that others have brought me; the only way to serve these blessings is to share them with others. It is my prayer that you draw some strength and wisdom from this book and my journey and know that there is more to life beyond the initial cancer diagnosis.
I have met and been helped by so many people I can’t ever begin to start a list to thank then all. They are all so appreciated and loved it is hard to comprehend at times.
My hope is that those going through a hard time can draw some strength and wisdom from my experiences and know that there is more to life beyond that initial blow that is so devastating …for me it was “cancer” but for you, could be anything.
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