But it also includes the real-time voices of those supporting me: recreating exactly the email correspondence of the members of my private support blog. Their messages wise, funny, and warm. By depicting them, The Cancer Olympics shows how social media can be a source of comfort and strength when facing the unimaginable.
Readers of The Cancer Olympics draw solace from those many voices. Here is a letter I received recently:
I hope that you will permit me the indulgence of sharing a bit of my story so that you will understand how you have impacted me. We have never met, but we do know a number of the same people. I expect that, had our paths crossed, we would have become friends.
Last month, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and this diagnosis has rocked my world far more profoundly than I would have ever expected. She is experiencing so many losses in a very short period of time - the loss of her health, her home, her job, her social network, and so on. It has been super hard to see the many layers of grief, and I am, of course, experiencing my own grief with regard to that with which she is dealing.
On the weekend, a mutual Facebook friend commented on the guest blog that you posted as a tribute to your friend, Cathie. I read her post, and then looked up your book. I finished it this afternoon.
I want to thank you for your honesty and self-disclosure and to let you know that I have received immense comfort from you. I can't put words to why I feel comforted. Some might think that it is morbid to read about a journey with cancer when I am facing a quite different experience. My mom will not be cured. This we know. And it is not my own journey, but one that I will experience only vicariously. My journey will be grounded in figuring out how to support my mom as she makes decisions about quality and quantity of life. I also need to figure out how to find peace in a relationship that has always been complex and conflictual. I want to do both of things well.
At some level, what you share in your book has made me feel more grounded. I will continue to wrestle with the questions, spiritual and practical, with which I am presented over the coming days, weeks and months, but I want you to know that I feel certain that aspects of your wisdom and that of your friends will be a great help to me.
God knows what we need and I am grateful that He has spoken to my heart through you. Thank you and I wish you continued health and happiness.
With gratitude and respect, C
The story of The Cancer Olympics continues, in the voices of the readers responding to it. And also in my own voice, with which I will celebrate the accomplishment of such comfort to others for as long a time as I am given.
The Cancer Olympics can be ordered online via Amazon and Indigo, but the donation to cancer charity is maximized by ordering online from The Friesenpress Bookstore.