I received a call last week from a nearby cancer center, telling me of a patient who read my book who wanted to speak with me. This patient admitted that the woman at the cancer center had warned her about reading my book; she was concerned because the woman is having a difficult time right now in her own battle with cancer. But someone had recommended my book to this patient, so she chose to check it out—even though the woman at the cancer center described my book as “Raw.”
I have rolled this adjective around in my head, and I have concluded it is an accurate description. In fact, this was my goal, complete honesty. I didn’t want to sauté, fry, or barbecue my cancer story, nor did I want to coat it with goopy, sweet frosting. I wanted to tell the truth.
I guess truth is “Raw.”
I know sometimes people are uncomfortable with the truth. When we began working with Greenleaf Book Group a year ago to create the second edition of my book, they recommended that I end it at the point where I finished chemo. My mom composed a four-page rebuttal, detailing why cutting off the recovery part of my story would be like “chopping off a body part.” (Guess who won this debate?)
I knew I had to include my recovery if I wanted my story to be truthful. The truth was, for me, my cancer battle was not over when treatment ended. It was the beginning of a whole set of other problems that turned out to be the most fierce battle of all to get well. I want more people to know that this is truth for many children. Not only do I want people to know this truth, but I want people to understand that, after cancer treatments, children are like “giant, open, walking wounds,” with a huge job of recovery before them.
I understand why people would not want to hear the truth. I understand why they would want to conceal it and hide it under a rock. This doesn’t work for me. I imagine how much easier it would be for children who are in recovery if we all understood what they are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Even though it may be tough to chew and hard to digest, I believe in truth.
To finish the story about the woman from the cancer center who read my book… she contacted me and told me it was “just what she needed.”
Some people do like truth =)
I wonder if anyone will make me put a Warning Label on the cover of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery?
Warning! Truth may be hazardous!