I was approached with the opportunity to ghostwrite for an author who was writing about his cancer journey. I’m still baffled by the timing, but that experience shifted into my eventual cancer journey.
Call it karma, fate or by the grace of God, but is it possible to get a preview of cancer before your diagnosis? I experienced that, and I’m still baffled by the timing.
It was early in 2014 when I met an author needing help with a manuscript about his cancer journey. I was in the business of ghostwriting memoirs but had never done one centering on cancer. I had a feeling at the time this was the right project at the right time for me. This man’s story intrigued me, and I worked hard on his book.
The Book Project Begins
For several months that year, I met weekly with the author, who held nothing back about the physical and emotional toll that cancer had brought upon him and his family.
But that’s not all that he shared.
He spoke admiringly about his oncology team, which included a surgeon and those who administered radiation and chemotherapy treatments. These medical professionals attacked the cancer with everything they had in their arsenal. The author wanted to underscore his unending appreciation for their life-saving help.
But surviving cancer does not rely alone upon the medical team. The other part of the equation is the support system everyone truly needs to recover, to grow stronger, to live, to heal. The author mounted his offense against cancer by calling upon his family and friends to keep up his spirits during this trying time.
They did not fail him, and he heaped praise upon them for their loving support in his memoir.
Cancer Strikes Me
I was wrapping up the book when, on a fateful day in October 2014, my own cancer diagnosis was revealed.
Of course, the news sent shockwaves through my entire being and for weeks I was not certain whether my time on earth had come to an end. The author was empathetic toward me, since I was now a patient with cancer just like himself. He told me to go home and rest up and work toward a place of healing. Those words resonated with me, and I was extremely grateful for his support.
Just like the author, I found a dedicated oncology team to handle my surgery and aftercare. And, like him, I built an emotional support team of family, friends and other cancer survivors who have become like brothers and sisters to me. He paved the way for me.
So, you see, you just never know what life has in store for you or who you will meet along the way to befriend, support, inform and guide you during a tumultuous time.
I have often reflected upon why, of all the topics in the world, I ended up being asked to write a memoir for a cancer survivor. It’salmost as if someone, or some force, was guiding me in that direction, to fortify, prepare and assist me for a life-changing event.
Neither a pot of gold nor a rainbow was in my future, but I received a precious gift indeed: Valuable insight from a fellow traveler who met his cancer head on — and survived to tell me about it.
In my book, that’s the gift of a lifetime.
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