Slapped Awake: Living With Breast Cancer: A Journey in Poetry and Prose

CURE, Summer 2007, Volume 6, Issue 4

Survivor chronicles her life with metastatic breast cancer in Slapped Awake.

Deborah Lang Hampton says her book conveys the emotional landscape of living the mets and tests and blessings as she settled into the first generation of survivors living with metastatic disease who have a lot to share about the process of “being aware of dying and fully engaged in living.”

Hampton, the daughter of a cancer survivor, followed her breasts carefully with mammography and self-exams. She wasn’t supposed to get breast cancer, she says. But there it was at age 42 in 1994.

After chemotherapy and surgery she became involved with Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization as a staff member. Reconstruction in 1997 was followed by an invitation to serve on the Scientific Peer Review Panel for Department of Defense funds earmarked for breast cancer. Then, in 1999, a mass found under her newly reconstructed right breast was removed. She began chemotherapy again.

From this point forward, Hampton talks about living with cancer and making it a part of her life as she tries to be a mother and partner while going through multiple remissions and treatments. Hampton captures difficult subjects with honest, forthright talk. She talks about facing death, which some days she thinks will be from breast cancer, while other days she doesn’t.

For women living with cancer, this book helps. It answers the question: How will I go on if it comes back? You will do it like Hampton has—one day at a time with poetry and love and goodwill.