William S. Laird, author of the unflinching memoir “Not Me, Cancer,” speaks with CURE’s “Cancer Horizons” podcast about the decision to share his story and the importance of perseverance.
William S. Laird gives readers an enlightening, inspiring and unflinching look at his journey with appendiceal cancer in the memoir “Not Me, Cancer,” now available via Archway Publishing.
“I wrote this book when I was on chemo,” Laird tells CURE. “And I told my wife one day, I said, ‘I'm gonna write a book about this experience.’ And of course, I got a pump on my side, and she's looking at me like I'm a little bit crazy, because I'm not an author. And she was kind of like ‘Oh well,’ or not kind of believing it.
“But two weeks later, I started typing and I journaled my story, and not my whole story but I took it to a point where I felt I made my points. And I felt like God tapped me on the shoulder to write this book. He helped me write it. And I think there's good messaging in it.”
Laird first received a diagnosis of appendiceal cancer in 2015. In the nearly decade since, he has undergone 35 rounds of chemotherapy and counting as well as procedures including a surgical debulking via HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) — or, as he puts it: “Basically you’re cut open, pelvis to sternum, and they take all your insides out, and if there's anything in there they don't like they take it out, and they kind of put you back together and run 107 degree chemo therapy through your abdomen for an hour and a half with nurses pushing on your abdomen to get it in every crack and crevice.”
In this episode of the “Cancer Horizons” podcast, Laird speaks with CURE about his decision to share his story, his cancer journey so far and the importance of perseverance.
“Now, it's a rare cancer, I don't know if it ever goes away, I'm gonna try to outfight it,” he said. “But I never look at the situation like this is the end of me. I don't. It's just (that) this is a bump in the road, it's supposed to be part of my life, and I deal with it.
“I'll get chemo, sometimes I'll be at work the next day. And people see I really push. And so I don't do things traditionally. And I even see it when people find out I've got cancer, they are ‘Oh, no,’ like, ‘Oh, that's the end,’ but to me, it isn't. It's just part of my life, and I'm a fighter.”
Early in “Not Me, Cancer,” Laird makes a clear case for sharing his story of survivorship, writing that “all of what we know and experience from others can have a personal impact on each of us if we are faced with the same cancer challenges.”
“I'm a human, I care about my fellow humans,” he tells CURE, “and if I can have an impact on this planet, and make a difference for people, which I believe I can, then I feel like I'm kind of gifted a little bit. … If by my example I can help others, to me, that's the most important thing that I can do in my lifetime.”
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