CancerLand Bookshelf: The Cancer Monologue Project

Posted July 26th, 2010

After my first cancer surgery, I woke up hungry. Ravenously hungry. Give-me-something-to-eat-now-or-else hungry. The way my stomach was growling, you would think that I had been fasting for weeks, and not just since midnight the night before being admitted to the hospital. But now it was after 5 pm, I was out of recovery and […]


CancerLand Bookshelf: My One-Night Stand with Cancer

Posted July 8th, 2010

The CancerLand journey is made up of moments.  Strange moments.  Defining moments. Once-in-a-lifetime types of encounters, often intensely traumatic experiences that mark and change you:  physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Forever it seems. Ask any cancer survivor.  Some will say it’s the moment of diagnosis – the day that a doctor says those life-changing words, I’m sorry, […]


Greetings from CancerLand: Donations Gratefully Accepted

Posted July 6th, 2010

Donations.  I’m a volunteer in charge of donations for a local office of a cancer organization. So for a few hours every week, I sort through bags stuffed full of donations.  Cancer-related types of donations to be exact: wigs, hats, scarves, bras and breast prostheses.  Special items that cancer survivors often need and don’t have […]


CancerLand Bookshelf: Bald in the Land of Big Hair

Posted June 21st, 2010

It was the late, great Art Linkletter who coined the phrase, Kids Say the Darndest Things to describe the uncensored and often very funny comments that fly out of kids’ mouths. Well, I’d like to borrow those famous words and edit them ever so slightly to read, People Say the Darndest Things to Cancer Survivors. […]


The CancerLand Bookshelf: Mom’s Marijuana

Posted May 20th, 2010

Sometimes the perfect book appears precisely at the moment when you need it the most. (I just love when that happens). Such was the case with Dan Shapiro’s amazing cancer memoir Mom’s Marijuana. I read the book while recuperating from reconstruction surgery that unfortunately stretched into an eight-day hospital stay due to post-operative complications. Unfortunate, […]


The CancerLand Bookshelf: My Tree Called Life

Posted May 9th, 2010

Early May and I’m in the backyard, digging up weeds in the garden. And as I dig around the lilies (still leafing), and the irises (already in bloom: pale yellow, ghostly white and deep purple), I think back five years ago to when this rectangular patch of earth was waist-high in weeds: tall, green exceptionally […]


The CancerLand Bookshelf: Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life

Posted May 5th, 2010

Radiation. Crazy time. I thought I had forgotten those seven weeks. But reading Mary Cappello’s cancer memoir stirs up some distant radiation memories that are now playing back in my head like a rerun of some bad Lifetime movie. To fill in some of the missing pieces, I dig out my journal from 1999, read […]


The CancerLand Bookshelf: Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer

Posted May 2nd, 2010

She was a great nodder: a person sitting in the audience smiling and nodding her head while I was speaking. I love great nodders. When I stand in front of a room full of people leading a workshop, I’m always on the lookout for them. Once the session begins, I scan the room and the […]


The CancerLand Bookshelf: Introduction

Posted April 26th, 2010

These days there’s no support group for what ails me. And if you ask me, there ought to be. True confession time: I’m totally hooked on books written by fellow survivors, and have been since my own cancer diagnosis more than ten years ago. Sure, there are nastier habits to own up to, but the […]


Greetings from Cancerland: Dear Doctor

Posted October 28th, 2009

Alysa Cummings is a certified poetry therapist who focuses her energies full-time in support of cancer survivors using writing as a tool for healing.