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

Alysa Cummings
Alysa Cummings

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 minute I spot one, (head bobbing up and down with enthusiasm and approval), I can’t help myself – I begin speaking directly to them.

I’d like to believe that great nodders are proof positive that what I am saying at that moment is actually being heard, that maybe I am making some kind of meaningful connection. What a great feeling!

That Saturday afternoon last April at the breast cancer conference, Laurie Kingston was a great nodder in the room. And an absolutely amazing writer as well, as I would soon find out.

The workshop focused on the healing value of writing for women with metastatic disease. Laurie was eager to add her comments to the discussion:

I was 38 years old with two little kids…I didn’t know anybody who had mets. I started a blog when I was first diagnosed in January 2006…I now count as members of my community people all over the world who I have connected to through the process of writing…I’m a little shy about it, but my blog has been turned into a book that was just published.

Lucky me; we chatted after the workshop and she handed me a copy of her book as a gift. Which is how I can now share two of my favorite excerpts from Not Done Yet with all of you.

Excerpted from Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer
by Laurie Kingston
Toronto, Women’s Press, 2009 | $23.95

Not Done Yet: living through breast cancer
Buy on Amazon

Enough for Today

I’ve been finding it hard to shake the grief and anxiety. But today, I experienced a moment that quite literally took my breath away. I was out walking the dog in the arboretum, pretty much lost in thought, when I was taken off guard by a tree, a pond, the sunset, and scattered leaves in all my favorite colors. And the thought suddenly came to me: I am grateful.

Grateful for my kids for bringing me joy, making me laugh, and for needing me. Grateful for my spouse, who is kind and gentle and who loves me even when I am crazy. Grateful for my dog who gets me out walking. Grateful for a lovely walk in a beautiful place. And grateful that I am healthy and fit enough to enjoy it all. Tomorrow remains uncertain, but for today, it is enough to be grateful.

Pavlov Revisited

One morning as I was making school lunches, I dropped a piece of cheese on my dog’s head. I had been slicing it into sandwiches and had turned to talk to my older son. Multitasking before sufficient caffeine intake has never been my strong suit.

Now when I am making lunches, the dog dances with excitement, his eyes sparkling with hope and joyful anticipation.

I want to live my life like that. Life is good, and you never know when cheese might fall from the sky.

2 thoughts on “The CancerLand Bookshelf: Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer

  1. And lucky me for having Laurie as a real-life neighbour and, via her blog and book, a virtual mentor.

    Thanks, Alysa, for sharing Laurie, her writing and wisdom with your world.

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