Less than 3 years ago, my oldest best friend was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (she’s the one I referred to in my previous post The Colposcopy). Although it was caught early and a less aggressive form, she had the traumatic experience of having a masectomy and a short course of radiotherapy. And yes, she has two young girls, aged four and six at the time, a husband who commutes from Suffolk to London each day and had just embarked on a new career as a teacher. Tall call.
Thankfully, she is now fully recovered and living more than a full life, not only teaching 5 days a week but also doing a Masters in English Lit with the Open University. In all of this, she has somehow – and I have no idea how – found the time to do a wonderful, wonderful thing: she’s written a children’s book explaining what happens when a parent gets cancer. Because quite simply that is one of the toughest things a parent faces, aside from the hair falling out and feeling sick. Apparantly there are surprisingly few books out there explaining it to small children and none for those who have radiotherapy as a treatment and not chemotherapy. As Katherine rightly says, snuggling up with a book is one of the most comforting things to do with a child. And if you’ve something very important and difficult to say, what better way to do it?
Beautifully illustrated by an art student (who happens to share the same surname as my family), it tells the story of a busy young family whose mum is diagnosed with breast cancer. When she has to have a masectomy, they explain to the their two children that it’s like when an apple gets bruised; you have to remove the bruise so the rest of the apple stays healthy. The book paints a picture of a happy 2.4 kids, one-dad-one-mum middle-class family, who lead healthy, hectic and happy lives. Mum and Dad like to jog, the kids like to cycle, they have grandparents to visit when mummy has her operation. And they have a dad who serves up pizza and fishfingers for tea when mum’s in hospital. Sound familiar?! You’ll no doubt relate the last bit if none of the others!
The book is available to download or buy for £5.99 + £2 postage from her dedicated website: www.whatwedidwhenmummygotcancer.co.uk. All proceeds go to Cancer Campaign Suffolk and to printing costs. If you want to read more or see photos of her lovely family, read this fantastic article in the Daily Mail online.
I am so proud of Katherine. She never fails to make me laugh or feel positive about life. How typical of her to produce something so life giving out of something so life robbing.
Now go and spread the word to everyone you know in the same situation and buy the book!
PS I never thought I’d use the words ‘fantastic’ and ‘Daily Mail’ in one breath. I told you my friend does amazing things.