Thanks so much for allowing me to visit today, Jan and for spotlighting such an important subject. Hmm. Let's see. The description of "Nipple" is my perception of my battle with breast cancer. The call delivering the diagnosis left me standing at the edge of a gaping chasm with no idea how I could possibly reach the other side and victory. But really, what choice did I have? Life is precious and I want to experience every moment I can. So, after freaking out for about a week, I set out on a journey. I have to say, I felt like Frodo in Lord of the Rings much of the time, but each trial, mastectomies, chemo, radiation, brought me close to the other side of the abyss, to victory.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to battle that frightening monster of an illness and to share the experience. Where did you find the most strength?
I wouldn't call it strength so much, but desperation,stubborness and belief. First and foremost, I relied on my faith. Life can become overwhelming at times, and not just when you are facing a battle like breast cancer. As a child runs to a parent when their world spirals out of control, I turn to God to find peace in life's storms. I spent many an hour in His spiritual lap over the course of treatment. I also had a tremendous support system in my family and friends. They were there for me every time I cried out, and quite a few times when I hadn't. Lastly, I was freakily lucky to find a slot with the top doctors in the Phoenix area for surgery, plastic surgery and oncology. How can you fail when you're working with the best?
If you could give women (and men) one piece of advice what would it be?
For those who have been diagnosed, take a deep breath and have faith. The medical community has made some incredible strides recently and new discoveries are being made every day. This battle sucks but it's doable. Don't give up. And for those who haven't been diagnosed, be diligent in prevention and early detection. You know your body best and while self-exams may seem simple, they have the ability to not only save your life, but make your battle infinitely less debilitating by catching the cancer early.
In your book, you refer to Psalm 91:4 that says it all. It brought me to tears. Would you mind sharing those incredible words?
While I am a Christian, I'm not a particularly religious person. Rather, my faith is very personal and strictly between me and God. I'm not one of those people who quotes scripture but I do have a Bible and occasionally a verse will jump out with a private message just for me. For those of you who haven't read Nipple, my sister and I were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of each other and early on in our respective treatments, we discovered we had both been directed to Psalm 91. In it's entirety, the verse speaks of doing battle and coming out victorious, but for me, it was all about 91:4. He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. Let me tell you, those words were like a giant hug from God and during the worst of times, with my family gathered around me in support, I found refuge with the feathers He provided.
Mac, in your book you talk about keeping a journal. Would you like to say a bit about that?
Actually, I'd never kept a journal before, but while waiting for the diagnosis, which I pretty sure I already knew, I NEEDED to talk to my dad. He had passed away a few years earlier, and I missed him so much at that moment that I sat down and wrote him a letter. I wrote him many more over the course of the next few weeks and those letters eventually became the format for my journal. I spilled out my fears and weaknesses to the best man I have ever known and I swear I hear his voice and felt his boundless love when I needed them so badly. I also shared the bizarre incidents that seemed to happen on a daily basis -- like the day I was asked when I would like to start chemo. Hello - never! And when I finally found myself on the other side of the abyss, celebrating victory as the survivor I'd worked to become, I discovered Dad and I produced a sort of emotional guide to getting there. Where Would You Like Your Nipple is based on my journal, and includes several of those letters.
With your book, you've shared a lot of wisdom and eye-opening information. I think it's a must-read for everyone. Can you share a link or links for those who would like to check it out?
It would be my pleasure "Nipple" is available in digital format and print. You can also find the links at my home on the web www.mackenziecrowne.com .
One last thing, Mac, in the Acknowledgments of your book you give thanks to the talented artist that did a great job on your cover, but you also mention a documentation project "Faces of Courage". Would you like to share information about that?
Most definitely. Isn't the cover gorgeous? As I tried to do in the book, it projects hope in the midst of despair. The name of the cover image is Open Heart and this past weekend I had the thrilling opportunity to meet both the model - an eleven year survivor, and the artist, Lisa Scholder. Lisa has a heart for survivors. She's an incredible woman and artist who assists survivors in discovering the beauty of their altered bodies through her body painting art. She's currently sharing her talents, working with Faces of Courage, a non-profit raising funds to provide camp getaways for cancer and blood disease patients and their families, on their Bodies of Courage project. You can learn more about Lisa and Faces of Courage at their websites.
www.lisascholder.com and www.bodiesofcourage.org
Mac, I would like to offer heartfelt thanks for being on my blog but also for writing this book. Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing the titles and links to the other books you've written, that would be awesome.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit with you today, Jan. And I'd love to share the info on my other books. I'm a romance writer at heart, as you know.
Gift of the Realm is a modern fantasy romance set in Ireland ~ available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon .
That Dating Thing is a contemporary romance in the midst of Wall Street greed ~ available at Still Moments Publishing and Amazon .
And coming this fall, The Billionaire's Con, another contemporary from Still Moments. Publishing.