Textbooks describe cancer as a malignant tumour or growth, caused when cells multiply uncontrollably. Researchers give no mention to the consumption of healthy thoughts, and the birth of destructive, negative feelings. Cancer bursts into your consciousness, and like its concrete form, malignant thoughts multiply uncontrollably. In Hard Lumps, Nancy-Gail Burns corrals those thoughts and feelings and illustrates that in the end, good things can be found in just about anything.
My Cancer is a pushy little bugger. From the beginning, it manages to intrude on all of our celebrations.
Blank pages draw emotions and thoughts from me. Black words on the white pages are concrete, organized and substantial. They are stronger and bolder than me. Hard Lumps
was cathartic. Writing lanced fears and absorbed frustrations. When the last page was written I was ready to tuck it away in a drawer. Suddenly I saw empty chairs filling a waiting room, women rushing forth, and bad news descending in a cloud. I pulled the book from the drawer, but became tentative. Exposing preposterous thoughts and fears seemed unwise and rather terrifying. If this little book can touch one person and help them in their battle with cancer I don’t mind revealing my imperfections. For ultimately aren’t our flaws what make us human?
“Doctors are not my favourite people. They tell you what you don’t want to hear, and make you wait hours to hear it!” Thus starts a lively tale in which Nancy-Gail Burns takes us through her very personal journey with breast cancer. Nancy takes the reader through her experiences from diagnosis to treatment in a frank and very real way. Ultimately optimism wins the days as she tries to rationalize how a cancer diagnosis not only impacts the patient but also all those around her including friends and family and fellow patients. As she puts it so eloquently: “Cancer is akin to joining a club. You don’t ask to join, but once you’re in the ranks, it’s forever.” Well done Nancy!
Mark Clemons, M.D. Medical Oncologist and Clinical Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Winner of the Dr. Michel Chrétien Researche