The similarities between battling cancer and marketing a new book are frighteningly similar. Don’t get me wrong, marketing a book is not a life or death matter “for most”, but it has its angels and demons.
When fighting cancer, you use all the energy you have within you to fight the growth of the tumorous cells. This alone is no small task. Words like “tiring,” “never-ending,” “pointless,” are just a few that come to mind. The cancer has been found (the book has been written). Now what do you do. If you are like most with cancer, you say that you will beat the odds and do whatever it takes to stay alive on this temporal ground. You go down one road, radiation. You take a turn down another road, chemotherapy. And some go down a third road of surgery, all in the name of the end result; living to see another precious day. You read books on cancer survivors and go to church to find the best christian books available, if you are of that nature. The bar has been set and you must somehow find a way over it.
As if writing a book is not hard enough, the process of marketing such achievement by most writers is daunting. As with cancer, there are many different roads that you may venture down. Do you pursue an agent and/or publisher (good luck). Do you then self-publish, only to have most doors slammed in your face, like a dose of chemo, but you keep trying and coming back for more. With limited funds and little experience, and with only a story to tell, like cancer, sometimes the odds are overwhelmingly against you. But you persevere!
As a four-time cancer survivor and newly self-published author, I can tell you that nothing is harder than fighting the ultimate battle for your life. But on a lighter note, now that I have to make a living trying to market my baby, I realize just how hard and cruel the real-world can be outside of medicine!
“Kids and Cancer.”
The question always arises when a parent is diagnosed with cancer or some other degenerative disease; what do I/we tell the children?
I can speak first hand on the subject, as a bone cancer survivor. When I was diagnosed, I had a five year old daughter in kindergarten and a newborn who was birthed approximately a month before my diagnosis. In my scenario, my children were young, and it makes things a lot different than if you were to have teens or tweens. The baby obviously was oblivious to the whole situation, so life went on as normal for him. The five year old on the other hand, was as acutely aware of the situation as the baby was oblivious. She knew there was something wrong with her daddy, but really didn’t understand what cancer was or what was happening in daddy’s life; and why should she!
We found that even through the tough times, keeping a spirit of optimism up when in front of young children can do wonders for their and your morale. I remember being in the hospital doing a round of chemotherapy, and my daughter dancing in with coloring in hand as happy as a lark to see her daddy. Daddy was looking pretty rough during this period, with no hair and a skeletal figure. It didn’t phase the little one.
My take home message on illness and young children would be to try to keep things as normal as possible around the house while all of this is going on. I think children of cancer parents tend to grow up faster and assume more duties and responsibilities than perhaps other children might. Our daughter spent a lot of time, for example, with the newborn baby, helping feed and change him.
Cancer and other degenerative diseases can have a terrible affect on a family if you let it. Do you best to keep the norm and keep fighting on!
“The New Normal”
There are moments in life that change us forever. Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they are completely transformed. We used to number our goodness in deeds, words, and thoughts. But grace unsettles everything. In The New Normal we can study the book of Galatians to examine the reality of this transformation and the new way of living that comes with it. The problem is that we tend to want to keep doing what we’ve always done – we are constantly trying to improve on God’s way. What Paul told the Galatians 2000 years ago is the same message we need to hear today: the Gospel is the new normal.
Excerpt from a sermon at Seacoast Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC
Ever since my bouts with cancer and trying to clear my mind, I run into always trying to figure out what I am going to do next. What are the plans for me on this earth. Obviously, having had cancer four times, I apparently am here for a reason, a “new normal,” so to speak. I think I have figured it out. Many will think I am crazy (crazier) when I say that I was commissioned by God to put my story in writing to give hope and encouragement to others. However, this is the case, and as far as I can tell, the writing and marketing of the work has been my “new normal’ thus far. What is next, only God knows.
“Working with Your Doctor”
It seems little has changed in the medical field since I was first diagnosed with cancer many years ago. My point is illustrated in a recent attempt to make an appointment. As many of you know, I am a bone cancer survivor and have had my right upper arm replaced with a prostheses. Several nights ago a was awoken out of a debt sleep by incredible pain in my other arm. It took several hours of my hollering and rolling around on the floor for the pain killers to finally kick in. What in the world just happened? Was it a muscle cramp or was it in the bone. It sure felt eerily similar to the pain I had when I broke my bad arm.
I went for X-Rays the next day and they were negative, but the emergency room doctor had said I should see my oncologist to talk about a bone scan. It took me at least a half-a-dozen calls, four people and countless time to try to just get an appointment! Unfortunately, cancer is still a growing business.
Depending upon your physical and/or mental capacity, it might be best if you have an advocate to help you. It can be a spouse, family member, friend, someone from church; anyone who will go to bat for you and stay on top of things. The hard part for me has always been getting in the door in a timely manner. Once in, I seem to have lost all concentration and often momentarily forget while I am even there. Bring someone with you! Same as before. Have someone who will ask the questions and remember the answers. It is hard enough to get in, don’t waste yours or the doctors time once you have.
In summary of this edition with the oncologist, I go an appointment three weeks later, and God only knows about the bone scan. Sure hope there is nothing brewing in that other arm!
Many times in life we find ourselves experiencing emotional, spiritual, or physical upheaval. It has often been said, “The church is a hospital, a family, an army, and a school.” As the body of Christ, St. Andrew’s purposefully co-labors with Jesus as a hospital, tending to broken places by coming alongside people to bring Jesus’ care and healing love. If you find yourself struggling with an addiction, depression, or an unbearable grief; if you are hurting spiritually, in need of physical healing, or struggling with any other difficult sufferings, this page will tell you what help St. Andrew’s has to offer and how to find that help. Please contact John Burley (843.284.4326)