Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Reconstructing Natalie"...on surviving breast cancer

I occasionally review books for Infuze Magazine, , and in that capacity I will sometimes receive a book in the mail that they'd like me to read and review.

When Laura Jensen Walker's Reconstructing Natalie arrived in the mail the other day, I must confess, I didn't know if I really wanted to read it.

The first line of the book is "I'm obsessed with breasts." Come to find out, the 27-year-old protagonist, Natalie Moore, can't stop looking at everyone else's breasts because she's about to lose her own. She's just found out that she has breast cancer.

I don't know what I expected from this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although it doesn't sugar-coat breast cancer, it's funny and poignant and uplifting. It also gives me immense admiration for the many women who battle breast cancer with faith, courage and yes, laughter.

And Laura Jensen Walker has been there. She is a breast cancer survivor herself, and also the author of the nonfiction book, Thanks for the Mammogram!: Fighting Cancer With Faith, Hope And a Healthy Dose of Laughter.

I'll let you know when my review of the book comes out at Infuze.

Meantime, massive kudos to my husband's Aunt Nancy, who is a breast cancer survivor and who walked in last week-end's Avon Breast Cancer Walk in Chicago. The walk raised 8-point-2 million dollars for cancer research...a record amount for Chicago walk's four-year history!

And a heart-felt thanks to my cousins Kathy and Janis, who participated in a Relay for Life walk in Hobbs, New Mexico last weekend in memory of my father and my Aunt Sandra, who both died of cancer.

Kathy wrote: "We have done this for the past few years, but this year especially, we are honoring our Aunt Sandra and Uncle Pepper. As fundraisers, they sell luminarias (sacks filled with sand and a candle in it) and we fixed 3 each for Sandra and Pepper. We made copies of their pictures and have their names and a special message on each one. They line the walking path and will be lit at 9 tonight. So as you walk you can read the name of people who are being honored or survivers, who are also being honored. It's really an emotional thing and it is a fairly new thing of adding pictures. (I think it really makes it more personal)."

The luminarias are pictured below:

My Aunt Sandra was a lovely, vibrant lady who was taken from us suddenly just recently. She often commented in my blog, especially when I reminisced about my family. Aunt Sandra is deeply missed by all of us who loved her.

What a wonderful tribute! Again Kathy and Janis, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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