It is with joy and sadness I announce the publication of Dancing with Cancer, the real-time journals of my husband Barry, and myself, his wife of 37 years, in which we share our harrowing journeys through not one but two stem cell transplants. Not knowing the outcome, Barry hoped to leave a record of his state of mind as he navigated the stem cell transplant process. I wanted to minutely document my unexpected and daunting role as a caregiver. We started our odyssey in San Francisco in 2005. Barry died in February, 2014 when, despite the best of care, he succumbed to his cancer. Three years later, I am publishing the book Barry wanted to send out to the world, to let others know in his unvarnished way his experience of the those two life-giving stem cell transplants.
For nearly nine years, we saw each other at our best and worst. We became both both stronger and weaker living as we did in a world bounded by cancer. Dancing with Cancer chronicles our lives during that time, presenting our sometimes wildly different views of apparently the same events. We write about meetings with doctors, hospital stays and treatments; relationships with family and friends; our own emotional journeys; and, centrally the impact of the cancer on our marriage.
Barry, the patient, had no patience (and loved puns). He was blessed with a strong sense of irony and a fierce sense of humor. His writing reflects a life shaped by his work as an attorney, activist and writer, and as a husband, father, and grandfather. He never equivocates; he calls it as it is. He is deeply angry and deeply grateful in these pages.
We did not aim this book for any particular reader. However, I hope it reaches an audience of health care professionals who will find inspiration in the providers we came to love. I hope it offers encouragement and knowledge to people in similar circumstance about how to manage stress and garner support from family and friends during the unbounded uncertainty not just of stem cell transplantation but of any life-threatening illness.
Barry died. But still, I am told, the book is a page-turner. One thing I hope will be clear: love survives death.
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