5.0 out of 5 stars A warm, honest account of a very personal journey

“Topic of Cancer” might, at first glance, appear to be a story of survival, courage and determination, of a brave woman fighting cancer while holding her life and her family together. It in fact aspires to none of those things, and so it achieves them more completely than had it been written with greater ambition to consciously inspire others. Meg Stafford merely presents a journal of her life during the 18-month period between her breast cancer diagnosis and the completion of her treatment. There is not a trace of pretension to be found in the entire book. She doesn’t try to impress, or embellish, or manipulate the reader’s emotions. Her book is an account of a period in her life, full of friends, doctors, family, pets, and her brilliant, engaging personality. By publishing the book in journal form, she provides us with her feelings as they exist at any given moment : One day’s diary entry is written with no foreknowledge of what will happen the next day. Her story is not passed through the filter of retrospect, nor does she seem to have gone back and sanitized any of her journal entries, even when they describe moments of anxiety, impatience, or insecurity.

“Topic of Cancer” is not a self-help book. It’s an account of one person’s experiences. It deals with breast cancer, and the many choices that face a cancer patient. It shows the human side of doctors, and how an informed, detail-oriented patient can guide her physicians as she is being guided by them. One reviewer of this book has recommended it as a source of insight for a doctor or caregiver into the mental processes of the patient. “Topic of Cancer” ought to be required reading for any doctor treating cancer patients. It should also be read by anyone of Meg’s (or my) age. Meg was born two days before I was, in the same hospital, and probably the same delivery room. We’re of exactly the same generation: fifty-something baby boomers. Members of our generation have, at this point, all had cancer in our lives, in our friends, family, or perhaps in ourselves, and we will have more in the future. I am grateful to Meg for providing a template for how I might continue to live my life the next time cancer intrudes.

The fact that the book is also entertaining is a bonus. She writes with a style that you might call irreverently serious, and she has an inordinate fondness for puns and wordplay. She names parts of her body after celebrities, and gives nicknames to her physicians (“Hugs”, “Plastic Guy”, and “Laser Lady”). She deals with all aspects of her experience (cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, losing her hair, radiation, reconstructive surgery, etc.) with humor, warmth, pain, despair, and more humor… all without ever losing her optimism. And she never stops living her life. She works, hikes, bikes, raises her children, goes to the market, sees her friends. Her story is inspiring, not in the least because she makes no effort to make it inspiring.

Contact Meg

Meg Stafford
Phone: 978-501-2659
Email Meg

Join Meg on LinkedInJoin Meg on Facebook

Join Meg’s Email List

Sign up and receive the first chapter of her book “Topic of Cancer”.

Please enter your email: