By PHOOLO DANNY-MAHARAJ
ONCE Upon My Chest, a breast cancer memoir, is about my personal experiences with the disease, from pre-discovery to post-treatment.
Like many other women, I never thought that I would be the target of this killer disease. At the time of diagnosis, I had no family history of breast cancer and I am vegetarian, non-smoker and teetotaler.
When I was diagnosed ten years ago, I looked for locally written books from which I could draw inspiration to face my own circumstances. It is also about how the support, encouragement and love of my family helped me to get through the trauma of having to give up my breasts to save my life.
Unable to find any such material in our bookstores, and not sure that I would survive to tell my story, I started documenting my own experiences, primarily as therapy for my healing and as a record for my family in case I did not survive. At the time, I did not know of anyone who had survived long term after cancer.
My story was definitely not meant for the public eyes. Somewhere along my “journey” however, I found myself sharing my experiences with numerous other people who needed to talk to someone about their own concerns and fears of their diagnosis – thus the decision to share my very personal story in the hope of assisting and encouraging others.
Through my book, I hope to encourage women to pay attention to their bodies, follow their instincts if they feel something is not right and also to highlight the importance of early detection in saving lives.
Breast Cancer is not a friend, but a life-threatening illness that affects not only the patient but also every family member.
My book Once Upon My Chest tells how I realized something was wrong and how I monitored the changes in my body for almost one year before I was diagnosed. It tells how, although I was diagnosed early, I still had to grapple with making a decision and faced the trauma of surrendering my breasts to save my life and how family love and support helped me through the terrible side-effects of multiple surgery and treatment.
During my years as a journalist, I persuaded people to share their stories, tribulations and successes to inspire others. In appreciation to those people and in gratitude of “new life” I share my experiences in the hope of assisting others in some little way. The book also contains poems which I penned as I faced the tearful, the funny and the confused moments in dealing with breast cancer.
Once Upon My Chest is not only for women or for those diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a must read for every member of the family – spouses, children, siblings, friends, and parents and for everyone who wants to know about the effects of the diagnosis of the scary life-threatening disease on a person and a family.
If my book can help, encourage or comfort one woman, one family, I would feel fulfilled that I’ve done the right thing by sharing my story.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call/whatsapp at 1-868-284-2173 or contact Phoolo on Facebook.
The book is available at major bookstores in Trinidad and Tobago.