Frontlist | WIN: Berea author shares journey with cancer
BEREA breast cancer survivor Alison Tucker, is hoping the story of her journey with cancer, which she recounts in her debut book, My Best Worst Year – A Breast Cancer Story, will help inspire others who have been diagnosed with the disease.
The book, a personal and authentic account of Alison’s experience, has been published in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Alison’s ‘worst year’ began the day before Christmas in 2016.
“I had gone for a biopsy and instinctively knew something was wrong. I was getting out of the shower and answered the call from my pathologist, who gave me the bad news that I had breast cancer. I was standing there naked, shell shocked. I had a hair appointment and I just went through the motions of getting dressed and going, but when I was sitting in the chair it hit me,” she said.
Once the shock had settled, Alison decided that she would take charge.
Not only would she take ownership of the dreaded disease, but she would do so with a positive mindset and prepare herself as best she could for what was to come.
“I decided I needed to keep positive, and started a Facebook Gratitude Diary Album where I would post every day, adding a photo or something I was grateful about. In the process, I got a following of not only family and friends, but people going through similar things. This was something I started for myself, but it became bigger and I was immersed with love and support. I rapidly became surrounded by other breast cancer patients locally and abroad, engaging with them via messaging and calls, sharing my experiences and learning from theirs,” she said.
Alison said she realised she kept repeating herself when people asked her opinion or for advice based on her journey, so she decided to write her story down.
“I started writing and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. This was going to be my gift of gratitude for the positive cancer experience I had. I did not refer to it as a book for fear of seeming overly ambitious or running the risk of failure. Rather, I simply called it ‘my writing’. At the very least, I thought I could hand out relevant sections to breast cancer patients and their friends on request during the various stages of their treatment. Over time though, as I saw the immense need for support on online groups I belong to, and with the coaxing and support of friends, I decided to put my ‘I am not a writer’ insecurities to bed and my ‘writing’ became my ‘book’,” she said.
Alison gives an authentic account of her experience, and offers insights and advice for others who might one day face the same diagnosis. You will accompany her on her highs, empathise with her lows, and be amused by humorous anecdotes along the way.
She gives a collection of practical tips for both patients and supporters, such as what to take to chemotherapy sessions, what to look for when choosing a wig, what side effects a person can expect when having the various types of cancer treatment, what to say, and what not to say, to a cancer patient, how to remove stress from a cancer patient’s life and what kind of gifts and gestures are most appreciated.
“I’m a bit nervous about being ‘out there’ but I know my only way to drive awareness and demystify cancer is to be out there and offer my personal story of hope. It is what I needed. It is not a book prize book, it is written in a style that is accessible to all. This is not about making money, this book is a labour of love,” she said.
Alison continues to consult to clients after starting her own consulting company seven years ago.
She lives in Essenwood with her partner Michael, and cat, Kimba. Michael shares Alison’s love of travel, which makes for an interesting life, full of fun and adventure.
The book will retail in paperback at local book shops at R280 and will be available as an e-book globally. She will also be donating 500 copies to the Breast Health Foundation to distribute to women with breast cancer.