Good morning Donna. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience with us.
Thank you Chris.
1. How soon after you were diagnosed with your cancer, did you start recording the events that took place?
For many years I have been in the habit of writing down dates and events pertaining to my health. I do it because invariably, at some later date, I find myself wondering, “When did “that” happen…”, for instance, the day I tripped over my dog and fell, tearing the cartilage in my knee. So, I have a whole file folder containing dates and health issues, and when I began having bowel issues, they were duly recorded and everything from that point on was added to the record.
2. Did your book, I HAVE COLORECTAL CANCER: WHAT NOW? start out as a personal journal, or did you always know that you wanted it to be a book?
It started out to be just another record of health issues, but after I was diagnosed with CRC, I tried to find books detailing what happens to a patient with this type of cancer. As you can imagine, I was scared and wanted to know what I was in for. The books I found did not contain enough information for me, so I decided to create a detailed block of information in book form for others who come after me.
3. A lot of the topics in the book are - shall we say - squishy. Did you ever contemplate self-censoring some of the details, or was this going to be a “no holds barred” kind of book?
“No holds barred” is a good way to describe it. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for, but all the books I found left out the nasty details. I wanted the bad with the good. The bad stuff came as a surprise most of the time and I had no time to prepare myself psychologically for it. The doctors don’t tell you every side effect that you may experience; all of the literature that they give you outlines the most common side effects. I had no idea that a chemo patient could develop shingles until it popped up on the back of my right thigh.
4. Once you were on the path towards writing the book, what did you hope to accomplish by publishing it?
I tried very hard to remember every detail that I would have wanted to know about in advance so that other patients could benefit from my experiences. I tried to keep a sense of humor in it to help put the reader at ease and to assure him or her that they WILL get through it.
5. What has been the response to the book? Have you received a lot of positive comments?
Family and friends who have read the book have said they now have a better understanding of what I went through. They never dreamed that I was going through all that; because of course it’s not obvious. To look at me, you would have thought I was as healthy as any one of them. The cancer patients who have read it have thanked me for it and the doctors that I gave the books to have said that it will be very helpful to a lot of people. They have placed the books in their waiting rooms as well as handing them out to new patients.
6. Where are you at with your cancer currently?
I have done a second round of chemotherapy and the tumor on my liver has shrunk. I am taking a break from chemo for a couple of months and then a CT scan will tell us where I’m at. I am looking into alternative therapies as well because the chemo is so destructive to normal healthy cells along with the cancer cells. I will be reporting what I find in that direction also.
7. Do you intend to add to the book with follow-up chapters?
That depends on how much more information I produce. I am currently keeping track of events since the book was published and they will either be added to a second edition of the original book or be published in a new book.
8. I know that writing isn’t your main profession, but do you have any plans to do another book, or are you just ready to get back to your life?
I am soooo ready to get back to my life, but I keep journaling because it is part of my nature.
Donna Casey lives in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts and continues her fight against colorectal cancer. She has always been very artistic; painting collectible figurines for Wee Forest Folk ® for 19 years before becoming a digital imaging artist, creating book covers for self-publishing authors. To date, she has worked with over 500 authors and loves her job. Her own self-published book, “A Grizzly End” was the catalyst to her book cover art. Donna has been happily married to her best friend, Jim for 47 years. They have one son and one grandson.
You can find Donna here: www.DigitalDonna.com and here: www.facebook.com/DDcovers
Her memoir: I HAVE COLORECTAL CANCER: WHAT NOW? is available here.