Making The Breast Of It

RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
edited November 2016 in Community news and events

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2015, three months before my 60th birthday. I consider myself very lucky that it was caught early, through a routine mammogram. I have had a lumpectomy and one lymph node removed (which was clear) and am shortly to start 4 weeks radiation. Every morning I wake up grateful for my early diagnosis.

I am also an author of comedy fiction, and looking at the books published on breast cancer (both in bookstores and on Amazon) I noticed a marked absence of books on the lighthearted and humorous aspects of having breast cancer. So I have decided to fill that gap and write one, which I am doing at present. This is not to make light of the difficulties and emotional trauma  that many people go through, but I also think we need to be able to laugh as well. It's essential for our physical and mental well-being. 

My book is called 'Making the Breast of It - breast cancer stories of humour and joy.'  It will be a combination of my own experiences and those of as many ladies I can find who are willing to share their experiences with me from a light-hearted, positive point of view. So I am putting the call out here and if you would like your story to be included, please message me on this site or email me at We can talk by phone, Skype or email - whichever is better for you. (I live in Queensland).

I will only use your first name and age in the book, but if you would like a pseudonym that's fine as well. My book will be published on Amazon as an e-book and also in print, and you'll get a free copy of the e-book. 

If you want to check me out, here's my website.

I look forward to chatting with you and have a great day - it's a beautiful spring day here on the Sunshine Coast. 


  • Gillian2069Gillian2069 Member Posts: 46
    edited September 2015

    Well, my experience is that most aspects of cancer treatment are definitely not funny, but if I was to write a book about it I'd be tempted to call it "Cancer gave me golfer's elbow".

    Because it did. Also because the various treatments throw up such a wide range of random (and silly) effects alongside the inconvenient (hairloss) and scary (heart damage).

    With surgery, I avoided lymphodema, though I now have a life-long risk of it. However, I did get golfer's elbow, probably from using the arm too much after the six-weeks of lifting nothing more than a kilo.

    With chemo, I avoided heart damage, wretching nausea, flat-on-the-floor exhaustion, neutrofilia and hospitalisation with infections. My finger nails went black but they didn't fall out. I have peripheral neuropathy but it seems to be easing slowly. I did get to enjoy the love and support of family and friends. And I discovered that insensitive house guests become the house guests from hell when you're doing chemo.

    I discovered that I can probably get through anything if I turn it into a culinary challenge - I went vegan for three months and enjoyed lots of new food. My lovely husband came along for the ride.

    I think all of us find times when the situation is just so awful/ridiculous that we have to laugh. Maybe you can find a way to include the shitty stuff and the ladies who can laugh at it. I was lucky to avoid most of the really shitty stuff.

    I hope your book goes well and you have a lot of pleasure putting it together.


  • Kerr KerrKerr Kerr Member Posts: 28
    edited September 2015

    I'm sorry but I don't see the funny side. I'm fifteen plus years younger than you and have a disabled daughter that relies on my health to keep going. Think you might want to rethink this. 

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2015

    Thanks for your comments Gillian - you have certainly been through the mill. I am really enjoying putting the book together and am so inspired by the ladies I have talked to so far. 

    Am I able to use your comments in my book? I'll just refer to you by your first name - if you don't want me to, that's fine also, I'll respect your decision. 

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2015

    I'm sorry if I have offended you, Kerr Kerr, that certainly wasn't my intention. As I said in my blog post, by writing this book I am not in any way making light of the trauma that many people go through and I will also emphasize that in my book. Humour is only one aspect of it - I am also writing about positive and uplifting experiences that people have had - and I think it is good for our mental health to consider these - at least I have found it so for me and so have all the ladies I have talked to so far.

    I realise that you may not be in that situation and my thoughts are with you. 

  • Leanne BamblingLeanne Bambling Member Posts: 20
    edited September 2015

    Hi Robyn, I haven't had many side effects from chemo that I will be having for 12 weeks. My hair is starting to fall out after 4th treatment. When told that there was a high possibility that I would lose my hair I was upset, now I have hair falling out, its on the floor, on my pillow each morning, even  in my food at times. I now tell my family that if I get lost unlike Hansel & Gretel dropping the bread to find their way back home I will be able to follow my trail of hair  as long as the birds don't use it to make a nest. I have got chemo brain already, Hubby now accepts the crazy things I do and say by laughing and saying the next few months are going to be interesting.(

    I have found that I need to make light of my BC journey even though I know how serious it is otherwise I would spend a lot of time crying and feeling depressed.

    I hope your book goes well for you


  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 369
    edited September 2015


    When I was in active treatment I was keeping some people informed via short funny stories.  I don't want to put them public but using humour really helped us all deal with it.  As serious as it was I had a lot of laughs during my treatment.

    Probably the funniest bit for me was on the day of the operation.  I was so thirsty by the time they got around to my operation that when the surgeon was asking what I was having done I couldn't form the words "lymph nodes" and kept telling her I was having my limp nose cut out.  Thank goodness she knew what she was doing!  I also pointed to the wrong breast!  Ooops.



  • Summerhill38Summerhill38 VictoriaMember Posts: 706
    edited September 2015

    Hello Robin

    Congratulations on the idea of your book - I hope it goes well for you.

    I have found a lot of ladies like to dwell on their problems and groups feed off each other's miseries so your focus is great.

    Humour is the best medicine - well, at least it helps along the way.

    At times I think my surgeon thought I was quite mad but he did see my sense of humour and laughed with me.

    Good luck, hope you get lots of great uplifting stories of humour from a dark place.


    Summer  :-)

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2015

    HI Leanne

    Thanks for your good wishes and I'm glad that you are managing to keep your sense of humour, as I imagine having chemo is not very funny most of the time. Sometimes it's necessary to do the crying but I really think we need the laughing as well.

    All the best for the rest of your treatment.

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2015

    Hi Mira

    That's funny about the limp nose - and the wrong breast. It's good to hear you're using humour as a way of coping - it helps us keep our sanity, I think and affirms I'm on the right path with my book. 

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited September 2015

    Thanks Summer, I have already got quite a few uplifting stories and am so inspired by the ladies I've spoken to so far. 

    I think sometimes it surprises the doctors when their patient cracks jokes. I cracked a few jokes with my surgeon - I felt some sort of weird sense of responsibility towards him that I had to let him know I was okay. 

  • mona63mona63 Member Posts: 237
    edited October 2015

    There's been a few funny times: just last appt my oncologist asked me how I was and I said "good ...for someone who has an oncologist!

    i had a lumpectomy and radiation. But six months later I was feeling a bit glamorous in a low fitted top and 'done hair' and I met someone I hadn't seen for a few years but who had heard about 'my health' 'oh yes I've had breast cancer! I said and she looked at my chest and said 'so you had a double mascetomy?'  No, in fact I said 'you wouldn't even see the scar! I said rather proudly. She said 'oh I geuss you were always a bit you lost all your hair with chemotherapy and that's a wig?'  Er chemotherapy and no that's my own hair!   It's hard to be inspirational !

    breast wishes, 

  • RobinStoreyRobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited October 2015

    That's so funny, Mona, talk about opening your mouth to change feet!

    Thanks for your comment!

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