Making The Breast Of It

RobinStorey 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 [email protected]. 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. 


  • Gillian2069
    Gillian2069 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 Kerr
    Kerr 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. 

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey 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. 

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey 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 Bambling
    Leanne 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


  • Mira
    Mira Member Posts: 678
    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.



  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,808
    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  :-)

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey 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.

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey 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. 

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey 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. 

  • mona63
    mona63 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, 

  • RobinStorey
    RobinStorey Member Posts: 8
    edited October 2015

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

    Thanks for your comment!