In this debut memoir developed from her blog, a California attorney shares her transformative journey following a midlife cancer diagnosis.
In 2011, Mock’s life was humming. A successful San Francisco lawyer, she was enjoying her “midlife crisis convertible,” her 50th birthday gift to herself, and studying Italian to further enjoy her trips abroad. Then she got a curveball: a little lump on her neck led to a diagnosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer. The news was a game-changer: some friends disappeared, and her relationship with girlfriend Andrea eventually fell apart. Mock started a blog (from which this book is developed) to share her emotions and experiences, particularly her determination to battle and live beyond her illness. While undergoing a hysterectomy and many rounds of chemo, Mock avoided Internet research, encased her head in deep-freeze “Penguin Caps” to prevent hair loss, and regularly exercised. She emerged from her treatment with clear medical scans and a fresh perspective, with work/life balance a new priority. She participated in LiveStrong biking events (despite mixed emotions about Lance Armstrong) and, best of all, met beautiful, supportive Carole, who soon became her wife. Today, Mock continues to have worries—including a 2013 spike in abnormal scans—but she decided “to pursue joy, not gloom,” fully aware that “staying true to the wisdom gained from having cancer is an ongoing process.” Mock wrote this lively, motivating memoir from the cancer trenches, providing many black-and-white photos of herself that reflect her philosophy of bringing positive energy to a cancer diagnosis. She offers numerous examples of such behavior not only in her own actions, but from those around her, including from her Italian teacher; the book’s title comes from an English translation of the latter’s remark, “Non tutto il male viene per nuocere.” While some readers may question Mock’s emphasis on exercise to battle disease, she discusses this idea within the context of describing her entire course of care.
Inspiring, instructive memoir for cancer patients and their