A memoir examines life, love, and cancer.
Laurene Evans was a fighter who spent 10 years battling breast cancer. Her husband was at her side, standing with her through the tests and chemotherapy, experiencing feelings of hope and despair. In this memoir, Randy Evans (Living with Breast Cancer: What I Learned About the Quality of Life of White, African American, and Latina Breast Cancer Survivors, 2016, etc.) documents the years he and his wife spent living with cancer, touching on everything from treatments to travel. The couple tried to keep their family life as normal as possible; they raised their four daughters, took trips to Europe, pursued job interests, and lived life to the fullest. Yet the specter of cancer was a continual presence, hovering like the proverbial other shoe just waiting to drop. Despite a skilled team of medical professionals, aggressive treatment, and a deep desire to live, Laurene died in 2002. The period following her death became a time of anguish and healing for Evans as he mourned Laurene yet began to move on. This book is Evans’ effort to preserve his wife’s story and share “how we seek to discover strength and joy during difficult times.” In writing this account, the author also finds a way to use his hard-won wisdom to help others on their own journeys through Cancerland. As his wife’s caregiver, Evans remained in a position to fully understand the physical and emotional costs of cancer. His narrative refuses to shy away from the technical and often brutal side effects. He writes about his wife’s fragile bones snapping without cause and details a conversation concerning Laurene’s wishes for him to remarry after her death. His descriptive prose and powerful imagery (Evans needed a wheelchair to move the enormous stack of Laurene’s medical files from room to room) drive the story home. Throughout his wife’s illness, Evans found solace in penning poetry and stories that provided an outlet for his often overwhelming emotions. And he discovered a new passion: venturing into the world of psychology to study the quality of life of breast cancer survivors.
A profoundly honest work from a man who survived Cancerland and discovered new gifts, a different path, and, ultimately, peace.