This debut book chronicles a woman’s 11-year battle with cancer, told through emails to her prayer circle.
In November 2004, Rodrigue and her husband, Kenny, moved to Ocala, Florida, with their three children: Nicole, 18; Marc, 16; and Garrett, 11. After a year of unpacking and looking for a new job, Rodrigue went in for a routine doctor visit only to learn that she had peritoneal cancer. Soon after, she began sending out emails to her “prayer warrior” circle of friends, family, and fellow members of her church. The emails detail her numerous trips to cancer centers in larger cities, where she learned of Tumor Boards, CA-125 levels, and the devastating effects of chemotherapy. She also took the time to fill in these updates with personal observations and small moments of faith and reassurance she found in the halls of the hospitals. Rodrigue learned more about herself while sharing the Psalms and other Bible verses that helped her cope and strengthened her own faith: “God’s Grace is enough. It is everything! I am more sure of His promises because of this cancer.” In 2007, she found herself notifying the prayer warriors that she was “amazed” it had been two and a half years since her surgery, but a second diagnosis led her to confront the “why” questions with God. In 2015, Kenny updated the prayer warriors on her final days in home hospice care, and the book concludes with eulogies written by her children. It is impossible to not be moved by these final pages, and Rodrigue’s unrelenting positivity and total faith shine through many of the preceding emails. But the choice to present her journey exclusively through the emails she and Kenny wrote does hold back the potential emotional impact of her struggle. The emails focus on the details and the day-to-day information important to friends and close relatives at the time. Some editing to truly highlight the moments in which Rodrigue’s attitude and beliefs—the aspects most important to the reader—take center stage would make her story even more powerful.
A firsthand account of dealing with cancer that would benefit from a tighter focus but remains touching in its positivity.