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THE SENSITIVE ONE by Susan Frances Morris


by Susan Frances MorrisSusan F. Morris

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64742-161-8
Publisher: She Writes Press

A firsthand account of a traumatic childhood followed by breast cancer in adulthood.

Morris’ memoir poses the question that often follows a cancer diagnosis: Why me?In 2007, the 50-year-old registered nurse, who worked at Yale New Haven Hospital, had what appeared to be an idyllic life, which included a loving husband and three children. It takes some time for the memoir to finally reveal what is heavily foreshadowed: that she had a small lump in her breast that was malignant. Hearing the diagnosis panicked Morris, but shortly before she received the news, she hit the books and discovered correlations between a pattern of traumatic early-life experiences and adult-onset breast cancer. Morris expresses her memories of her difficult childhood so vividly that some may find them very hard to read; however, initially, the connection between these recollections and the cancer diagnosis is unclear, which may keep readers from becoming fully engaged at first. She writes of having an abusive, heavy-drinking father and of how she found no solace in her also-abused mother, who derided her for being overly “sensitive.” Morris also writes of an abusive first marriage. The author’s courage never flags as she uses these passages about her past to illustrate what she believes was the genesis of her illness. Her research findings, which include synopses of articles from medical journals, add a deeper dimension to the book and distinguish it from many other cancer memoirs. Later, she tells of experiencing painful but poignant events as she coped with the aftermath of chemotherapy and radiation, as when her family gathered around her to shave her balding head.

Cancer survivors will find solace in this work, which is sometimes difficult to bear.