Cocoon of Cancer
Cocoon of Cancer: An Invitation to Love Deeply is a book of inspiration for those diagnosed with cancer, their caregivers, and family. Writing in real time, the patient and caregiver offer an insider’s look at how life changes forever when the word cancer is uttered. A realistic and hopeful work, it keeps one centered and also provides tips on how to manage life and illness.
Why I wrote Cocoon of Cancer
I express my feeling, my insights, and my love of life through writing. These writings about my husband’s cancer were never intended for anyone’s eyes. However, family and friends needed updates. They encouraged me to share.
My good friend Barbara created drawings to accompany Cocoon of Cancer.
Q & A about Cocoon of Cancer
How long have you been at work on Cocoon of Cancer? How did the idea originate?
Months before Jim received his diagnosis, I noticed his decline. I wrote words of encouragement to keep us both going. When the actual diagnosis came, my writings became a way to share the journey with family, friends and even the staff at the cancer clinic. The by-product of Jim’s year treatment became, Cocoon of Cancer: An Invitation to Love Deeply.
Did this book involve special research?
As a caregiver, I needed to know what to expect with Jim’s diagnosis. Jim and I independently gathered material from the internet, the cancer clinics, and magazines. Understanding Multiple Myeloma takes more than a simple definition. It isn’t a blood cancer, it isn’t a bone cancer. Plasma cells aren’t the same thing as the plasma in your blood. Months would go by and we would think we understood until determinations from doctors like “a mutation of your P53 gene puts you in the highest risk level,” set us off on more research. Jim and I went to the library at Fred Hutchinson Research Center, part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, to find the history of bone marrow transplants. We learned the term M-spike and how the excretion of this protein devastated Jim’s spine. We researched each and every trial and medication offered. Our understanding helped form new questions.
Because now, according to Dr. Fred Appelbaum, is the ripest time in the world of cancer research, Jim saw more hope than frustration in his diagnosis. Our questions mirrored those of actual researchers. Did we find answers? Some, and with others we can only hope for more technological advances. Since this is a book of inspiration for those with cancer, the more important research was a journey of understanding and patience.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
I wrote in the wee hours of the morning, before Jim awoke, or while he rested most of the day. I wrote in the doctors’ offices, and sometimes right after procedures to keep my mind occupied and off the sadness or worry of “what if”.
What do you see as competition for your book and how does your book differ? What are the special markets and promotional key points of your book?
Cocoon of Cancer, is a memoir on the journey of cancer, and it is also an inspirational book that encourages the caregiver, the newly diagnosed, staff members, and anyone who faces a debilitating illness. While this book deals with the specifics of multiple myeloma, many cancers follow a similar protocol. The crossover allows for a wider audience. Because it is written from the caregiver’s and the patient’s viewpoint, it is less technical and more personal. As a gift book, the prose and poetry give voice to the ups and downs of any illness, and celebrates the spirit that lives on.
A positive, perspective primer for cancer patients and caregivers.
~Kirkus Reviews, Magazine
Cocoon of Cancer is a slender volume that chronicles the journey to recovery undertaken by a wife and her husband when he is diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
~Barbara McMichael, Kitsap Sun
A poetic, poignant, and scientifically accurate memoir. . Abbe’s Caregiver’s Tips and insights to those who will identify with similar thoughts and feelings.
~Dr. Fred AppelBaum, Executive VP
Many photos on this site and in Abbe’s Notes are copyright by Jim Wiggins.