Diagnosed in October 2010 with metastatic breast cancer, Carol A. Miele has written a book about her journey to date. The book begins with Carol’s initial stage IV diagnosis. Her family in the room, Carol attempts to break the shocked silence by saying “Well, it could be worse.” When the silence continues, she says” “Of course, it could be a lot better.” That only brought a few scattered laughs, but it allowed the discussion to begin.
The book breaks Carol’s journey into five phases … the phases that many stage IV patients experience. From the initial shock and start of treatment; to the questions of how this could happen; to the loneliness when friends depart … everything has an impact.
The book shows that life does indeed move forward after stage IV, but that you have to do your part. After getting her affairs in order, Carol planned trips to places she had never been and renewed old friendships and made new ones. She spent quality time with her family and adopted a homeless dog, who quickly became her faithful companion. Carol continues to enjoy her life despite her disease. Her life is not without trials, but it is good.
As I read the book there was so much I could relate to, then I realized that the journeys of stage IV patients have many commonalities, which makes this book even more pleasurable to read because we can all relate. This is a book for those several years out, for those newly diagnosed, and for non-patients who wonder what the stage IV patient goes through behind the façade of a cheerful face.
By CJ Corneliussen-James, Advocate, Book Nook & METAvivor Co-founder
What a read! I love your use of analogies and your terse and visual titles: Metastatic Madness, Life in the Chemo Lane, Party in Cancerville, No Bravery Medal, The Winter of my Chemo Tent (ha-ha! Very clever!), all of them, especially…. Chemo Brain!
Not being gifted in the Art of Poetry, nor understanding neither metrics nor prosody, I hadn’t realized how readily poetry lends itself to visceral expression. It seems to flow from you, this well of emotion, rolling from reaction to proaction to full empowerment.
As for what I see in your journaling: you have a gift for enabling people to feel the immediacy of your experience. I cannot know exactly what you’ve felt (sort of like childbirth-you have to be there), but I could feel your anguish and triumph as you conquered the beast.
As for the title, Metastatic Madness; I think the Madness is righteous anger. Why isn’t there more funding for and support of those with metastases? Never give up.
Catherine G. Miele
The author has opened her heart to all of us and we thank her for this beautifully written book. Her skillfully written poems seem to flow, with each one telling a part of her story. She takes the reader on a journey beginning with her unexpected diagnoses of Stage IV breast cancer. This book is for ALL readers who desire to understand and find inspiration for themselves and their loved ones.
Dee and Andrew Gillow
This book touched me deeply. Carol expresses herself eloquently and makes the reader very aware of the depth of suffering she and other cancer patients endure. She is a very strong person, who has surmounted all of that suffering and reached out to help other people by being and advocate for those who have advanced disease. Her strength encourages others to be strong and to live life to the fullest. I am so proud of her and her work!
Carol is the person you want on you team as a friend and as a professional. It did not surprise any of us of her courage, bravery and resolve to attack cancer right back and put her enemy into submission. Carol’s journey, so well documented in her book, is an inspiration and challenges us all to be hopeful and courageous in our own journey.
An extremely well-written account of living with a terminal diagnosis is a must-read for everyone. It gives the reader a new outlook on life and motivation to live each day to its fullest.
Carol, I just wanted you to know that after reading your book and giving it much consideration, I can’t pick out what I love the most. I love the whole book–from your explanations of your cancer experience to your wonderful poetry that gives the emotional side of it–I just love the whole book. Thank you for your continued wonderful support for all of us in this crazy battle.
Your joy and ease of writing shows itself because it reads so smoothly. The phases was such a natural progression that I never thought about it. Beyond the poetry being very good, the text is very good, too.