A THEME SONG FOR CANCER
Searching for a bible reading was the farthest thing from my mind during that first month after receiving the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Between appointments and all sorts of tests—biopsy, bone density, ultrasounds—I had very little time to do much else. Once the chemo treatments started, I was barely able to focus on my dwindling list of daily tasks.
That period of time between the first and second treatments was the worst. I was spending my nights throwing up and, during the day, I was sweeping loose hair that had found its way onto every surface of my condo. I was getting ready to call Josef about my wig when I noticed the second email from high school chaplain Mike Hamp.
I hadn’t planned on ignoring that first email, but it had come at the most inopportune time. During those two weeks, I stopped answering all calls and emails. But I could no longer ignore Mike’s request, a legitimate one that honored me and my cancer journey. At the end-of-school-year mass, which was less than a week away, Mike wanted to share my favorite bible readings with the staff. I had no problems coming up with the second reading: the parable of the vine and branches. But the first reading was a challenge. Nothing from the Old Testament came to mind and I wasn’t in any mood to read the bible. While I welcomed and appreciated prayers from family and friends, I couldn’t articulate my own.
Hoping to distract myself, I ran several errands in the city. While driving, I heard one of my favorite oldie goldies: Turn! Turn! Turn! As I sang along, I recalled that the lyrics had been taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
I had found my first reading.
And strangely enough, I had also found a theme song for my cancer journey.
As I went through my own seasons—chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, recovery—I listened to The Byrds CD. I found solace in those familiar lyrics that Pete Seeger had originally written as a plea for world peace. In fact, the title and the last line: “A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late,” are the only additions that Seeger made to the Bible verses.
My favorite line—“A time to build up, a time to break down”—came in handy while I waited for chemotherapy and radiation, underwent blood transfusions and surgery, and then took six months to recover from the most challenging season of my life.
While I still enjoy listening to Turn! Turn! Turn! I’ve also started listening to other people’s theme songs for cancer. Some favorites include Survivor by Destiny’s Child, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, and Daydream Believer by The Monkees. Martina McBride’s songs—This One’s for the Girls and I’m Gonna Love You Through It—also resonate with me.
BIO AND LINKS FOR JOANNE GUIDOCCIO
In high school, I dabbled in poetry, but decided to wait until I had more life experiences before writing a novel. The original plan was to get a general arts degree and take a few years off to travel and write. Instead, I gave in to my practical Italian side and obtained degrees in mathematics and education.
While I experienced many satisfying moments during my teaching career, I never found the time and energy to write. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement. Slowly, a writing practice emerged and my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines and online.
My debut novel, Between Land and Sea, a paranormal romance about a middle-aged mermaid, has just been released by Soul Mate Publishing.
I live and write in Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne…
YouTube (Trailer #1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xipZ6quZDOs
YouTube (Trailer #2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfiKOQe_yuU
BLURB FOR BETWEEN LAND AND SEA
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.