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Late September 2023.
Firstly, let me thank those of you who purchased a copy of ‘Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor,’ and the incredible reviews left on Amazon, Goodreads and the publisher's website, I am truly humbled.
And you all know that life generally offers a variety of obstacles that need to be jumped. For some of those obstacles, you have to jump pretty high.……..
Publishing ‘Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor’ has allowed me to give something back to society (and made me realise just how high I jumped) – having worked my entire nursing career of 34 years in cancer services, now is the time I can influence other cancer patients by sharing my story, a chronicle of hope and inspiration.
In this frank and honest biography I openly admit to my failures (and there were many), not least the fact that I left school with a fistful of worthless qualifications. Yet my proclivity to play the practical joker continued as I started work in a local shipyard in 1973 – that was, until the spectre of cancer took hold of my feeble frame, gripping it in a deathly stranglehold, and refused to let go!
“Despite my inability to cope physically and mentally during that difficult time, fate had more surprises installed for me, both good and bad.
Although I sincerely hope you are never in that situation, let me tell you that there is NOT a worse feeling in the world than being told that your child has a cancer diagnosis. When aged just four, my daughter, Donna was given that diagnosis it is difficult to explain the emotion that devastating revelation elicited - simple words cannot describe the helplessness that scenario brought about - a roller coaster ride of emotional turbulence.
I believe everyone in life, irrespective of who you are needs inspiration. A number of inspirations have motivated me during my sixty-six years - particularly during the early seventies when I honestly believed my time on this earth was limited. Not least of those inspirations was one of the world’s greatest ‘prog’ rock bands, Hawkwind, who delivered lyrics and a sound that offered me my own escapism. And yet, I could never have imagined that 32 years later I would be playing on stage with the band at Donnington festival, fate really is a strange entity.
Furthermore, I have always, and a long time before my diagnosis, had an interest in Native American history, especially, the Plains people, the Lakota Sioux. But, in 2018 I travelled to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to spend a week with the indigenous people. The tribe, who unknowingly provided me with more inspiration during my cancer journey than anyone will ever know – fate, at its very best.
Not only am I humbled today, to be one of the longest cancer survivors in the UK, but honoured that my book, ‘Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor’ recently was placed third in the prestigious New York Book Fair Awards 2023.
So, if you happen to read, Me and My Shadow, take from it what you will, hopefully, hope and inspiration – but feel free to criticise it where you feel necessary, because it is not a prescriptive guide to dealing with a cancer diagnosis, as that prescriptive guide simply does not exist.
So until the next time friends, be good and enjoy life.
Read more in ‘Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor’ now available worldwide: https://www.austinmacauley.com/book/me-and-my-shadow
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