I had no intention of writing about breast cancer when I started my novel, The Bandaged Place. But then my protagonist, Dr. Kate Tilton, discovered a lump. What's a person to do? I had to order an
X-ray and then a biopsy...and the rest is history. It's like that for all women, I think...unexpected, scary, confusing.
How many times have I walked this path with a patient? From the moment she first felt the lump, or I found it for her, until the X-ray report came in, the biopsy was scheduled, and the diagnosis confirmed, during treatment and reconstruction, through follow-up and for some--the ones we never forget--until death. This all transpires in the hospital and doctor's office, of course...but what happens in the patient's home is another story entirely. The story Elizabeth Berg chose to tell.
This book was thrust into my reluctant hands by a friend but had I picked it up myself, I would have been an idiot not to read it. Here's what some reviewers said about Elizabeth Berg and her book:
"An eloquent testimonial to the power of women's friendships.You'll want to give a copy to every good friend you have."--The Charlotte Observer
"There's something funny about this exquisitely sad novel...Elizabeth Berg balances the heartwrenches with belly laughs."--Hartford Courant
"Mrs. Berg's sensitive writing and thorough understanding of the emotions of true friendship make this sad story one to treasure."--Baltimore Sun
"Unforgettable." "A triumph." "Gracefully written." "Splendid." "A celebration."
Naturally, my own WIP was inspired by this book! So here is a little snippet from my novel, The Bandaged Place. Dr. Tilton is scheduled for surgery in the morning:
"There is no moonlight tonight, nothing to dispel the darkness. I have been standing at the window for hours now searching the eastern horizon for the faintest glow, for some suggestion that the worst night of my life is over and the worst day of my life is about to begin. D-day. D for doubt. D for despair. D for disfigurement. Or maybe I should call it C-day, the way everyone around here has been so caring, so cheerful, so comforting, so clueless."
It is estimated that over 200,000 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Surely one more story about it can't hurt.
Stay tuned for my next installment--the nitty-gritty truth about writing a novel no matter how inspired you are.