The Astrocytoma Diaries by Ken Mooney is something I feel everyone absolutely must read. At its most simplest, it’s a first hand accounting of what it is like to battle cancer. But its heart is much more than that. It’s a detailed look at the human condition, of how a person can be given the terrible news that they have a tumor on their brain, and can choose to not only not give up, but face that battle head on.
It’s often easy to separate the human from the cancer. When you hear someone has cancer, you know it sucks, you feel terrible for them, but unless you yourself have seen the process first hand, you can’t truly know what it’s like. Mooney refers to this knowledge by noting a look that folks who have gone through this whole ordeal give each other, a certain knowing of the unknowable.
And this book, this diary, can only give you a portion of the knowledge of what it’s like to hear those life changing words, to go through the process of attempting to remove those deadly cells and growths and, well, you know, cancer, from your body. It can only give you a small idea of what it’s like to know that life is never going to be quite as simple as it was yesterday.
That moment of recognition that you are, indeed, mortal, and that the effort of living has now become an actual battle.
Read this book. It’s heart wrenching. But it’s a book about survival. A book about war. A book about the human spirit.
As well as being a book about cancer.