My new book “I have Cancer” 48 Things to Do When You Hear Those Words, has a Kindle #9 rank in cancer today—the day of it’s release. So why shouldn’t I rejoice rather than be anxious?

Making a Difference

I’m not concerned about loosing rank—that’s inevitable. I’ve watched my other books, Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life and Leaning Into Sharp Points: Practical Guidance and Nurturing Support for Caregivers, slip from best sellers to ranks I mumble when someone asks me how they’re doing.

I’m anxious because I wonder if this book will make a difference in people’s lives. And if it doesn’t, what was the purpose of spending years pulling it together?

At least once in your life someone will say to you, “I have cancer,” and when those three words are spoken, you may struggle with a response. I wrote this book to suggest things you can do that will support your loved ones or friends on this unsettling journey you both may travel.

The suggestions range from the simplicity of compassionate listening to the gut-wrenching preparation for death. I wish I knew them when a good friend told me twenty-years ago she had terminal breast cancer.

Child Raising and Writing

Fretting over the book is similar to raising children. Before mine were born, both my wife and I had a multitude of concerns about the pregnancy. Was she eating the right things, getting enough exercise, what music should we play to affect the baby’s development, and other concerns people today might view as “strange.”

With the birth of healthy children, the fretting should have stopped rather than becoming concerns over their development—just as I should stop worrying about the book’s effectiveness. When they became wonderful teenagers, concern shifted to adulthood. Both have become wonderful adults, so the worry morphs to their old age. Instead of being delighted with the present, we often change our focus to the future–a point in time over which we may not have any influence.


I’d like to think that I’ve made a difference with this book; that after reading it you’ll be better prepared to help someone with cancer.  If you’ve bought it and find that it makes a difference in your life, I’d appreciate feedback. If it doesn’t, please let me know and I can start writing novels about zombies.

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