Monday, March 17, 2014

The Courage Muscle. Free again.

These balloons always garnished Monique's house on St. Patrick's Day, when she and her family would invite friends and neighbors to celebrate the holiday.

In honor of the day, here's a repeat of a post from last year.  Michael and I just found a few dozen more copies of the book.  If you'd like one, free, just leave a comment with your full name and snail mail address.

When Monique Doyle Spencer wrote The Courage Muscle, A Chicken's Guide to Living with Breast Cancer, she couldn't find a publisher willing to take the book on.  It was funny, you see, and all the publishers thought it was inappropriate to have a funny book about cancer.  She showed me a draft, and I said that our hospital would publish the book, and we did.  Since then, it has brought good-humored hope and advice to patients and families around the world.  As one reviewer said:  "It should become a textbook for the medical professions and a guidebook for all who must confront, or support those who do, breast cancer. It is a beautiful book, beautifully written, that sweetly balances gravitas, zaniness and one person's truth. The author's humanity is in full, accessible display for all to see, share and learn from."

Monique died on Thanksgiving weekend in 2011, and along with our fond memories of her, the book remains.  I happen to have several dozen copies, as does her husband Michael.  We have decided to offer them at no cost to the readers of this blog.  First come, first served, until we run out.  Just submit a comment with your name and snail mail address, and we will send one off to you in a few days.

To whet your appetite, here is a story about Monique's humor.  It occurred a few months before in 2011.  Michael tells it:

Bobby McFerrin gave a marvelous concert, showing his voice as an instrument, to a packed house at Symphony Hall.  Afterwards he came to the front of the stage and sat, legs dangling, to answer questions. After a bit, Monique plunged in, without being acknowledged, and asked about whether he was asked to do "Don't Worry Be Happy."  I could feel the audience cringe.  McFerrin gracefully answered the question and said he does not perform the song and was sorry to disappoint.  Monique shot back, "I did not say I liked it."  The audience broke out laughing and McFerrin fell to the floor and lay down on the stage, doing the same.


Paul Levy said...

On its way, Daniel, Kathy, and James!

Pam said...

I found this book invaluable when I had breast cancer and sent it off to a friend when she discovered she did too. What she's done with it I don't know, but I'd love to have another copy for another recently diagnosed friend.

Paul Levy said...

On its way!

Paul Levy said...

On its way, Janice, Ann, Zahra, Kathy, Marlin, Brent, Susan, Tiffany, and Norma!

Paul Levy said...

On its way, NK!

Anonymous said...

Paul, got the book and shared it with my working group at Virginia Mason. A pancreas cancer survivor in our group immediately got the particulars so she could get a book for her friend who's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I gave her the copy you sent me, and she was delighted.

Thank you for helping me to be generous.


Paul Levy said...

Our pleasure. We still have a few left if anybody wants.