And so my life segues into a new chapter.
On Australia Day with little to no fanfare, I quietly sold the first ever copy of the memoir I have produced, based on the earliest parts of this blog. Well actually, it is more or less the contents of this blog, but in book form. At the very least it looks pretty.
Here is a picture of it.
I decided to press ahead with creating the book format of my work primarily as I wanted to expose more people to my story. There was that and the fact I am basically an unemployed haus frau and it has given me something constructive to do.
In fact, in my dreams I see myself transformed from this:
I did say in my dreams.
The process began in September last year, around two years since my diagnosis. To be honest, I doubt I could have started it any earlier. Prior to this I simply did not have the stomach to re-read anything I had written as it was quite confronting. Believe it or not, there is no drearier experience than reading about yourself.
But when I first opened up my material to begin the process of editing, it was with some trepidation at the onerous task ahead I actually sighed with resignation. Never mind the idea of going back over what was, ostensibly, a rather difficult period for me. I was also worried that, on reconsideration, this material would be utter crap. I would then have to truly confront the utter lunacy of every putting myself out so openly.
It was a relief then that I was pleasantly surprised. By about the middle of the book, I was telling Al that: 'Actually, it's pretty good' (And several re-reads later, my opinion held true). It is only now that I realise that that's because the version I read had been sub-edited. At this point I should acknowledge, once again, my dearest friend Tim Wilson who kindly gave up his time for me.
Next, I secured the services of Lyndal and Garry's daughter, Lucy to assist me with the design. I have known Lucy since she was eight or nine years old. While Al, too, is a graphic designer he is very busy with his own projects (and has been burned-out by his bloody wife's bloody pet projects over the years). But Lucy is young, keen and on the cusp of her brilliant career. I felt she was perfect for the job. Most importantly, I felt that one important 'Selection Criteria' was: Must have breasts (and no, very fat men need not apply).
As well, in collaboration with my sister Fiona, I secured the services of a Print on Demand supplier (based in Melbourne). I have used Lightning Source and, according to Fiona, they are reliable and a boon for authors wishing to distribute around the globe.
From here, the process has been physically draining. There are so many parts to the process, I have discovered one needs a great deal of stamina - and maybe just a tiny bit of alcohol - to stay focussed and positive.
It has been, naturally, financially draining. It's a self-funded project and, in my current situation, that has also required a certain amount of self-belief. Alas, I am not exactly a millionaire so it really has been a case of directing my few spare shekels to this project.
Importantly, it has been emotional draining. Given the very intimate and personal nature of this memoir, I have to weigh up the fact that there may now be countless strangers learning about, for example, vaginal dryness. This is a good thing, yes?
I understand there are some who will judge me badly. There always are.
But what to do? I started this process in September 2011 and this is the new chapter: this book, the thing that will allow me to derive a greater meaning from it all.
Is it a foolish endeavour? Probably.
Is it worth it? As with anything in life, only time will tell.
So what now, but Tally Ho! Books to print and distribute, book signings to organise, launches to be had, friends to be mercilessly hounded until…
Wait… did I mention….
If you have read and enjoyed my blog at any stage, I would sincerely appreciate your support. Please please please purchase a copy of this book.
Even if you think that you are more than familiar with its contents, I hope I can entice you to part with your $28 as the book contains several photos no one has seen.
These, incidentally, include one very, very intimate never-seen-before photograph. Me and Al filming our sex tape. (No, wait, that wasn't Al. Hahaha).
But really, the never-before-seen photograph is of Nicky and Paris, taken just before the whole sorry business of de-boobification began is sure to titilate.
This is the only picture of my boobs ever to be seen by anyone (other than Lucy) and no, not even Al.
What can I say. 'The Breast is History' really is 'An intimate memoir of breast cancer'.
Please purchase your copy here: www.thebreastishistory.com
Remember, part proceeds go to the service-based charity, 'Chicks in Pink' which is run by Mater Hospitals.