It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a day to acknowledge those who are survivors and are diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s a battle that has been fought and won. It’s the time to acknowledge that it’s a tough battle to face in life. Here are four amazing authors who have faced breast cancer and wrote about their experiences.
She is known as the “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. Lorde addresses the injustices of racism, classism, homophobia, and sexism. Born in New York to West Indian immigrant parents, Lorde graduated from Hunter High School where she published her first poem in Seventeen Magazine.
She got a BA in Hunter College and an MLS in Columbia University. In 1972 she met her love, Frances Clayton.
Many of her poetry collections include: From a Land Where Other People Live (1972), Coal (1976), and The Black Unicorn (1978)
Lorde discovered a lump in her chest in 1978. In 1980 she proceeded to create The Cancer Journals which talked about her mastectomy and how she was fighting body image of a breast cancer victim by not wearing a breast shaper for the breast they took the lump from.
Hayden is a writer and children’s book illustrator for graphic novels. Her newest novel was in 2015 The Story of My Tits, a memoir about her life and experience with breast cancer.
Her first book was an autobiographical collection called Underwire (2011) which was praised in The Best American Comics in 2013.
Jennifer Hayden is a mother of two; at the age of forty three she dealt with breast cancer and was in the process of writing her 2015 memoir.
Hayden has been to San Diego and New York Comic Cons.
For more of her recent online comics check out Spiralbound.
Cummings is a twenty year breast cancer survivor. She did stint teaching in Cairo and Paris, and has acted onstage in Manhattan.
At the age of forty seven she got a mammogram which showed “suspicious micro-calcifications”. Luckily it was the early stages and she was able to get a mastectomy. However, she wasn’t able to write and felt really down.
However, she got her inspiration back once she began writing her experience of having breast cancer. The book, Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman, discusses her experiences with coping after having a mastectomy. It relays her health concerns, how relationships fall when adding a medical factor in it, and embracing the asymmetrical body that is beautiful.
Blume’s career began in the 1960s. She resumed her college education in New York University and graduated with a BS in education in 1961 where she took writing courses at NYU.
She is a first time author of illustrated children’s books with The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo (1969), bringing her into the lime light. In 1970 her coming of age novel, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, brought her more popularity.
Other books such as Deenie (1973) and Forever… (1975) discussed body image and teen sexuality.
At the age of seventy four in 2012 she received a breast cancer diagnosis, and six weeks after the diagnosis she got a mastectomy. Day by day she regained her strength and continued to do what she loved in New York.
These four women persevered and didn’t let breast cancer define them. It was only a part of the journey ahead and soon, breast cancer became a part of their writing journey. Their shared experiences are an inspirational reminder to keep going and fight.
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