In Danger: A Memoir of Family and Hope by Josepha Dietrich, is just that. She details her diagnosis of breast cancer at thirty-five-years-old, four years after her mother’s death from the same disease. She had a baby at the time, and both she and her son had nearly died at his birth. He had complications that meant he was a high-needs child.
She decided her fate would not be the same as her mother’s, and threw everything at it. Her family and friends all do what they can to support her through surgeries and chemotherapy.
She writes with candour about this traumatic experience, the rollercoaster of potentially terminal illness, coupled with trying to parent a child with another life-threatening condition. The hospital became a second home. She found ‘To live with cancer was to grieve one’s former life, even when in remission’.
This book looks at how women care for others – parents, children, and how that can impact on their careers. It is also a story of resilience and strength. As Dietrich says, ‘I live with cancer every day. I choose to do this, as a reminder that my future death wants me to live well now’, a message to us all, whether we have had to face anything similar, or have been lucky enough to avoid it so far.