"I wrote a book about eight years ago. Somehow a woman, who had never met me, reviewed the book and was not terribly impressed. She critiqued the inclusion of journal entries and the overall layout of the book. She never released the review, and I was never made aware of her identity. At first, I felt a deep sense of failure. Feeling both inadequacy and a sense that I could not even do cancer adequately. I would have pulled the book from Amazon if I could, placing its contents in a box containing what was left of my cancer story. Most of the items I had kept from my cancer experience were lost many years back in a basement flood.
After coming to terms with not being a literary success, I realized that to write a deeply personal book about one's pain, hope, and trauma is the absence of failure. My success was not measured by the critique of someone who may or may not have experienced a life-threatening illness. My worth was not determined by a positive review by someone who had never met me or listened to my story. My story was no less valid or impactful because I had not become a best-selling author.
The book that I wrote raised money for two different charities, and it connected with others who were facing a cancer journey. It provided hope, support, and validation for those whose lives were deeply impacted by a life-altering illness. This is the piece of life that I deeply connect with. The ability to make a difference, give back, and walk beside someone as they face great uncertainty.
As I reflect on that experience, I am struck by a continued desire to write words that will create an intertwined painting of suffering, loss, life, and love. A painting that can speak to others that are simultaneously creating their story. I am continuously moved by the stories of others. The fight for survival, a sense of grounding, and the ability to connect with others. We are constantly sharing our stories with others in the hopes that we can connect with others so that no one walks through life alone. You are a part of the story of H4TG. Your love, pain, struggle, triumphs, joy, hope, sadness, and inspiration are all a part of the strings that bind us together. Your story is important, has meaning, and inspires simply because you are writing the words."