Once Upon My Chest, a breast cancer memoir.
Author: Phoolo Danny Maharaj.
When it happens to a writer, it happens for a cause.
Diagnosed with breast cancer, Phoolo Danny Maharaj began putting pen to paper. In so doing she grew from journalist to author.
Recently published, “Once Upon My Chest” a breast cancer memoir offers readers much more that a survivor’s experience. It is a love story with a difference.
The book celebrates a woman surrounded by love. She has a loving husband, two sons, doting in-laws plus a mother, brothers and sisters, friends and fans as well.
The sterling qualities of a woman to protect and guide her family is evident as the author decided from the offset that she is a survivor never a victim.
The 200-page narrative is a tremendous story of courage and unbounded faith.
Maharaj writes about a premonition that something bad was about to happen, “Often I felt a presence, like a shadow or strange heaviness hovering around me.” (Page 18).
Silently gathering her spiritual strength, she braved her way through to bring to readers the dreaded cancer journey, frequently experienced and rarely told.
She writes about an itch deep inside her arm pit. Keeping tabs on it she felt it grow into a pimple. Not one to live in the dark, she got it tested. The result came in crashing waves threatening to drown her love ones. Family means everything to this first time author as evidenced by a cover sub-heading, “scarred by cancer, blessed with love.”
She unveils her vulnerability with honesty and captures her readers with a great sense of humor and intercepting verses of poetry.
On page 93, she writes about wanting to spare her mother the worry and called up after the operation. (Page 92) “I told her the doctors had removed my breasts. “What? They sliced it off. The two?” was her mother’s reply.
Also waking up horrified in pampers one minute and the next spicy tomato choka and saadaa roti which, “I ate as if I had not eaten for months.”
Page 91, carries a rhythmic tribute to the dish.
We see her tackling each stage of the cancer treatment head on, asking medical questions, demanded second opinions and conducted her own research.
Once Upon My chest is also a valuable read in creating awareness of the steps necessary to survive.
With an artistic layout and design by Jacinta Mendes and colorful cover by Margaret Samuel, Danny puts her journalistic style to play. The contents guides the reader step by step with a heading and sub-heading.
Surgery Done, It’s gone. I am alive (page 84) encounters an almost fatal post-operation chapter. With a gentle hand, she revealed step by step the ordeal freeing herself of cancer cells to rebuild her life in changed circumstances.
The book is an easy read and one that should stay on the shelves to read again and again. In its simplistic style, the memoir leaves a powerful impact on the minds of readers. Here, then is another approach in dealing with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The decision to fight it from the beginning is the key to survival.
Once Upon My Chest is an essential read.