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Dancing Cancer is a children’s book that offers hope and support to all those touched by cancer. The author shares her long time survivorship cancer story. It is about a little girl who had her first cancer at age three. She loved to dance and move. Even though her cancer returned she continued to follow her hopes and dreams. Good medical help, diet, exercise, positive attitude, and faith all lead to her healing. It is an inspirational book that encourages one to have faith and follow their dreams.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.07(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Linda McDonald
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Linda McDonald
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAlex and Michaela got off the school bus and ran to their house. They were excited to be home, get a snack, and play with their dog, Angel. Playing with their dog was always more fun than studying and practicing their piano and clarinet. When the children came home, their mother was talking on the phone. She seemed upset and was asking a lot of questions.
At dinner, Mother told the family about her phone conversation. She had been talking to their grandmother and found out Grandmother had breast cancer. Alex and Michaela both chimed in at the same time, "Mother, what is cancer?" She explained, "Cancer is a serious illness. You cannot catch it from another person, and you do not get it if you are bad." They all felt so very sad. They loved their grandmother and called her Nana. They wanted Nana to come and stay with them for a while so they could take care of her.
In a couple of days, Nana arrived, and Mother took Nana to the hospital so that the doctors could give her tests to see exactly what was wrong and what they had to do next. Nana was very tired. But she still took time to play with Alex and Michaela. They were so happy to have her visit. They played cards, listened to Nana's stories, read, sang, and danced.
Nana told them a very surprising thing. She said, "I am going to lose my hair, because the doctor has prescribed chemotherapy medicine so that my cancer cells will go away." Michaela asked, "But why will your hair fall out?" Nana explained, "When the chemotherapy kills the bad cells, it also kills some good ones with it." "That's okay," Michaela said, "We will still love you anyway." Nana told them her hair would grow back, but it might look different. On the days that Mother took Nana to the doctor's office, the children got to stay with their friends after school. Sometimes it was late when Mother and Nana got home. Alex and Michaela tried to help around the house. It was fun having Nana there. She always had time to play cards, tell stories, read, sing, move, and dance with them. Oh how Nana loved to dance.
As time went by, Nana got better. She followed her doctor's orders. She took her medicine, got plenty of rest, drank lots of water, and enjoyed eating many fruits and vegetables. Her dinner plate of food always looked like a colored rainbow of yummy fresh fruits and vegetables. Alex and Michaela wanted a plate just like Nana's!
Alex said to Nana, "Tell me about when you were a little girl and what it was like growing up ... and all the things you did." Nana's mind drifted back many years as she started telling the children about her childhood. Nana said, "When I was a little girl, I liked to do lots of fun things. I liked to play, sing, and move, and most of all, I liked to dance. I loved to go to parties. One day when I was three years old, my aunt Mary took me to a birthday party for one of my little friends. It was a wonderful party, and I enjoyed playing games, eating cake, candy, and ice cream.
But when I got home, my tummy hurt! I did not feel like dancing at all. Aunt Mary was afraid that I had eaten too much. My mother told me to sit on the steps of the porch and rest. After sitting there awhile, my tummy still hurt, and the pain was so bad that I fell off the steps. Soon my tummy started to grow, and it felt funny. My mother called Doctor Dean. When he saw me, the doctor said, 'I'm afraid your little girl is very sick. She must see a special doctor.' That doctor had his office in a different town, and my mother had to drive me a long way to reach him.
"He was a very nice doctor. He helped me get up on a big table. He felt my tummy and said, 'You have a Wilms tumor and need to have an operation.' It was a cancer on my kidney. But this was a long time ago, and no one ever said the word 'cancer' or talked about it. I was just told I had a tumor and its name was Wilms.
"I went to a big hospital. The nurses put me in a very high bed with tall railing all around it. I felt like I was in a cage. Lots of people came to see me. The doctors and nurses were very nice. My mother stayed with, me so I was not scared. There was a special couch, which made into a bed. My mother slept there every night.
"After the operation to get rid of the tumor, I went home. I played hospital with my dolls. My younger brother, Charles, played too! I really knew how to play, because I spent so much time in the hospital. It was fun being the doctor or nurse for a change, instead of the patient. As I got better, I began to move and to dance again.
"The doctor said I had to have radiation. I didn't know what that was, but Mother said, 'It is a big machine that points to the spot where the tumor used to be. It won't hurt, but sends invisible rays into the area so that it stays healthy.'
"I lived in New Jersey, and there were no special machines nearby for my treatments. It was during World War II. Gas was rationed, which meant that we could only get a certain amount of gasoline each week. Times were very hard for everyone. So, Mother and I walked to the train station, boarded the train, and traveled to a big city named Philadelphia for the radiation treatments. Once we got off the train, we took a trolley to a large hospital. That part was lots of fun. I loved the train and trolley car rides. The trolley went ding, ding, ding, ding, and the train went clackity-clack. But it was a long and tiring trip. Once I got my radiation treatment, we went back on the trolley and the train. After the long train trip, we walked back home. I was so tired, but my mother and I did this for several weeks so that I could get well.
"Lots of people prayed for me. I got better and stronger every day. I kept remembering a song I learned in Sunday school-
Jesus loves me. This I know For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
"I sang that song, believed the words, and knew everything would be all right. And it was all right. While growing up, I always followed what the doctor said, drank lots of water, washed my hands, ate fresh fruits and vegetables, got plenty of rest, and had fun playing with my friends on our farm. It was a very active life. All of us enjoyed playing in the fresh air and sunshine. It was a special time when I was able to go to school. I felt good. My scar had healed, and I was able to do what anyone else did. It was wonderful! I loved to play, sing, move, and dance. My parents told me to keep dancing. They wanted me to be just like the other children, even though I had a very serious operation and radiation. My parents gave me piano lessons. It was okay, but I didn't like to sit and practice. I wanted to move to the music not play the music. I wanted to dance.
"One day, my mother gave me a very special present. It was a big box, and inside were ballet slippers, tap shoes, and leotards. She said, 'We are going to meet other children and a nice lady called Mrs. Kehoe.' Mrs. Kehoe taught us to sing, move, and dance. She was wonderful. We had lots of fun. I liked to practice and make up dances. As I got older, I got to dance and perform in many places. I wore pretty costumes, had fun, and met many interesting people. I even went to the state fair and danced for the crowds. I was doing what I loved and had fun doing it.
"School was exciting, and I worked hard. I was active in the student council and captain of the cheerleaders. It was challenging doing it all. Studies, dance classes, and school activities all took time, but I managed. Cancer was not going to stop me from having fun.
"After graduation, I went on to college. My parents told me I could do anything I wanted to do and be anything I wanted to be. Above all, they told me to follow my dreams. I continued to study dance while attending college. I wanted to be a teacher. While in college, I had the opportunity to go on a singing tour to Europe. I was able to sing and dance in a number of different countries: England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands. It was fun to visit the people around the world and to do what I loved most ... dance.
Wow! I wanted more-more travel, more dance, more everything! I loved to dance, and I loved to teach. When I returned to the United States of America, I was looking for a job. I attended a dance educators' convention in New York City, where I met some people from Florida. They offered me a job teaching dance in Orlando. I had never been to Florida. After prayerful consideration, I decided to take the challenge and a perfect job opened for me ... teaching preschool children in the morning and teaching dancing in the afternoon. God was good. I was blessed. Life was wonderful!
"I fell in love with Grandpa, got married, and had two beautiful children-your mother, Lora Lyn, and your uncle Keith. I strongly felt God's presence near me, and he seemed to be saying, 'I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope' (Jeremiah 29:11). I was going to need that hope sooner than I ever anticipated. Before your uncle Keith was born, a routine test revealed something was not right. The pregnancy continued, and everyone was relieved when the baby was born fit and healthy. For me, it was a different story. A second cancer, carcinoma insitu, was discovered, and surgery followed. It had been thirty years-that's a long time-since the Wilms tumor, and now, suddenly, there was a totally different cancer. I guess cancer liked me, but I didn't like it!
"After the operation, the local college asked if I would teach dance a couple of hours a week. They said they would work the class hours around the baby's schedule. A nurse was found to look after the children. I lived close to the college, so travel time was short. I loved it ... moving, teaching, dancing, getting back into shape-but I wasn't allowed to jump, push, or lift until I was healed.
"My life was rich with the blessing of my children and passing on the joy of music, movement, and dance. As the years passed, I taught many-from preschoolers, elementary students, college students, to senior adults-the art of the dance and the appreciation of the healthy benefits that come from simple movement and exercise. I taught deaf, blind, physically and mentally handicapped students. As I became older, I realized how important it is for everyone to keep moving. That's my motto: keep moving! The more I moved, the more I traveled, dancing through life and different countries. I truly was following my dreams ... life was good!
"Thirty more years passed. I continued to follow the advice of the doctors in living a well-balanced life-plenty of exercise, fresh air, and sunshine; eating the right kinds of food; drinking plenty of water; and no smoking. And, of course, I continued moving and dancing.
"I went to the doctor for a physical exam. A lump was found; next came the mammogram, the tests, and more cancer! That was my third cancer, and this time it was in my breast. Most people do not experience cancer three times. But I want you to know, Alex and Michaela, even when tough times come, there is always hope. We must not fear but have faith. We must always try and find the good in every situation. I came to realize that it is not what happens to us but how we accept it that matters as well as keeping a positive attitude. Life is good. How quickly time passes. Hopefully, the doctor will soon say, 'You are doing fine. Just come back for your routine checkups.'
"Children, I want to tell you that no matter what happens, follow your dreams and remember to study and work hard. There are a lot of great opportunities that come our way, and you never know when and where. Trials and problems can be turned into great opportunities. Reach for the stars!
We must turn our scars into stars. We can look on the good side of everything. All things work together for good. Many things are not good, but they can work together for our good. We must believe. Alex and Michaela, always remember God has a special purpose for everyone. He has placed a special dream or desire in everyone's heart. It is our job to find and follow that dream. If you seek and follow that dream, it can lead to an exciting and fulfilling life.
"Through the grace of God, my faith in him, the love and care of my family, friends, and medical professionals, I continue teaching, moving, and dancing through life, following the path set before me and remembering the song I learned so long ago-
Jesus loves me. This I know For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong They are weak but He is strong Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."
Excerpted from DANCING CANCER by Linda McDonald Copyright © 2010 by Linda McDonald. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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