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While we waited for what was supposed to be a 24-hour biopsy turned into a four-day wait, nothing could have braced us for what came next. A nurse casually walked into my Mom’s room wearing what looked like nuclear fallout gear, dragging multiple yellow liquid IV bags and saying, “Hello Ms. Burns, I’m here with your chemotherapy to treat your cancer.”She had no accurate diagnosis, no doctor explanation, no staging or prognosis. Our Mom immediately started to cry, and any hope that we had that this nightmare mass could be benign was now gone. I was enraged, and this would be just the beginning of numerous medical mistakes, poor communication, false hope, and feelings of helplessness.

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My goal in writing this book is to keep the promise that I made to my Mom, one late night in her hospital room while she was suffering yet another complication from cancer, to share her story, so others don’t go through what she and my family went through.

You can have input, control, and make a difference in your loved one’s healthcare.
You can be their best advocate.

You will learn lessons and tips to help you support your loved ones through example, help you find your voice, and understand your rights in a very complicated and imperfect healthcare system.

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I wrote a letter to my mom, who died of cancer a decade ago. I detail the rage, the pain, the sharp knife of the memory of her. I walk her through my life during and after—the coping mechanisms, the chaos, my medical and psychological trauma. I leave her with a wish to have had more time.

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