Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person: A Review

Posted on: May 13th, 2016 by

Nancy Memoir


That’s what you will find in Nancy Stordahl’s memoir Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person: A Memoir About Cancer as I Know It. The book’s title is telling: Stordahl exposes the ugliness that breast cancer really is. In a culture of pinkwashing and stories about how breast cancer changed people for the better, it is refreshing to read this book’s account of breast cancer.

Stordahl knows first-hand about breast cancer, unfortunately. Her mother died of metastatic breast cancer, and not too long after her mother’s death, Stordahl herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t want to divulge too much about this important book, but Stordahl interweaves her breast cancer story with her mother’s breast cancer story exceedingly well. She also covers the complexity of how breast cancer has affected her family, as well as how horrific this disease really is.

The memoir’s narrative prose is so extraordinary, that I could not stop reading this book. The memoir is not the typical breast cancer feel-good-book; instead it is a poignant account of the tragedy that is breast cancer.

If you are a fan of her popular, excellent blog Nancy’s Point — as I am — you will appreciate the memoir’s same candor and heart as Stordahl’s blog. A well-known advocate for those with metastatic breast cancer, she has no qualms about sharing any topic on breast cancer.

Stordahl is a refreshing agent for change in breast cancer culture.

Similarly, her memoir is the antidote to the pink ribbon culture so pervasive in our society.

I highly recommend this memoir. It can be purchased here.

Have you read Nancy Stordahl’s memoir yet? Feel free to leave your comments.

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7 Responses to Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person: A Review

  1. Rebecca had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,

    I read Nancy’s memoir and enjoyed it a lot. I appreciated how she told her truth because so often we aren’t ‘allowed’ to stay true to ourselves in this society. Nancy has a way to comfort others and to make us feel like we are not alone. There are many important topics highlighted in Nancy’s memoir that should be more frequently discussed in our society — such as being a caregiver to a loved one. This book also touches on grief, fear, loss, family dynamics during challenging times, support, decision-making when faced with illness or when having to decide for a love one who is ill, closure, among other important topics. Nancy also encourages us not to let others dictate how we should do cancer or survivorship.

    I actually recommend this book to everyone. I believe many people would find it useful.

    Thanks for sharing your review.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      Thank you for your comment. What you say is so true. The book covers so many topics that are often not talked about, such as the family dynamics and closure.

      I agree that so many people would find this book useful. In fact, everyone should read this book.

    • Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for reading my memoir and for saying such nice things about it every chance you get. I am humbled by your kind words. xo

  2. Carolyn Thomas had this to say about that:

    Thanks Beth for helping to tell the world about Nancy’s new book. Here’s what I wrote in my own review:

    “First of all: world’s greatest book title!

    “I’ve often noticed that breast cancer bloggers and patients read/follow/leave comments in response to so many of my Heart Sisters blog posts (almost all of which focus on heart stuff, and not cancer). What I suspect is that maybe the specific type of health crisis doesn’t matter among us as much as the commonality we all share starting when hearing those first terrible words from a physician’s lips about our catastrophic and life-altering diagnoses.

    “I know that what Nancy Stordahl writes about will resonate with most of us, starting with any devastating medical diagnosis. She accurately nails the swirling emotions surrounding hospitalization (and the dread that precedes each hospital procedure), waiting for test results, recuperating with debilitating side effects, watching the struggles of our families and friends who are watching our struggle, and other day to day realities that will feel familiar, no matter what your diagnosis.

    “Nancy pulls no punches. She tells it like it is – the good, bad, and the very very ugly. I laughed out loud, and yes – I cried, too. Brava and thank you for this, Nancy!”

    I recommend Nancy’s book to all freshly-diagnosed patients and those who love them.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I read your terrific review on Amazon, and it really captures the essence of Nancy’s excellent book. I loved your “world’s greatest book title!” comment. I agree. :)

    • Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

      Hi Carolyn,
      I am so glad you liked my title! It was the only one that would work for me. I very much appreciate your review on Amazon as well as all your tweets and shares about it. Good luck with your upcoming book. Looking forward to reading it.

  3. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your support, Beth. It means so much. xo

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