In 2010 Mary Elizabeth Williams, in her early 40’s, was diagnosed with Stage 2c melanoma which she had removed. Sadly a year later her cancer is back with a vengeance and she’s diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma. She was now dealing with a rapidly fatal form of skin cancer that left her wondering if she’d see her next birthday or get to watch her young girls grow up to be women.
If it’s possible though to be lucky in the whole realm of having cancer Mary Elizabeth was. She had an excellent medical team and treatment at one of the most prestigious cancer treatment centres in the world, Sloan Kettering. She also got lucky in being approved for an immunotherapy clinical trial and having the insurance to afford her all of this. The clinical trial outright saved her life leaving her cancer free surprising even her doctors and many others in the medical community. I found the immunotherapy route very fascinating and to leave someone cancer free when they have a fatal melanoma is just amazing.
Of course the journey through all of this wasn’t easy. Mary Elizabeth understandably didn’t feel the best a lot of the time, she has a permanent spot on her head that will never grow hair, her best friend had been dealing with cancer herself as was her father-in-law. What I really admired about Mary Elizabeth was her resilience though. She kept going but as she said what choice do you have. You keep going and you make it through or you don’t. One of the things she says in he book is ‘The answer to “Why?” is “Because,” and the answer to “Why me?” is “Why not me?” It’s so true too. When something happens to us we always do that – say why me but really why not. It’s so simplistic and yet it isn’t.
The overall tone of the memoir is witty and positive and very easy to read. For anyone dealing with cancer or their caregivers and friends this would be recommended reading. Mary Elizabeth is straight forward in what she dealt with and her emotions while offering up a host of information on cancer research, cancer drugs, insurance and clinical trials. It’s informative but also an emotional and touching look into Mary Elizabeth’s journey with cancer. It’s nice to read a cancer story with a very hopeful ending. I wish all the best to Mary Elizabeth and her family.
Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.