Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book with a constellation in the title or on the cover
Book: The Cancer Journals, by Audre Lorde
A brief, powerful first-person account of Lorde's experience with breast cancer and mastectomy. Lorde was just 44 in 1978, when she discovered the cancer and had a radical mastectomy. The collection of journal entries and essays is barely 70 pages, but she every page is packed with impact. She speaks honestly about the fear, about facing death, about her anger at how cancer research and education were geared toward treatment rather than prevention.
In the final essay, she talks about how medical personnel and Cancer Society volunteers - who were otherwise helpful - were weirdly pushy about wanting her to use a prosthesis. They kept focusing on wanting her to look "like nothing happened" and be attractive. Which, to Lorde, was utterly beside the point. Lorde made clear that she wasn't disparaging any woman who used a prosthesis or reconstructive surgery, but for herself, being visibly one-breasted was a powerful way to show other cancer patients that they were not alone.
The other theme that runs through the book is the sisterhood of women, family and friends who helped her get through the worst days. It's an emotional experience reading her words now, knowing that the cancer took her 14 years later, still far too soon.