A Year in the Life of a “Dead” Woman

Living with Terminal Cancer

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About the Book

Perhaps I should have realized that cancer runs in my family. After all, three grandparents and my father and brother perished from this disease. Yet, when I received my colorectal cancer diagnosis, I was surprised. I never expected to be primarily identified as a cancer patient. Following a typical combination of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and more chemo, I was presumably cancer-free when my post-treatment scans looked clean. Nonetheless, within a year I received a terminal diagnosis; cancer had metastasized in my lungs. Thus began my year as a dead woman—a time of chaotic emotions, new priorities, and rapid-fire plans and changes. Expecting the unexpected became a theme in my life, but the things that turned out to be most shocking are social, familial, and even my expectations about what is realistic for a dead woman to be or do.

Preconceptions about a terminal cancer diagnosis frequently are based on popular culture depictions of cancer and dying, which can be misleading as a guide for knowing what to expect when you’re expecting to die. This memoir provides one woman’s often-irreverent, pop culture-illustrated guide to life that deconstructs some common preconceptions about living with a terminal diagnosis.

About the Author(s)

Lynnette Porter is a professor in the Humanities and Communication Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and has written extensively on television and film.

Bibliographic Details

Lynnette Porter
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 185
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7896-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3865-2
Imprint: Toplight

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 11
1. Living the Dream/Fearing the ­Wake-up Call 27
2. Getting (and Getting Over) the News 35
3. The Power of Friendship 40
4. Who Tells My Story? 51
5. Packing My Bags—and My Travel Schedule 58
6. Taking Care of Business 76
7. Who Am I? 95
8. Abnormal as the New Normal: When I Am Old, I Will Be “Purple” 107
9. Great (or ­Not-So-Great) Expectations—Mine and Everyone Else’s 123
10. Gratitude More Than Grief: Defying Expectations 152
11. The End Is Nigh 157
Works Cited 167
Index 173