Cancer. That six-letter word has the power to devastate lives and emotions with its mere utterance, evoking fear and hopelessness almost immediately. All too often, such a diagnosis is viewed as a death sentence, but a cancer patient has a choice: resignation to the ravages of the disease or fighting back with treatment and a firmly positive outlook.
Frankfort author Amy Luscher Smith chose hope. Diagnosed in 2016 with aggressive breast cancer, Smith shares every step of her journey, both physical and emotional, in My Faith Sparkles: Memoir of a Cancer Survivor, (Silver Linings Media, $16.95). Based on blog entries throughout her treatment, the book lays bare Smith’s roller coaster of thoughts and fears, the unexpected family found in a chemotherapy lab community, the hard reality of hair loss, and how silver linings can be found in all of them if one only chooses to look.
Smith readily admits struggling at times as fear tried to overcome faith. Such transparent honesty and ultimate steadfastness, coupled with scriptures to which she clung, are what make her story so encouraging and relatable to those facing similar mountains. “I’ve come to learn that it only takes a spark of light to pierce darkness,” Smith says. “I believe it is faith that can provide the light, as that is what led my way.”
Visit www.myfaith sparkles.com to learn more.
Sadly, last year Kentucky ranked first in the nation in overall cancer incidence and mortality rates. Even more disturbing is the high concentration of these occurrences in the Appalachian counties. A group of students enrolled in the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology Program (ACTION) through the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center hopes to change these statistics.
Essays written by ACTION students, all of whom have been touched by cancer, are featured in The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia: Kentucky Students Take Action, (Kentucky Publishing Services, $19.95). According to program director Nathan Vanderford, the students’ goal is to “change the way people think about cancer, specifically about how it affects Kentuckians.” They hope readers will be inspired to get that overdue screening, change risky habits, and ultimately, change a region.