Preface

Dear reader,

This cheeky limerick captures, in a nutshell, my rationale for writing this book:

There once was a university prof in Saskatchewan 

Who needed to learn that — all along —

It was important to share her own journey

With others (without sounding corny)

And do it before she herself was gone.

Alternatively, you could describe it as an educational, entertaining, and highly personal memoir that provides an insightful snapshot of the occasionally bumpy yet spiritually transformative cancer journey which a middle-aged, immigrant, and non-partnered academic living in a sunny Canadian prairie province undertook during a global pandemic.

If you were able to understand this admittedly complex sentence the first time, “Dr. Barb” (which is what I call my inner scholar) will be impressed.

If you did not, don’t worry; this book is not meant to turn your brain into a pretzel. On the contrary, I tried my best to keep my target audiences in mind throughout the writing process.

If you are currently (that is, during or after a pandemic) or have ever been on the cancer continuum as a patient, caregiver, family member, or friend, this story is for you.

If you are or strive to be a health professional (oncologist, GP, nurse, social worker, pharmacist, physio- or exercise therapist, etc.), this story is for you, too.

If you are an administrator, instructor, teaching assistant, or student at a post-secondary institution, then this story should resonate with you on a variety of levels as well. Why?

Because it not only touches upon topics of interest in health science classes, but also qualifies as a piece of literature that could be examined in English courses focusing on, for instance, memoir writing, creative non-fiction, and narratives of illness. Certain parts of my story are meant to draw in readers from other disciplines, including Women’s and Gender Studies, Spirituality Studies, Religious Studies, and the Fine Arts. Heads up: “Dr. Barb” has included a list of “Leading Reading Questions” in an Appendix to help you get the most out of your reading experience (and lighten the load of fellow university professors). Enjoy!

If none of these categories are a good fit for you — perhaps, you are an author yourself or a reader who likes to give writers from the Canadian prairies a chance — I hope that my recollections and reflections will manage to touch you, nonetheless.

If nothing else, thanks to the Open Educational Resources program of the University of Regina, you did not have to spend any money on purchasing this book.

I would, therefore, be grateful if you helped me raise funds for cancer research. It will help ensure that more patients, including women, can receive the care they need before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis changes their lives forever.

To find out more about how to give to the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan, visit their website.

Alternatively, you could support a charity of your own choice. Thank you!

Barbara Reul (she/her)

December 2021