Introduction

You might be wondering if this is a book about chickens, or more specifically, urban chickens. Or why wrangling them is the central theme. It’s not. But it’s a true story and a metaphor for life not turning out like you planned, or whatever, so stay with me. I was at work and my coworker noticed a chicken wandering around the parking lot near our downtown office. We peered down from the third story through the large windows of the industrial, brick building where I worked and spotted her. A group of us made our way down the steel steps out to the parking lot, armed with a cardboard box and our bare hands. I had backyard chickens before, and I had often wrangled them into their coop, which is no small feat. So I wasn’t sure if this wrangling would be the same. I suppose the urban chicken had previously been a backyard chicken until this very day, and I doubted that she acquired any street skills in her short foray into city life. Just then, she attempted to camouflage herself in a nearby bush. Touché, chicken. After several failed attempts to coax her out, I reached into the bush, got a hold of her, and triumphantly held her up! She went safely into the cardboard box and was returned home. That is the day I earned the title Urban Chicken Wrangler.

It was a surprising day, just like the one when I found out I had cancer, but with less feathers and squawking. Cancer Patient. That title was thrust upon me. All of the other titles I’ve held were attained agreeably: Mother, Wife, Ex-Wife, Daughter (not really much choice in that one), Sister (begrudgingly in my youth), Student, Volunteer, Musician… However, like most of these titles, I had to learn it as I went. I hate to call it a journey, because it sounds like sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows. It was a path with many obstacles on which I gained much self-discovery. So, a voyage? That makes me think of Coolio because I’m a child of the 90s. A trek? “A long, adruous journey, especially one made on foot.” I like it. And my dad was a Star Trek fan. So I present to you, my cancer trek. Here goes.

Maybe you’re reading this because you’re a cancer survivor. Maybe you’re reading this because you’re intrigued at my attempt to convey my experience with cancer in a humorous way. Maybe you’re reading this because you’re my arch nemesis from high school and you want to see how I stack up against what you’re doing in life. In any case, I hope this book brings you hope, education, and laughter, which is the best medicine, unless you have cancer, and then the best medicine is chemotherapy… Seriously, stop trying to get us to cure it with that weird plant growing in the Amazon rain forest. Thanks.