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The Sundance Book is NOW Finished! – “Let’s Talk About This…”

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Well, the book is now finished - I’ve got a full manuscript in my hands now, ready for submission.

Can you believe it?

You can imagine my thoughts as I’ve crammed 7.5 years of my cancer journey and relived it ‘in detail’ for the writing of this book in less than 5-months, right? I have been living cancer 24/7 these past few months and it’s been a very emotional experience.

It took 4.3 months from the outlines in my head to a finished product. I know we say that cancer is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. But, I did a 180 on that phrase this time and decided to make it a sprint, because I don’t really know how long my health window will stay open and the time was now for this project.

So, I’ve had my head down – my thoughts buzzing – and my fingers doing the “clickedy-clack” on the keyboard these past months since coming out of treatment.

I got clear for the 3rd time, but instead of celebrating, I redirected my energies back into cancer fully, so that I could get this book written, while my creative drive was in full gear.

And I think that’s what you’re going to see written into these pages. You’re going to see an authenticity and a level of realness that can only come when one ‘relives’ the entire cancer experience, so that all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions can be articulated to the reader in a way that speaks to them.

That’s what I tried to do with this book and I hope that this is what will come across to you as you turn the pages:)

The book clocked in at 17-chapters. I’ve covered a wide gamut of topics from the moment of the cancer diagnosis all the way through to the end of life scenario, with everything else in between. It really was a journey inside the world of cancer.

I don’t want to give it all away, but here are some of the topics discussed:

1. The diagnosis.
2. Caregivers
3. Assembling a medical team.
4. Support groups.
5. Recurrence
6. Financial concerns
7. The role of chemo in our fights

Etc. etc…….

I talk about all the players involved in this Shakespearean tragedy: Loneliness – Hopelessness – Depression – Awareness – Enlightenment – Empowerment – Personal Growth. Etc. etc.

For those of you that have come to know me, you know that when I talk about a subject, I “talk TO you”, rather than “talk AT you.”

I did the same thing in the book. I tried to start writing it a different way, but found that writing in a more conversational style just seemed to suit who I was and how I wanted to come across in this book.

So, in there, you will see ‘Me’ asking questions as I explore the subject matter. And you will also see “questions, posed from the reader” and my responses back from that. There is a nice give and take from that and it seems to flow rather nicely. It comes across as a fireside chat of sorts between friends.

What I tried to do, was write about a cancer topic in general and then mix in my own personal story, as an example and a personal illustration of what I was trying to say. I found that as I continued to write, I could no longer write my story – without writing your story.

During my time here, I have gotten to know so many of you and your stories (past & present) and I found that that many of the stories were relevant to the topic being discussed. Therefore, I was able to write these folks and their stories into the book, for additional validation as” Real Life People – in a Real World Application.”

All names were changed to protect the privacy of my friends.

I wanted you to know that the folks that are in the book came about from the topic being discussed and the stories on the board that I’ve learned, that I thought fit the subject matter. So, please don’t get your feelings hurt if you don’t see your name in there, because you are ALL in there.

Anytime that I mention ‘cancer board’, ‘cancer forum’ ‘CSN’, ‘The Semi; Colons’ or anything along those lines, then it’s YOU that I’m referring to. So, we all made it in the book as a collective unit.

Here are some of the names in the book that I can recall for this post…

1. The “Angel”
2. Phil as “Mr. P.”
3. Canada Rob as “C.R.”
4. Buzzard as “Mr. B.”
5. John Nimmons as “Sarge.”
6. Emily (2bHealed) as “Em.”
7 Lisa P. (Scouty) as “LP.”
8. Jennie as “Adel.” (she’s idol – adel, get it?)
9. Eric38 as “Mr. E.”
10 Donna as “Chicky.”
11.Hatsepshut as “Mrs. H.”

I could not imagine this book without your stories in here. I’m not even sure if I could have written this book the way that I wanted to, without your stories in there. Being able to include all of you is the highest compliment that I have to give to any of you, who have meant so much to me.

Sundance NEVER forgets his friends:)

I want you to think about this for a moment. If the book get published and makes it to print, then WE become part of the history of the CSN board, you know what I mean?

The board is 10-years old and we’ve got the opportunity to write our own CHAPTER of this illustrious heritage that we can pass on to future generations of cancer fighters. It could be a moment that we would be able to look back on fondly and reminisce about being a part of the greater whole, with this project.

Our contribution to this site and its history could be written right now.

That’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?

“What’s next, Craig?”

‘The Unknown’ is what’s next for me. I embark down a new trail towards an unknown land with a very unfamiliar landscape. I’ve got no landmarks to guide me now – no sign posts to help show me the way.

Writing the book was not an easy assignment, but I accomplished a life-long dream by just being able to write a book that has potential. I set the bar pretty high for myself with this project. I’ve set myself up for the biggest letdown of my life. And not only that, I will have deserved it, should I fail.

“Did I make a pretty good omlette – or did I merely break a few eggs?”

“Do I really think that I’ve got a chance at getting Mr. or Mrs. Somebody to take a ‘chance’ on me – Mr. Nobody?”

“Will this book be anything other than another item on a long list of failures that have come to define my life?”

I don’t know the answers to any of this yet. All I really know is that I tried very hard and poured everything that I had into these writings. I got my shot – and I took it.

Now, it’s out of my hands and up to someone in authority to either ‘accept or deny’ my manuscript. It would be the biggest crush and defeat of my life – but I begged for it, so I’ll accept whichever way that it goes. But, it would hurt and hurt bad if I miss with this one.

This was the one that I waited for my whole life. And at least, I’m satisfied that I made the sincere effort and delivered on my promise to you to get it written. I can hold my head proudly in knowing that I gave everything that I had to give – just like I do when I’m fighting cancer.

Should I fail, I’m not afraid, because I really tried – you’re only a loser if you don’t try.

It was Patteee here who told me 2 things that I’ll always remember her saying to me:

1. You’ve got a ‘cut through the crap’ gentleness that is warm and inviting.
2. You’re not afraid to put yourself ‘out there.’

And I’ve never backed down from a challenge or been afraid to use my life as a personal illustration at what it is to be a human with cancer.

I’ve been proud to use myself as an example – from cancer itself – to 1st time da Vinci surgeries – to web, magazine, newspaper and TV news stories, I’ve always stepped up and done my best to represent our cancer and bring awareness anywhere I’ve been provided the opportunity.

All of you know that when I involve myself in one of my projects, that I go ‘all in’ to deliver it. This project is no different, but it carries a little more – it’s got all of my hopes and dreams in there – as well, as any of yours too.

So, less than 24-hours after completing the book, instead of celebrating, I’ve redirected my energies in researching on how to get this book published now. In the process of this research, I found a way to contact Sharon Osbourne.

I wrote her a letter that explained what I was trying to do and I asked for her help. I offered to send her a sample chapter to see if she liked it.

It was a bold move and a long-shot, of course. But, the way that I figure it, Sharon is a real person, who believes firmly in our cause and I thought that I might be able to reach her. I thought it would not hurt to at least ask. Nothing ventured – nothing gained.

I hope that the message will at least reach her and that she will contact me back through her staff and let me know. Who knows? . I expect to be declined, but the point is that I stepped up and took a swing. I’m doing what I know to do – and that’s hustle.

I wasn’t done there though. I researched and found a publishing house that looked pretty good and was looking for unknown authors, like myself. They said you could submit an entire manuscript or a sample chapter.

So, I sent them Chapter I – “The Diagnosis” for review. They tell me they will respond back in a few weeks with an answer. It’s another long-shot, because they only accept 4% of all manuscripts sent in for publication. The odds are stacked heavily against me, as usual. What else is new?

Who’s scared of insurmountable odds? Certainly not me, I was only given a 7% chance at surviving stage IV cancer for 5-years too. And in 13-months, I will have beaten those odds too. I just love it when they say “it can’t be done.”

I also found a publishing attorney that looks pretty good, and I’m mulling that over right now. I thought maybe I could talk to him real quick by email (he’s in NY) and maybe I could afford a phone consultation or something along those lines. I’m still researching this and don’t have enough detail, other than to say, I did find someone.

So, as usual, Sundance never rests – he attacks all the time – I’m busy getting after it, in a big way, which is what I’ve become known for.

I expect to fall on my face many times. I think I’ll get my a$$ handed back to me in a paper sack – to Go.

But, you know this ol’ Texan is a stubborn SOB, especially when I believe in something as strongly as I do this. I’m having to cold-call until something better comes along – and maybe it will.

“We didn’t come this far to be turned away, did we guys?”

All we need is for someone to take a “Chance” on a guy like me – just one time in my life, you know? I won’t let them or any of you down. I think we’ve got something here, unless you’ve just been lying to me this whole time – you wouldn’t do that to me, would you?

“You all know what a sensitive $hit, I am, right?”

Sensitive on one side – hard as a rock on the other – but with the temperament of a lion. I think that Chicky did have it right, after all – right, Beth?

And so we’re already under way trying to make this happen, as you’ve seen above. I’ve got to continue to take the fight to cancer – just in a different way – and while I still have some time on my side.

I have put everything that I know into the book. My story is there and I was actually able to talk about my life story in there too, as it related to the chapters, so it is also a mini-biography on my life and my cancer life, as well as the story of cancer itself.

Your stories are there and a lot of celebrities stopped by in there as well. Sharon Osbourne – Dandy Don Meredith – Monty Hall – Merle Haggard – Simon and Garfunkel – Lynn Anderson – John Lennon and Paul McCartney – R.E.M. – Pink Floyd – The Moody Blues – just to name a few.....

I’ve also included many “pop-culture” references and of course, all of my one-liners are on display there – and of course, story after story after story.

It’s the proudest work I’ve ever done in my life. I feel so empowered by being able to actually finish it.

Thank you all for staying with me and being a part of my life. I’m so glad to be able to include you and share with you, this chapter of my on-going saga with cancer, through this book, as my journey winds around the next curve in the road.

Anybody that still wants to join up for this latest adventure, just hop on-board, we’ve got plenty of room for you:)

As I close out this post, I’m reminded of the folks I started out with on this site. I talk a lot about personal growth as it relates to cancer.

And it dawned on me that the folks like Tootsie1, Annabelle, Beth, Phil, Buzzard, Lizzy, Robinvan, Lisa42, and many others, who have known me the longest have witnessed personal growth in me, since I first came to the site. It must have been something to see, as I’ve always been entranced watching the growth of others here.

They believed in me so strongly and encouraged me to write this book. I know they can certainly appreciate a post like this one today. They probably still see things in me that I still cannot see in myself. I just want to thank you guys for your years of friendship and support.

And I want to thank all of the new folks as well, who have supported me and this project. Now, we're all waiting.....so in the meantime....

“Does anybody want to read the 1st chapter?”

Okay, I’ll include the first chapter as a ‘sneak peek’ to the book and will place it in the next post below – my gift to you for all that you have been to me:)

Enjoy!

Stay Tuned to the Sundance Channel
“Story Matters Here”

-Craig

P.S. Dearest Chicky, if you can hear me – Your Lion has ROARED!

CanadaSue's picture
CanadaSue
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2006

double post

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

wow so exciting, I may not post much, but I still look for updates and think of everyone. I knew you could do it. I can't wait to get it.. You are amazing.... Petrina

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

There always comes a time to "pay for the soup."

So, in the closing chapter, I take the time to talk about the message of early detection and regular screenings with regards to getting colonoscopies, especially if certain symptoms occur.

I describe the process involved and how it's not as big a deal as folks have made it in their minds. That getting through the prep can be the worst part and then for the most part, it's all over.

I also advocated for other type of cancer patients to get the screenings they need for their particular cancers as well.

The message sounds inviting and welcoming...I hope folks will get the chance to see it.

-Craig

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

This book was not only about the cancer journey, but also about me searching for answers to the tough cancer questions that I might not post about here on the board, because I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings or step on their hopes.

As I approach the 7.5 year mark of my own journey, I have many more questions than I have answers.

To that end, I decided to write a chapter that I wanted to talk about here on the board, but just could not pull the trigger to do so. The book allowed me the freedom to pursue my own quest in trying to find out the answer of Why?

“The Cure?” chapter was the end result. You will notice the question mark at the end of the word - cure. I’ve heard so many desperate cries on this board of “the cure is right around the corner” or “when will the cure be here?”

The pain and agony in those voices have haunted me as time has gone by. It has had me thinking more than once about this topic and so I finally figured I had my opportunity to explore this topic and try and seek answers.

Although, all I really found was that I had even more questions than answers – and said so in the chapter.

In the chapter, I raise some good points on why I feel that ‘The Cure’ is not going to come for us – at least, not in the way that we are expecting it too. I believe the future for cancer treatment lies in targeted therapies and improved surgical techniques..

When we think ‘cure’, we are thinking the “blanket effect.” Meaning, that the cure will cure all – all of a certain cancer – and all for ALL cancers.

The term ‘cure’ carries with it the connotation that one size will fit all. But, how can that be? I’m not even talking the financial implications for the cure – I’m just talking about the scientific approach to the cure.

Without giving it all away, I will say that if for no other reason than the same phrase that we bandy around here all day & night – “We All React Differently.”

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I think I raise some other good points along with this one, on why we will be waiting a long time.

But, if we stumble onto a good therapy that can help some of us in each cancer category, then that would be a good thing that could come of out of the research and testing and why we must continue to try.

Enough about that.

I actually did some research for this chapter, because the other thing that has been bothering me was how it is decided WHICH CANCERS get the majority of the federal booty each year?

Why is one cancer allocated more money than another one? And why is that decision made?

The answer I found made me mad.

Let me preface the next paragraphs with this caveat.

I am for all people with any kind of cancer. I don’t discriminate – if you or your loved one has got any kind of cancer, I’m for you. Plain and simple – end of story.

In no way, is this intended to hurt you or anyone that you know that has any type of cancer. My question was just to know Why?

I found some statistics from the federal government (For 2010), so this is very recent data. It was the source of spending data from the NCI Office of Budget and Finance.

And what I discovered was, there is a huge disparity between the money that is allocated between all of the cancers. And as I said, I was a little upset about it – and I’ll tell you why.

For 2010, the breast cancer group received 631.2 million dollars in federally allocated money – which does not count the private contributions.

For 2010, the colorectal cancer group received 270.4 million dollars in federally allocated money – which does not count the private contributions.

Now, I may be from the old-school, but back when they taught mathematics, if I can still remember how to add and subtract, I see that the difference between the two, amounts to the astronomical sum of 361 million EXTRA allocated in favor of breast cancer.

That’s about 60% more funding for breast cancer versus colorectal cancer – Why?

Lung cancer, which is the #1 killer in the U.S. and the world, received 281.9 million.

However, you slice it up, that’s way over double the amount. And these are just what the federal govt and its associated agencies have designated for distribution.

So, I’m back to my question of Why?

The ‘Why’ that I’m looking for is why is the #1 cancer (Lung) and the #2 cancer (Colorectal) is so disproportionately funded than the #3 cancer (Breast)?

Why?

Breast cancer is comparable to Colorectal cancer in the number of diagnosis and the number of mortalities. Some men do get breast cancer, but the percentage is very low.

However, Colorectal cancer affects an equal number of men and women in both the number of cases diagnosed and the mortality rate. It is an equal-opportunity destroyer and is why it ranks as the # 2 killer cancer in the U.S. and the world – behind only lung cancer.

So, why is Colorectal cancer receiving 361 million LESS for our cause?

Why?

I just want to know Why – and What I can do to find a way to get a more even dispersement and awareness for our team.

If we’re talking about the #1 or #2 cancers in the U.S. and the world, the budget for breast cancer #3 should not be double that of the #1 and #2 killing cancers in the U.S. and the world.

Am I missing something?

Now, we all know that colorectal cancer is “not sexy” for all of the obvious reasons. But, why is our cancer out of the limelight and breast cancer is always in the spotlight?

I don’t see any professional sport teams sporting “blue” accessories for 1 game, much less a whole month of games in the National Football League. And not just 1 sports team, but all 32 of them. Instead, they are adorned in pink.

And Major League Baseball was also sporting the pink colors during the playoffs and World Series.

I don’t see any national races for the “blue team”, like we see for the pink squad.

I don’t see any corporate sponsorship lined up behind us promoting awareness for the #2 killing cancer in the world.

Why?

In the chapter, I credit the “Pink Army” for their cause, because they’ve got their act wired tight over there. They are a marketing machine over there. They have the largest federal allocation by a landslide and a half. They lead the way with private funding as well.

They’ve got the Susan G. Kohmen race every year in cities all over the U.S. I believe I saw where there were 262 national races for breast cancer awareness for 2011.

They’ve got the National Football League wearing pink accessories for 4-games every October to bring awareness to their cause. And they are backed by the heaviest corporate sponsorship hitters in the country.

I’m good with all of that. Again, I’m not speaking against ANY cancer, that’s not my point. I just want to know why the #3 cancer is so disproportionately funded than our cancer, which weighs in as the #2 cancer?

Why?

And what can I do about it?

How can I help us get our name out in the national spotlight and bring awareness to colorectal cancer, so that we can receive an equal amount of funding from the govt. each year, for a cancer that equally affects both men and women alike?

What can we do as a collective group to bring about a change in perception of our disease and help promote awareness on more of a national stage?

What and How?

I think this is one of my favorite chapters, because I got to wear a different hat with this writing. It actually sounds sort of intelligent – almost like I didn’t write it, LOL!

I don’t have answers in this chapter, but I do raise several interesting points on the ‘cure’ in general and the other issue I was pursuing on govt allocation of research funds for the various cancers.

You can hate me now, rather than later, but part of this book was the ‘journey of cancer’ and I’ve got a lot of questions and concerns as I approach the midpoint of my 7th year of this stuff.

In the chapter, I offered to help Sharon Osborne’s organization or any other organization where I can bring our cancer out of the shadows – and into light.

I’m hoping that the book will get us a platform where I can use my southern charm to bring this fight to national attention if I can get in a position to be face-to-face with someone who can help our cause.

I’m feeling a transformation taking place inside me as I want to devote the rest of my days to fighting our cancer and giving it the sort of recognition it deserves.

I got to play the role of investigator reporter in this chapter and it was rewarding and comes across in a good way – because that’s the way I meant it. I’m only trying to stand up for all of us here.

I know colon and rectal cancer is not sexy, but I didn’t design us. It’s merely a part of who we are and I can’t change that fact.

A lot of times, I have hesitated to write on the tough themes of cancer. But, I’ve found that by doing so, I drag the hard topic out of the shadows – and into the light, so that we can see it clearly and be less apprehensive about what we are looking at.

Many people have told me in the past that they were glad that I took a stand and had the initiative to stand up and talk about it. All of you that know me, know that I’m not afraid to draw the hard line and take a stand.

…and I never will be.

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

sent a shiver through my body and really hit home. It left me wanting to read more, more, more! It has been 6 months since my husband's dx and our journey is just getting started. Thank you for leading the way down the road!

eightpawz
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi, I actually work for one of the biggest book distributors in the world. If you're thinking of self-publishing you may want to consider someone like SmashWords or BookBaby. They do take a piece of the pie, but they will push your books to all the big players -- Amazon, B&N, etc. Just some food for thought.

-Dawn

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you for your reply, Dawn. I will definitely take a look at these and study on them. I'm at the "overwhelming" stage right now. The mountain looks almost too high for me to climb, there is just so much to understand.

From what I can see there is some sort of associated cost no matter which road you take, which is not really surprising.

I will look at the sites you suggested and see if they are easier to understand than some of the others. I appreciate you taking the time to give me some info. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I just have much to understand about how the processess work.

Thank you again for these leads. I'm sure I will learn something:)

-Craig

cwork's picture
cwork
Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2010

Craig, just want you to know I am very interested in your book and will definitely buy it if it gets published. I was just this week looking for books to help me be a more supportive and informed loved one to my sister with CC. I wish you the best of luck and God's blessing on your body of work. Thank you for putting your body and soul into this project. Keep us posted!

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 1292
Joined: Oct 2010

misoriented. Rather than bark at the inequities of "glamor" funding, I rather look at the actual needs and prospective treatments. Do we really need another $20-50,000 per month drug?

Not as much as we need some of $4 per month drugs that we all ready have, like cimetidine, perhaps dipyridamole. Or UFT and leucovorin, that should be a $25 per month drug combo instead of $xxxx for 5FU-LV or Xeloda. We need routine tests like serum CA19-9 and vitamin D at diagnosis, $30 - $80 please (that's what I paid, could be $2-10 tests en masse). At surgery, we need CA19-9, COX2 and E-selectin tissue stains for a small percentage extra cost. These would dramatically change live lengths for small costs.

Our system appears too corrupt to use the cheaper, better answers that we already have and usually opposes them viscerally.

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Well done young man....How would a $250 gift for a signed copy to give to my children as a keepsake after I pass and maybe help defer a little of the cost to getting it published ( and I know it will be) from a friend to a friend...the book will make it, its on my prayer list to become a reality....Love ya buddy.........buzz

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hey buddy

I'm glad you finally got a chance to read this post...I had sure wanted you to know about it:)

I'm working so hard to get this done...Big Billy is going to come on here and fill everyone in on the latest with this odyssey...I've been a newbie in the strange world of publishing...but I'm getting 'edumacated' and taking my shots:)

As always, learning the hard way - getting knocked around - but standing back up and trying to "land a haymaker."

That's a very generous offer, buddy, but you know I can't take from my friends. The fact that you offered though has really touched me in some deep places. I will never forget your words to me, "Dammit, Craig, write the book...!"

Your support and that of so many others here finally convinced me to get it together and strike while the iron was hot...I've been burnin' up ever since....

I very much appreciate your confidence in me...and if you're feeling up to it, look for the Big Billy post next week...I'm going to let him spill the beans on where we're at and what's been going on...

I know you are struggling right now...I understand...wish I could have met you in Chi, but sometimes "Life Gets in the Way..."

BTW: Thanks for a very touching post...having gotten to know each other over nearly the past 3 years, you are one of the folks who can really appreciate what is happening as you've had a front row seat and watched all of this come out of nowhere...please keep praying...and if it pops..."Consider It Signed."

Love ya' too, bud!

-The Lion

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

Its an achievement to be proud of, surviving, the book itself.
your gift with words always brings peace and enlightenment.

hugs,
Pete

Ps I will read more carefully when i am not running between the onc, the surgeon, the integrative gps and the kids.

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

"your gift with words always brings peace and enlightenment. ~Pete

I am honored that you feel this way...truly I am.

-Craig

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