by Miriam Knight March 05, 2015
The subtitle to Brenda Michaels’s book is “A Miraculous Journey to Healing,” and while some may identify more with the journey Michaels takes than the so-called miracles she describes, it’s clear that Michaels’s story is an important and urgent one. Diagnosed with cancer three times, each one progressively more emotionally, spiritually and physically devastating, the journey Michaels refers to in the title takes her through alcohol abuse and detrimental relationships with her father and first husband to clueless doctors, ineffectual cancer treatments and a series of self-defeating life choices that ultimately lead her to a more enlightened understanding of her illness. Her story really gets interesting after her third diagnosis, when the weight of everything that had come before finally leads her to a literal do-or-die commitment to a much more balanced, holistic approach to her life, health and spirit.
This is in essence the heart of the ‘miraculous’ part of Michaels’s journey. Her writing style is straightforward and no-nonsense, with a mostly linear account of her journey. She vividly connects the many years of self-destructive behavior and submission to the trial-and-error approach of conventional Western medicine to her eventual wider understanding of and appreciation for the cancer that so impacted her life.
The Gift of Cancer may not be an easy book to read for those currently dealing with cancer themselves or know someone who is. But the questions Michaels dares to ask in it are crucial to true healing, questions that conventional medicine rarely address.