“Catastrophic illness is not just one person’s disease; it impacts everyone who cares about them.”
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda: A Mother’s Lessons, Learnings, And Insights From Her Daughter’s Battle With Cancer is Kenna P. Marriott‘s tribute to her cancer victim daughter, Jeannine, and to all those heroes who are facing the challenges of a life-threatening illness, whether as patients, relatives of a patient, or caregivers. It would have been Kenna’s dream and hope to co-author with her beloved daughter a survivor’s guide to coping with the disease. Unfortunately, after being diagnosed with breast cancer at age forty, Jeannine Mongelli’s story took a dramatic downturn.
There are currently 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States and although this particular kind of tumor remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women, the death rate has been declining since the early ’90s, probably as a result of a combination of factors. The reduced use of hormone therapies after menopause, an increased awareness among younger women, earlier detection, regular screenings, and better treatments may have saved an ever growing number of cancer patients below the age of fifty. Tragically, Jeannine was not one of them. She was only forty when she received the devastating news: after a mastectomy and a brief remission, the cancer metastasized into her back bone, spreading, over the course of three years, in various other bones and, ultimately, in her soft tissue. Her battle against the ruthless disease lasted seven and a half years, a fight she didn’t win despite her proactive optimism and several drug trials. The spreading of tumoral cells to her liver was for Jeannine a death sentence without appeal. She passed away in hospice care in 2008, leaving behind her husband, their two children, and the memory of her extreme suffering engraved in the hearts of all the people who gathered around her during this calvary.
Together with the irretrievable loss comes the inevitable denial and the necessary grieving, but while death is a life-altering and heartbreaking experience nobody will ever be prepared to face, a mother’s love is capable of a spiritual resiliency not even death can steal. Although letting go of the sorrow is understandably impossible for anybody who has been touched by this unforgiving disease as a parent, spouse, relative, or close friend of a cancer victim, in the years following Jeannine’s death Kenna was able to collect every most intimate and gut-wrenching memory of her daughter’s battle in a highly impactful biography. The value of Kenna’ s memoir is inestimable, not only for the emotional and cathartic relief the author experienced in the act of giving a written form to her baggage of memories, but also for the enlightening insights she so lucidly offers to the benefit of whomever is experiencing a life-threatening disease.
Through a compelling recount of all the milestones of Jenna’s battle for life, Kenna leads the readers, with honesty and clarity, through all the critical stages of her traumatic experience: from the emotional state and self esteem issues suffered by a cancer patient, to the search for the right oncologist, hospital, and treatments. Particularly delicate are the shifting dynamics among the family members who will more closely have to deal with the debilitating effect of the illness: trying to prepare children to the loss of one of their parents is absolutely necessary. Using denial to shield them from the truth will only deepen their trauma and deprive them of a sense of closure. While we can only hope for a miracle in the darkest of circumstances, we need to understand that the life we have shared with a loved one prior to his or her demise is a miracle in itself. We should treasure any moment and celebrate life with our loved ones whenever we can – regrets and second guessings are the cancer of the soul. Intoxicating and life consuming.
Kenna P. Marriott is president and owner of Linking To Success. With more than thirty-five years of business experience, she is a pioneer in the fields of self-managed teams and breakthrough thinking. Since Jeannine’s passing, Marriott has devoted herself to cancer patients and their families. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance On Mental Illness and the Dawn Center For Victims Of Domestic & Sexual Violence in Hernando County, Florida. To know more about her and her journey, please visit her website Living With Cancer.
Release Date: June 5, 2013
Author: Kenna P. Marriott