The history of One Mutant Cell. . .

A message from the playwright

This monologue, like cancer, has a life of its own. Since the publication of my book, The Breast Cancer Companion, in 1993, I have spoken across the country and in Canada about surviving cancer. The focus of that talk, Life After Breast Cancer: A New Way of Living, has always focused on the reality that cancer is a dual experience, medical and emotional. In my talk I would call for recognition by our physicians that healing only comes from an integrative approach to cancer, recognizing that our bodies are only one aspect of our selves.

I am glad to say that in the past 10 years, we have seen many strides in the addition of complementary approaches to healing that address the soul and spirit of the person with cancer -- and his or her family and friends.

As I became more comfortable speaking, I began adding a little humor to my talk, often to balance the many difficult emotions in the room. These "asides" were the stories of the experience, and they were usually presented with the irony, humor or sarcasm that the situation addressed.

The first time an audience laughed at one of the asides, I recognized a truth for those of us who have "done" cancer: While our cancers and treatments may be different, we have many universal experiences, and by connecting with each other about these moments comes understanding and affirmation.

My audiences loved these moments, and I liked the balance it provided to have them laughing between the serious stuff. It made it easier to get the point across, and, let's face it, laughter, like tears, is an experience that research has shown has healing qualities all its own.

In writing One Mutant Cell I distilled these stories from my speaking dates and integrated them into the story of my cancer journey. I have been told by those who have heard it that it helped them reframe some issues for their own lives -- a writer's highest praise.

-- Kathy LaTour