I wrote ‘Courage, Brave Amazon – One Woman’s Spiritual Journey through Breast Cancer’, purely and simply because I felt a compulsion to do so. My experience of having breast cancer and going through all the treatment, including having a mastectomy, inspired me to try to help others cope with having breast cancer by recounting my story.
The book is not, however, just a story. It is much more. It is a source of comfort, help and, hopefully, inspiration to anyone, whether they be a sufferer of this disease, the partner of someone who has been diagnosed, members of their family who wish to gain insight into how best to offer support, or even friends of the person affected by breast cancer. It is a book for anyone affected by, interested in or simply curious about breast cancer and wishing to know more about this devastating disease.
My book took me eighteen months to write and was published on October 1st 2002. This date was purposely selected to coincide with the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the UK. Since publication, it has done extremely well, as the reviews and 5 star rating on the online bookstore website Amazon.co.uk testify.
The book has been reviewed by medics and medical organisations, including Cancer Research UK. This review led to the book being added to the recommended reading list of CancerHelp UK.
- ISBN-10: 1903797179
Author: Christine Rayner
Publisher: Lucas Books
The image on the front cover was specially commissioned, drawn by a talented young lady whom I taught as a six year old in 1978. It represents my view of all women who have gone through the turbulent experience of having a mastectomy. Despite losing a breast, or even both, they remain essentially feminine, attractive, beautiful; still able to be sensual and seductive beings. More importantly they are warriors, and have come through their respective battles scarred, but triumphant.
The Amazon figure is standing confidently on a precipice of victory. The rising sun illuminates the scene, she is accompanied by her faithful wolfhounds who have been by her side throughout her ordeal, and she is framed by a pair of oaks. All these things are of relevance to my story and each has its own, special place within the pages of my book. As for the Amazon herself, she is a proud member of that legendary race of warrior women, reputed to have removed one of their breasts in order to be able to fight more effectively with their bows and arrows. Brave creatures indeed!
Inside on the ‘dedications’ page you will see a Celtic emblem beneath the text. To me, the Eternal Celtic Knot signifies permanence, endurance, and the continuity of the Cycle of Life. The added pink ribbon of remembrance speaks for itself. I was given kind permission to use this design by Pat Fish, a tattoo artist who works in Santa Barbara in the USA. I searched the internet for a suitable Celtic design to use on this page, and hit on Pat’s site purely by chance. There is a link to Pat’s website on my links page; from which you can view her remarkable and very beautiful tattoo designs. I am certain you will enjoy what you find there.
My book has been fully endorsed by the UK support organisation ‘Breast Cancer Care’. whose Head of Trustees wrote the Foreword. For every copy sold, this charity receives 50 pence from my publisher John Lucas, of Lucas Books. That’s £50 per hundred copies, and £500 per thousand. Breast Cancer Care offers fantastic support to people going through breast cancer, not only to the patient but to the partner and family also. During my treatment there were times when I needed advice, or questions answering, and I turned to Breast Cancer Care on several occasions. Their help was just brilliant, and I decided that when I had recovered from all my treatment I would do what I could to repay them for being there when I needed them. Therefore, my aim is to promote the sale of as many copies of ‘Courage, Brave Amazon’ as possible, in order that Breast Cancer Care may benefit and be able to continue their good work, helping people cope with breast cancer in the future just as they helped me.
I have dedicated my book, first and foremost, to my dear husband Pete, without whose devoted love and care I would have found things much more difficult to cope with. Secondly, to ‘My Amazon Sisters the World over, each one so brave a warrior.’
If you are one of these, my courageous sister, I salute you. And if you are someone who has read my book, or intends to read it, I thank you, knowing that my words may inspire you to help spread the message that to have breast cancer, and especially to have a mastectomy, does not mean the end of femininity, beauty or sexual attractiveness.
This book is my gift of hope to all who read it, whoever and wherever they may be.
From back cover (by John Lucas, Publisher):
“Chrissie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 48, and she describes her life from the discovery of her breast lump in 2000 up to the present day. She reflects on the anxiety, fears, her love and her joy throughout the last two years, talking openly and frankly about her attitude towards her mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Her illness has given Chrissie tremendous strength and determination, not only to combat her own problems but also to help others in a similar situation. A full and candid account of her fight against Breast Cancer, the book also contains both humour and poignancy.
This informative volume is essential reading for women of all ages, diagnosed or just concerned. It also offers inspiration for husbands, partners, relatives, and friends. It is not just an insight into the mixed emotions experienced by one brave person; it is much more – a story of true love.”
This book has been reviewed by Cancer Research UK and is now included on their website’s list of recommended reading for Breast Cancer. Medical Practitioners have acquired copies for use as resource material, and for women who find it difficult to cope with their own diagnosis.
“This is warm, caring work designed to help any woman who has faced, or faces, the trauma of Breast Cancer. It is not stuffed with long medical terms; those, which exist, are explained carefully so it is eminently readable with no possibility of misunderstanding. Highly recommended.” – Book Publicity (UK) Ltd
Christine Rayner is a rare spirit, endowed with the gift of acute perception. This is a book for anyone who faces a medical crisis. Now that I have read it, I am proud to have been part of it.” – Pat Fish, tattoo artist from Santa Barbara USA (one of Pat’s Breast Cancer designs is used on the ‘dedications’ page)
“Christine writes with such insight into peoples’ emotions. She and her book are an inspiration for anyone who has come into contact with cancer, and should be available as part of the recovery programme! She has the ability to bring emotions into the open, so the reader can relate to them and be comforted by her supportive words.” – Caroline (former breast cancer sufferer)
“A book to be understood on many levels. I would recommend it as a core reading book for any nurse committed to holistic care.” – Jennifer Jagger (Student Nurse)
“From the second I opened the front cover of this book, I found it very difficult to put it down till I had finished it! I would recommend it to all women everywhere.” – Tracy Riseborough
“This book is clearly written by someone with such a deep wealth of feeling. Not only about her illness, the book is also about the way Christine looks at life – with such an open heart and enjoying all of life’s little pleasures that most people seem to take for granted. The book is an inspiration.” – Susan Riseborough
“It (the book) clearly demonstrates the physical, psychological, philosophical and spiritual aspects in an easily readable and understandable way. It identifies the positive and negative aspects of diagnosis and all aspects of treatment. This book would be suitable for people embarking upon this journey, their partners, nursing staff of all levels who care for those with breast cancer, medical staff and those working as support staff.” – Julie Southwell (retired nursing sister and university lecturer in Nursing Care and Health Issues)