Death And The Elephant:
How Cancer Saved My Life
by Raz Shaw
It is Monday June 12th 1995. I am a lost, directionless gambling addict. It is my 28th birthday.
Tomorrow I will be diagnosed with Stage 4 Sclerosing Mediastinal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the large cell type.
Cut to :
Wednesday April 10th 1996. I am sent back into the world. Cancer free. Gambling free. The journey towards the rest of my life has begun
Cut to :
July 2015. I am a 48 year old theatre director with a desire to share how the cancer experience shaped everything I did, felt and thought over the last 20 years
Death And The Elephant is a non-fiction ‘then and now’ look at my experiences living through and beyond a life-threatening illness.
Death And The Elephant is part memoir, part manual, part manifesto. A Candid Cancer Companion and Compendium. Lots of C’s. Especially the big one. C that is.
I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with cancer. I am 48 now.
Some of this book is from the point of view of 28 year old me, some the 48 year old me. Both have big egos. Sometimes when 28 is talking, 48 feels the desire to butt in, and vice versa. The truth is, of course, that 28 didn’t absolutely know whether 48 would exist for him in twenty years’ time. He hoped that he might. As a 28 year old young man going through a life threatening illness, I took comfort from the thought of what I might become if I made it through the madness.
In my own way, I spent nine months conversing with that future. That future is the basis of Death And The Elephant.
Death And The Elephant is a wilfully head-on explosion of the notion that cancer equals instant misery.
It is a story about unexpected discoveries of joy and laughter amidst the insanity, the darkness and the pain of cancer treatment.
Cancer scraped me out, shook me around and filled me up.
Cancer gave me my life back.
My book endeavours to share that unique journey with you.