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WORD: Gail Konop Baker memoir ‘Cancer is a Bitch’ getting buzz
Edited Press Release

On Valentine's Day 2006, Gail Konop Baker found herself sitting topless in the oncologist's office. Married to a doctor and a health and fitness devotee, Konop Baker assumed she would know when her body rebelled against her. While her cancer turned out to be highly treatable, she wasn't prepared for what happened to her during and after the experience. Emotionally, she became a changed woman, and chronicles the ups and downs of this transformation in "Cancer is a Bitch: Or, I’d Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis," which Da Capo Lifelong Books launches on October 1.

Gail offers the reader a window on her most intimate thoughts and fears, and writes without shame about the self-pity she felt when first diagnosed, the anger she felt toward her husband, the despair that wracked her when she thought about her children without a mother. And then, she becomes determined to fight. She researches carcinogens, becomes an organic food evangelist, steps her running and yoga up a few notches in the hopes that extreme health will ward off the disease. Throughout, she wonders when her life -- after years as a wife and mother -- finally gets to be about her hopes, her dreams, her desires?

"As I sit on the examining table in the internist's office for my pre-op physical a day or two later, I think about Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, how it was praised for its lack of self-pity as I silently chant poor me poor me poor me," she writes.

"I am an armchair nutritionist, a person others consult for health and anti-aging tips, a lifelong subscriber to Prevention. I feel that `me' slipping away as I wonder how I could suffer a condition more serious than my chain-smoking nitrate-loving fruit-phobic nonexercising mother-in-law ever experience. Fuck you, Joan Didion. It wasn't you who keeled over before dinner."

There are more tests, talk of surgery, friends who die, and friends who have affairs for her. There is bickering and fighting and making up with her husband, her sex life comes and goes, and getting her first child off to college turns out to be an easier task than she thought. Konop Baker's kaleidoscopic view of a real life, lived through a real scare, will ring true to any woman who's ever been party to an uphill battle, and wasn't sure who would think she was crazy for her feelings and actions -- or worse.

Gail Konop Baker, who lives in Madison, Wisc., with her family, has begun a nationwide book tour in support of Cancer is a Bitch that includes the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. She also tells WORD'N'BASS.com that she's appearing on some TV programs including KGO-TV beginning today (Tuesday, Sept. 30).

Gail’s key book tour stops

September 30 at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, beginning at 7:30 pm.

October 1 at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista in Corte Madera, 1pm, and on the same day at San Francisco’s Books Inc, located at 221 Chestnut Street, at 7:30 pm.

October 5 she appears in New York City at Bluestockings Radical Bookstore, 172 Allen Street, at 7 pm.

October 7, at the KGB Bar Non-Fiction Reading Series, 85 E. 4th Street, at 7 pm.

On October 8 Gail returns to Wisconsin where she has several appearances planned. Check out her website for more book tour appearances and further information about her life and work. She’s also one of the authors making waves over at The Debutante Ball.

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