Ask the Author: May I See Your Credentials?

Here is my imagined introduction to an upcoming talk about Active Against Cancer.

“Hi. My name is Nancy Brennan and I’m the author of ‘Active Against Cancer‘.

I’m a cancer survivor and an athletic person who researched the subject of exercise and cancer recovery to help other cancer survivors know why to exercise and how to be effective. I have no special degrees or credentials in the field of physical therapy, sports medicine or oncology rehab.”

“So why did I feel that I had the right to write this book?”

“Because exercise has great medical value to cancer patients and I wanted them to know what the experts have been saying, recently, loud and clear, about its value.”

“Because I’ve been a successful, fit recreational athlete for almost 50 years. I’ve learned a few tricks about workouts, motivation, habits, beliefs, and nitty gritty physiology of exercise. I also vetted the book with an MD/oncologist and a physical therapist/world-class athlete so that I could be sure that I had my facts straight.”

While I know everyone’s experience won’t be identical to mine with my cancer ordeal, I do have a cancer survivor’s perspective on what it’s like to exercise during treatment. I know what it’s like to want to go for a walk for your health on the day after your chemo infusion. I know about the stress of cancer treatment and how exercise can be an ally, if only you don’t push yourself too hard.”

I’m also a good writer who did good research; a writer who was a medical copyeditor; a writer who was a biology major and whose father was a physician. Writing my book, my biggest fear was of overstepping and writing anything false or dangerous to anyone. I made sure that I was quoting expert sources and not playing at being a doctor.

And, in the end, I wrote my book because I care. I couldn’t find a deeply encouraging book out there and I thought that there should be one.

Exercise has genuine medical value to cancer patients, but ultimately, exercise is natural, normal and something that we can each trust our bodies to do, within common sense bounds, even if we are cancer patients.”