A White Rock woman who has faced triple negative breast cancer recorded the experience in her memoir to show “how adversity can turn a person into a warrior with a new and grateful perspective.”
Anne Kristiansen describes them further Angel in the marble Book as “punchy” read that she hopes is “that friend on your bedside table who went through it” for others facing a similar struggle.
It was something she was missing on her own journey, she said Peace Arch News.
“I found the literature was either extremely medical – which was really sterile – or was kind of a bit fluffy,” she said.
With Angel in the marble, “You can read it from the perspective, ‘Hey, I’ve been there, I understand what you’re going through.'”
Kristiansen’s journey began almost five years ago with a diagnosis in late 2016 that catapulted her into a year of chaos.
“Pretty quickly, within a few weeks, I was operated on and had a mastectomy, then I started chemotherapy for six months – it was horrible – and then had to do another mastectomy as a precaution, and then everything went wrong with that,” she explained .
“So there were a total of five operations. It was just grueling … incredibly intense. “
Interestingly, Kristiansen in no way fits in with a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis. The less common but more aggressive form of the disease is typically diagnosed in women who are between 40 and early 50 and are either Hispanic or Black, she said.
Not only does the mother of three daughters have no family history of the disease, but she has “Caucasian, British, Irish, Scottish backgrounds and I was almost 60 when I got it”.
However, she has since learned from a 37-year-old friend of one of her daughters who has been through research into triple negative breast cancer.
Kristiansen said Angel in the marble grew from a blog she ran while navigating her battle. It gives the book a sense of immediacy, she said, “that guides you through the moment”.
“I like the kind of raw energy I brought with me,” she said. “I cursed a lot and it’s in the book. You don’t see that in breast cancer stories. Mine is a little angular, raw. “
The title she chose was not accidental and refers to the commentary by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo on his statue of David, which the Italian great carved out of a 6-meter-high marble slab.
“You really can’t rely on society to define your identity,” explained Kristiansen. “You cannot rely on your family. You have to choose that yourself.
“No matter what life throws at you, you have to create your own strength and identity and that gives you freedom. And this is where the term “the angel in the marble” comes from; where Michelangelo said he carved the angel in the marble until he released him.
“And that’s the whole thing – you’re carved and shaped and changed and everything, but that’s also a way of gaining freedom, being free who you are.”
Italy has long been close to her heart, she added. The Langara art history teacher spent 10 summers in Florence and traveled to Lake Como in northern Italy in 2018 on her way to recovery.
Kristiansen not only wants her book to be a guide for her daughters and others to navigate all the important things that life puts in their way, but also a call to “get mammograms done, ladies”.
“A mammogram saved my life,” she said.
Kristiansen is currently in Toronto preparing for an October 3 launch and book signing in that city, but will return to the Semiahmoo Peninsula for a similar invitational event on October 23, at Turnbull Gallery at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Center – subject unforeseen changes in COVID-19 restrictions – it will be limited to 40 people at a time, and plans to give two readings to accommodate as many people as possible.
For more information or to order Angel in marble, Visit www.angelinthemarble.ca
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