Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way. For Sandi Wisenberg, the experiences of cancer were extremely personal. Wisenberg, the celebrated author of the book “The Adventures of Cancer Bitch,” spoke to a large crowd at Creighton University. During her talk, she discussed her life as a writer, a teacher and a breast cancer survivor.
Wisenberg was invited to Creighton to be the first speaker in the Creighton Readings Series which is sponsored by the English Department along with the Creative Writing Center and the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I didn’t really have a message, I just wanted people to listen to me,” Wisenberg said. She said that writing down her feelings was something that just came naturally from being a writer.
Despite not having it as a distinct goal before setting out to write about her experiences, Wisenberg said that she “want people to connect the chemicals and pesticides used as causes of cancer,” which is a recurring theme throughout the book.
The book is as grim and sad as any account of cancer can be, but it also contains frequent occurrences of humor.
“It’s okay to laugh. Lots of people have the idea that since it’s cancer, it can’t be funny,” she said as the readings began.
According to Wisenberg, the humor is an important step in taking control of the issue. Wisenberg mentioned that one of the hardest parts of dealing with the cancer is keeping it from controlling your life. The most difficult parts of her fight against cancer was shaving her thinning hair, applying henna tattoos to her bare head and laughing about the challenges of the disease. This all helped give the power back to the patient. Her goal is to provide “humor even to those people who have the disease.”
Sandi Wisenberg chronicles her summits, her valleys, her funny moments and emotional moments as well. Throughout the journey she tries to remain true to herself and maintain her individual image while enduring breast cancer.
Wisenberg is a celebrated author and teacher who worked as a reporter for the Miami Herald. She has been published in The New Yorker magazine as well as other publications and anthologies. She is also the co-director of the Northwestern Master’s program in Creative Writing as well as teaching at the University of Chicago in the creative writing program.