Dr. Kimberly Allison diagnoses breast cancer for a living. But as a 33-year-old healthy new mother, she never expected to be looking at her own malignant cells under the microscope. Red Sunshine is a memoir about her sudden journey from physician to patient and her attempt to make the most of this terrifying and unexpected ordeal. An uplifting story of survival, Dr Allison shares all the intimate details of her emotional journey with both humor and honesty.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer I had a burning desire to know more. I surfed the internet, cruised the book stores and made phone calls looking for answers to my questions. As a pathologist who diagnoses and studies breast cancer, I already knew a lot about what tests I would get, what sorts of treatments were available, and what the survival statistics were. And there were plenty of nice references available on cancer and advice books on how to deal with it. But what I really wanted to know was what it would be like to go through cancer treatment. How would it really feel the first time I was hooked up to chemotherapy or lay still for radiation? What was it like to be wheeled into the operating room and how much pain would I be in when I woke up? How would I deal with continuing to raise my two young kids? How will I not hit bottom and what will it be like when I inevitably do? Not just will I survive, but how will I survive?
I wanted to hear from survivors. I wanted to know their stories and feel their experiences and look for hidden clues to what my future held. It was the story of a survivor, not all the medical statistics and research trials, which held the most value to me. Despite the MD behind my name, this book is not meant to offer medical advice or recommendations. It is only intended to share with you what it was like for me to go through this experience. Everyone’s experience with cancer is completely unique and there is no right or wrong way to go through it. But our stories connect us to a common core and can give us comfort that at least we are not alone in the experience.
Everyone has a story to tell.
This is mine.
Kimberly Allison, MD