Yesterday, on Instagram, I teased a promo for Broken Sword Publication’s next title,¡Fuck Cancer! by author, Robert Flores. This book has been in the works for sometime and I have to apologize for its tardiness but creating books is never an easy endeavor. OK, OK, excuses aside, things are finally coming together for this book and I’m excited about it!
One thing that I try and do with this publishing company is create books that would otherwise never see print. I enjoy making books that the mainstream either scoffs at or completely ignores. That means taking a risk and this book will definitely do that.
¡Fuck Cancer! details the journey Robert went on when Cancer decided to knock on his door one day and challenge him to a fight. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Robert “The Butcher” Flores said, “Bring it on!”
You might remember Robert (a proud Santa Ana, CA native) from his killer poem in Lowriting, “Take A Little Trip With Me,” which continues to blow people away every time he reads it.
When Robert was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer a couple of years ago he sought a mentor and found no one. There was nowhere to turn and no one to ask questions of or hear about what it was like to go through something like this, so he took matters into his own hands and began to blog about his experience.
As some of you know already, I worked in the medical field for several years as an EMT and trained as a firefighter. I know all too well what cancer looks like and it scares the shit out of me. It scares the shit out of everyone. The “Big C” is such a badass that when you hear the word you tend to think of two things: life and death. But everyone gets quiet. Want to quiet a room up in a hurry? Talk about cancer and watch everyone shut the fuck up.It has that kind of stigma and that’s wrong.
Some of the things I know about medicine I take for granted. I know that getting diagnosed with stage 4 cancer is grim news to say the least and you will find many that will call it a death sentence. I know that watching people waste away in nursing homes from their chemo and radiation treatments is painful in itself, if not life-changing. I also know that each cancer story is different. This is Robert’s.
When Robert was first diagnosed he reached out online and found a community of support he was not expecting. True, it was not the mentor he was looking for, but it was a community that followed him every step of the way.
As he endured his own personal Hell and wrote about it from heart and in his own voice, it dawned on me that his story – his personal experience with this demon, cancer – was something that other people should hear. It should be a book.
You gotta understand, most people don’t write about this kind of stuff. Most people are not gonna share that kind of pain. They’re not going to detail what it’s like to go through that kind of Hell because it’s a special kind of Hell and one that is usually solitary.
When I went to the bookstore to do some research and check out what kind of books they had on cancer I was surprised to find that the shelves mostly consisted of books written by doctors and celebrities. There were also cookbooks and medical journals. But what was missing was a book by a regular person that said, “Hey! This is what’s it’s like to have cancer and go through chemo and radiation! No fluff or bullshit!”
For me, that’s what is lacking in the medical book industry; books by regular folks and their experiences and wisdom. Why? Because when you get diagnosed with something like that your mind goes a million miles an hour and all you want to do is talk with someone who has been through it. Yet, very often, all you find is cold waiting rooms, smiling nurses, perpetually late doctors, pamphlets in Greek, impersonal online forums and a shitload of bad info via a Google search.
Add to that, that there are practically ZERO Brown voices detailing their experiences with these kinds of things. I always get a kick (and not a Ha ha one) out of visiting the “Hispanic” section of any bookstore and finding the same four or five books there, if that. There are NONE in the medical section. Why?
How is it that so-called Latinos can lead statistics in things like diabetes and certain kinds of cancer yet there are no accounts of our experiences? Just like with my other books, I sought to change that.
The phrase “fuck cancer” is popular online and Robert chose it as his mantra. Like a Shaolin Buddhist monk, he used that phrase to motivate him to kick cancer’s ass. And he did! The phrase is so popular, in fact, that I questioned naming the book that but this book has enough twists that it becomes unique unto itself to declare: ¡Fuck Cancer! Note the upside down exclamation point. 😉
As he will tell you, Robert Flores lives in Santana, works in Santana, drinks in Santana…and he kicked Cancer’s ass in Santana, literally. This is the story of a Chicano who took it upon himself to kick the shit out of cancer and document it so that it might help people some day. And I wanted to preserve that.
The writing is on the wall and Cancer’s name has been crossed out. It’s been green-lighted for a shanking. Picture if you will, the homies coming down on cancer’s ass hard and beating it into submission on the street for all to see and to send a message! Remission…y que, leva!
That’s ¡Fuck Cancer!
This is not a traditional medical book. I don’t do traditional books (duh!). Robert is not a conventional writer either. He blogged about his experience in as honest a way as he could and he put it all on the line. You will read about exactly what he went through, no punches pulled either and for that he is Robert the Bold. It’s not easy putting these kinds of things into print, as you will read.
As we progress towards a street date I will be sharing more of his experience and more from what to expect from this book. This book will have a foreword by author Gustavo Arellano of Taco USA fame and soon to be hit cartoon, Border Town. Gustavo is Robert’s friend and he has a unique perspective into the kicking of cancer’s ass, as you will read about. The book will also have a few photos from Robert’s personal collection and a couple from photographer, Art Meza of Lowriting fame.
Are you ready to take another trip with me? Stay tuned, rally the homies and get ready to kick Cancer’s ass. This time it’s personal. 😉
— by Santino Rivera