Glenn Rockowitz: The title of my book, Rodeo in Joliet, is based on this phenomenon [that cancer is like being sentenced to a prison term in Joliet, a former correctional center in Joliet, Illinois]. I think that every cancer survivor deals with a weird mix of fearlessness and a strange kind of ever-present ambient fear every day. It's the part that people don't see. It's wreckage that is hard to carry around every day.
Glenn Rockowitz: He is 11 now. Even saying that out loud is mind-blowing because I wasn't supposed to see him live past three months. That was my prognosis, "three months at best." My first day of chemo was the day he was born. I feel so blessed to have had all this time with him. I try to shield him from a lot of what I've had to go through because I want him to know the power of standing up and moving forward. I remind him that falling into a stream won't drown you, but staying there will. As trite as that sounds.
Glenn Rockowitz: I wish I could say it was. It was really painful, actually. Reliving all those moments of fear and doubt and sadness sometimes felt like too much to handle. But I had a really hard time finding a book that spoke honestly about the toll the disease really takes on your life. I wanted to write something for my fellow fighters and the people who love them so they wouldn't feel so alone. And hopefully laugh a little along the way.
Glenn Rockowitz: I know! Sweet irony, right? I started Best Medicine because when my grandmother was dying of colon cancer, I used to visit her in the nursing home and spend hours joking around with her – time she described as "being let out of prison." That was the light-bulb moment. I realized there was something amazing in giving people that break when they were struggling with their own darkest hours.
Glenn Rockowitz: It helps soften some of the sharp corners, put a little light in places there was none. I know that if I wasn't able to laugh during any of my own battles, I would've had a really hard time coping with everything else.
|In a strange way, humor helps put a really healthy perspective on things. Especially young people -- they are by far the most open to the irreverence humor often brings to life.|
Glenn Rockowitz: Yeah, I guess it does in a sense. In a strange way, humor helps put a really healthy perspective on things. Especially young people -- they are by far the most open to the irreverence humor often brings to life. My grandma used to say that just because you shed light on a situation doesn't necessarily mean you take a situation lightly. Cancer is not something I take lightly. I just think that humor is a key weapon in dealing with the heavier stuff.
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