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Zosia’s Book

Cancer- I Won!

My book is now available for purchase. Please check it out at . It seemed to be a long time coming, but it is here.

If you wish to purchase it you can buy on line or you can get it from me.

If you get it from me, please send me a cheque for $27. ($25 for the book and $2 for mailing). If you purchase it from me, $5 from each book gets donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The address is: # 80 – 2270 – 196th Street, Langley BC V2Z 1N6.

Please make sure that you send me your latest address so I mail it to the right place. Your comments are very welcome.

I was scheduled to move into my new home on August 30, 2005 and start college on September 6th. A friend called me a couple of days before my move and insisted that we have lunch that day.

As we were sitting in the restaurant, I noticed that she was getting more and more agitated, I inquired as to what was going on and she replied “Mel is sitting beside you.” I was stunned because I had no idea that she was a Sensitive, so I replied “say hi to him for me.” She then informed me that he was agitated and was insisting that I that I must to go to the doctor, that I had at least another 6 years to live and that I had to go now. He apparently told her that he would not leave her alone unless I promised to go.

Fortunately I had a previously scheduled appointment to see the Doctor the very next day. I was confused about what questions I should ask. I had noticed some changes but were they symptoms? I rationalized that they were due to stress with the move, starting school again after 40 years etc. but I decided to mention them. The Doctor sent me for some tests but they all came back negative. I knew that it couldn’t be what Mel had been referring to, so when I found the lump three weeks later, I knew right then and there that is was Cancer and that we had found it in time and that everything would be alright. Otherwise why would Mel have made the effort to come and tell me about it?

As a cancer specialist, I am often asked how I can cope with the endless misery of looking after patients with cancer, how to tell very bad news, and especially making them suffer even more with tough treatments like chemotherapy.

Well now after thirty years experience I finally have an answer: “go read Zosia’s book!” The rewards of caring speak for themselves, and the stress is nothing compared to being on the receiving end.

Cancer speak often refers to the “trajectory” of cancer, from first symptom through diagnosis, tests, consultations (just imagine it yourself – what will the doctor tell me?), more tests, strange treatments for the often invisible enemy, side-effects, the void after treatment, the struggle of rehabilitation, follow-up with more tests and uncertainty, will they ever tell me I’m cured?

I always thought that the trajectory of a missile was an upward arc, and the cancer experience sounds like an upside-down version. And yet Zosia somehow makes the challenge of a cancer diagnosis into a positive life experience. Even more unusual, rather than forget about it, she wrote it down for us to experience too.

As humans, we are all the same and as well we are all unique. So it is with cancer, every tumour is a unique mutant in a unique individual but yet there are commonalities. If you or a loved one are faced with a cancer diagnosis, read Zosia’s story and take heart.

She had many strikes against her from infancy, perhaps that made her stronger than most. But if she can cope with cancer from a wheelchair and at the same time do so many other things for herself and others, so can you. Yes she is special but so are you. What perhaps is different is the gift of this book.
Book Review of “CANCER – I WON”
Few books written about victory over the overwhelming diagnosis of cancer have been written so boldly spoken, yet so devoid of the self pity that is the essence of that mysterious quality we call courage, as, CANCER…I WON! No wonder! Zosia Ettenberg, who wrote, CANCER – I WON had polio at six months of age yet somehow did a degree in Physiotherapy at McGill University, got married, adopted two boys, overcame their diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome, and with stunning resolve raised them well, then survived post polio syndrome, the loss of her job as Director of Education and Quality Assurance at Langley Memorial Hospital, followed closely by the loss of her home, her husband (cancer), her mobility, poverty, and cancer (her own) again.
Anyone of the above would have been enough to devastate anybody, certainly me, but Zosia, just moved into a mobile home, got a job, became the top Sales Rep. for her company for Canada in under two years, and, oh yes, had a mastectomy, chemo, beat the cancer and went to Mexico to live her lifelong dream of swimming with the dolphins.
Cancer hits like a tornado of cellular disintegration. The very stuff of essential body and soul shatters in your face. Zosia is a master of survival, and so, life. If you want to learn how a master of life survives yet another death threat, if you want to learn not simply the outcome for one life, but an hour to hour, day to day, week to week, year to year guide about how to govern yourself so that cancer does not claim any part of you or your family as another of its millions of victims… read this book!
In the meantime we, Zosia’s stunned and sometimes even disbelieving friends, (I mean how much can one person survive?) nominated her for “The 2008 Courage to Comeback Award” which she won. If you want to know how she survived and was triumphant over all these ills you have to read the book “CANCER….I WON”. It has her heartbeat on every page.
Delney Paterson 

Hi Zosia,
I am sending you this email as I sit in my car watching Natesa at her soccer practice- I have tears streaming down my face!
Your book came in the mail and I sat and read it all in my car under the lights at the soccer field.
It is so wonderful. And though I had read each chapter before- to read it as a book, every word and the beautiful cover is amazing!
And you are an amazing woman! This book just reminded me of that! Your words will inspire so many!
From the bottom of my heart- thank you, Zosia
Evelyn Klees


Dear Zosia, congratulations again on your book!
It was an experience to open the envelope and see the cover, with artwork by Danuta.
I hope that you related to Danuta my appreciation of her drawing on the cover; it is beautiful, and so is the drawing of your face on page 3. The lapel looks like a miniature cello!
The book had to be concise. Still, I wish people knew how well you played the cello,
sang and danced in Gilbert and Sullivan’s and that you met Mel while performing.
I wish everyone knew of his beautiful singing and speaking voice and how talented an actor he was.
Thank you for your inscription. The dedication is moving. The forewords are remarkable.
The acknowledgements are better than most, besides, “ thank you” it contains excellent advice
on getting help from friends and communicating with the doctors.
The Preface is informative and concise. The photographs bring you closer to the reader.
I am glad that you included in the Prologue the eerie episode with Delney!
That was the key to your strength to endure everything that followed and gave you the faith
that you will get your health back again, that you will survive and beat cancer.
Even though I read your diary part by part, as you lived it and wrote it,
it was still very powerful to read it again, written with a grain of salt and lots of wit.
It is not only a diary of your fight with cancer, but also, it shows you living to the fullest
that you could physically master during that time. One feels your emotions and determination. What a gutsy lady!
The Epilogue is so uplifting – two very significant events in your life.
Almost like a happy ending. It is a happy ending to the fight with cancer, but
unfortunately your life continues to be full of challenges. I hope you will rise to each one of those and that life will give you as much of a chance to surmount the obstacles as it
gave you in your battle with cancer. You will overcome.
Just hum to yourself that song: We shall overcome……
With admiration and love, your friend Mira Herljevic.