Dear Auntie, Why Me?



Dear Auntie, Why Me? by Peggy Anderson,

Published in 2005

Duluthian shares her breast cancer story to educate women
Sarah Fleener
Budgeteer News
Last Updated:Friday, July 22nd, 2005 11:03:27 AM

 Despite being a self-described private person, Duluthian   spills her guts for the greater good in her breast cancer story, “Dear Auntie, Why Me?”
The book, a compilation of letters, narratives and cold-hard facts, is a comprehensive guide to breast cancer awareness with a personal touch. “I wanted the book to be something that would help our daughters know what a cancer patient goes through,” Anderson said.
In Anderson’s mind, she feels people don’t talk about cancer enough, and she would like the book to open up dialogue. She said many are affected by cancer, but don’t allow themselves to go through the grieving process. “I’ve now met women who have been grieving the loss of their breasts for 15 years,” Anderson said.
The idea for the guide came from the very aunt who counseled Anderson through the cancer. “She is a really good friend, a sounding board, a counselor and she always has words of wisdom,” Anderson said of her aunt.
The book is not only the story of Anderson’s struggle, it is a medical reference. “I wanted it to be more than just a lot of medical jargon,” she said. So with the consultation of doctors and cancer groups, Anderson began researching the facts she wished she had known.
“When I found out I had breast cancer, I knew nothing about it,” she said. Anderson read every book she could get her hands on and spent hours combing the Internet. “I was like a fiery dragon trying to gobble up all the information,” she said.
The medical aspect of the book focuses on detection, which Anderson believes is as good as prevention. “Early detection is treatable,” she said.

Mixed in with the facts and letters are illustrations, done by a University of Minnesota Duluth art student, Joel Skinner. The sketches guide a woman through self-breast exams, identify cancer signs and show different means of reconstruction. Anderson said.
The illustrations are important because they offer a simple, descriptive guide. “Woman need to be vigilant about taking care of themselves,” she said. “This shows them how to do it.”
When all the different parts have come together, the book covers a number of topics including mammograms, hot flashes, the importance of exercise and healthy eating, hormone therapy, grieving, alternative therapy and faith therapy.
“I hope that this book will help to save more lives in our community through early detection,” she said. “This is not just a breast cancer story, it’s a book about prevention.”
Proceeds from the book will go to the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation for cancer education and research. Anderson said by making the contribution she’s honoring her doctors for their tireless effort. The book also honors aunties the world over.
Though trying, the struggle with breast cancer and writing the book has inspired Anderson to do many new things. She is now involved with the YWCA and Relay for Life and will be rowing for breast cancer awareness in the Dragon Boat races this August.
Anderson is also working on a her next book, “The ABC’s of Breast Cancer,” as well as pocket guide to identify signs of reoccurrence.
The book, “Dear Auntie, Why Me,” costs $21.44, with taxes and is for sale at J.W. Beecroft inSuperior, Sweet Pea in Two Harbors, and a number of local book stores inDuluth. They can also be purchased from the author by calling 525-1905.  

Other articles about it on the following dates:

From The Woman Today, Oct/Nov, 2005:

From Duluth News-Tribune,10-24-2005:

From Howie Hanson’s e Blog,12-9-05

 From Saint Mary’s Hospital Newsletter, 10-2006:

From Howie Hanson’s e Blog11-27-06:

 From Duluth  Budgeteer, 11-26-06: