Holding on to Normal: How I Survived Cancer and Made It to the Other Side, Happier, Healthier and Stronger

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Simon and Schuster, May 1, 2018 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
A compelling memoir about trying to live meaningfully with illness and triumph beyond it, by breast cancer survivor Alana Somerville, a teacher and mother of two young children.

I looked at all the sick people around me. Was I going to be like them? Was that already me? Did I suddenly have a time stamp on my life? Would I make it out of this alive?

Alana Somerville—wife, teacher and mother of two small children—was thirty-three years old when she was diagnosed with stage-two, triple-negative breast cancer. The diagnosis changed her world and the relationships she had with everyone around her. Suddenly she was faced with endless medical appointments, multiple surgeries and procedures, the challenges of chemotherapy, and all the decisions involved in her treatment. She also had to deal with the trauma of realizing that her support network—sometimes even her closest friends—could struggle with how to help or even how to react to her anymore.

Throughout the course of her illness, Alana learned to maneuver through the medical system, to advocate for herself, and to build a truly supportive network. She also discovered how to keep her positive spirit intact while undergoing a double mastectomy and ongoing treatment. She is now living cancer-free—a survivor and an advocate.

Alana’s story is not unique. It’s a story that will resonate with anyone who has suffered illness and found themselves navigating a whole new world upon diagnosis. This is an “everywoman’s” journey through the experience of cancer, tracing the emotional, physical and psychological steps that are common to all. In the end, this memoir will offer hope that one can live a healthy, fulfilling and happy life beyond diagnosis. Holding on to Normal is for anyone who is suffering—or knows someone who is suffering from—a setback in life, and who is looking for inspiration on how to navigate their own journey.


Foreword by Elizabeth Hurley Prologue
Part One SHOCK
Before and After
Falling Apart
Stupid Pink Everywhere
Positive Thoughts Damn
Squeaky Wheel
Its My Party and Ill Cry If I Want
Everything Is Crap
Part Three LOST
Taking It All
A Numbers Game
The Great Unknown
Moving Moving Moving

Will I Wake Up Again?
Missing Pieces
Bad News
Oncology Logic
Welcome to Chemo
The Red Devil
Do They Stay or Do They
Its Only Hair Isnt
Grasping at Straws
Burn Baby Burnor
Real or Fake?
Planning Ahead
Mission Accomplished

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About the author (2018)

Alana Somerville is a mother of two, teacher, and real-estate sales representative. Never one to sit still, when she isn’t teaching, she can likely be found with her children at a hockey arena, dance rehearsal or soccer field. Her children are her number one priority, and her drive for life is greatly inspired by them. Holding on to Normal is her first book. Visit her at AlanaSomerville.com or follow her on Twitter @AlanaSomerville.

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