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This is part of the full text of the medical memoir "Cancer Patient" written by Hugh Cook. The full text has been published online on a free-to-read-online basis. This autobiographical non-fiction account deals with the author's initial health problems, diagnosis, and treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The complete text of "Cancer Patient" is here on this web site but is also available for purchase from amazon.com as a proper printed paperback book. The full text may also be purchased as a download (a PDF file) from lulu.com for US $5. Go to lulu.com/hughcook

For a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of what's in the book (in its online version, in the PDF version and in the paperback version), see:-

Table of Contents


diary       site contents       essays       stories       flash fiction       poems       novels

CANCER PATIENT is a medical memoir which deals with the author's autobiographical experiences which involve, amongst other things, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, a brain biopsy, a lumbar puncture (and then some more lumbar punctures), treatment with Ara-C, treatment with vincristine, treatment with methotrexate, treatment with radiation from a linear accelerator, and a vitrectomy (an operation to remove the jelly from an eye). This is a non-fiction account but it does contain a couple of fictional stories, clearly identified as such, and it also includes some poetry.

Table of Contents


        "Cancer Patient" is a medical memoir, a true life story, a non-fiction account of having cancer.
        In this autobiographical story, Hugh Cook, a poet, novelist, short story writer and English teacher, tells of his initial health problems in Japan, which eventually led to a diagnosis of cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the large B-cell type, in Hugh's case a cancer of the CNS, the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord).
        This memoir, "Cancer Patient", tells of how this cancer patient was treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy (radiotherapy) in New Zealand, along the way undergoing brain surgery in the form of a brain biopsy, and also a vitrectomy, an operation involving the removal of the jelly from an eye.
        This non-fiction true cancer story dealing with real life also includes two short stories and some poems, some poetry on themes relating to cancer. See the table of contents for a chapter-by-chapter overview of what this "Cancer Patient" book contains.


        This book is dedicated to my wife, for her indomitable courage, her absolute loyalty and her unfailing love and support; to my parents, for their love, concern and assistance; to my sister Catherine, for her good counsel and wisdom; to my brother-in-law Alan, one of the pillars of generosity and practicality which sustain the universe; to my brother Charles and my sister-in-law Jenny, who made space for me in their busy executive lives; to my daughter, whose existence inspired me with visions of a future demanding to be lived; and to all the other members of my family and the wider world who, in their various ways, supported and sustained me in my journey through a valley of very deep shadows.

A Note on Names and Titles

        The following names are fictitious but refer to real entities, either corporate or human:-
        Dr. Quack, Mr. Goodman, Dr. Steadybrick, Dr. Slipstream, Dr. Kiwi, Ms. Lux, Dr. Taisho, Ms. Josama, Murasaki-san, Cornucopia, Odette, Imperial Cubicles, Dai Nippon Teaching, Enoshima Pharma, Hamayama, Inakabashi, Inakabashi Hospital, Kappatani Hospital and Yokohama Beloved Children Garden.
        While some of the names are fictional, the entities represented by those names are very real, particularly my daughter, for whose sake I vowed to survive.
        For the sake of simplicity, any person who has qualified as a medical doctor has been identified with the title "Doctor", the sole exception being Ms. Josama. However, in the New Zealand system (and, incidentally, in the British system also) the title "Mister" outranks that of "Doctor", indicating a higher level of qualification.
        The list of people who are entitled to be designated as "Mister" includes (I think) (but is possibly not limited to) Mr. Ferguson (Lindo Ferguson, who, as of 2005, was living, or so I was told, in a well-deserved retirement in Northland), Mr. Mantell and Mr. Hutchinson.
        Proprietary names are used descriptively and are the intellectual property of the entities which own them.

Table of Contents

The text on this page is part of the cancer memoir "Cancer Patient" which has been posted online. All the chapters of this book are on this website and can be read for free online. However, the text is copyright - all rights reserved. For permission to use this text or any portion of it contact Hugh Cook.


        This personal memoir of the writer's encounter with cancer (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the large B-cell type) attempts to cleave to the truth. However, the text may contain information that is wrong, outdated, incomplete or otherwise misleading.
        This memoir has been written in a time of illness by a cancer patient who, though he feels sharp enough, must admit to sometimes misinterpreting things, forgetting things, or, on occasion, quite simply not hearing things.
        This memoir is designed to communicate the writer's personal experience and is not intended as a source of medical information. Got a medical question? Ask your doctor.

Cancer Patient Copyright © 2005 Hugh Cook.

Hugh Cook