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OUT OF THE INFERNO: A Husband's Passage Through Cancerland - Red Sky Anthology, Book 2 by Randy Evans PhD

OUT OF THE INFERNO: A Husband's Passage Through Cancerland - Red Sky Anthology, Book 2

by Randy Evans PhD

428 pages
A man and woman struggle when cancer takes center stage.

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Category: Health:Medicine:Cancer
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About the Book
This beautifully written memoir tells the story of Randy and Laurene, a man and woman managing the ups and downs of living with breast cancer, as it takes center stage in their lives. The story begins in Central Texas with a visit to his mother's grave by Laurene's father. His mother had died of breast cancer in the 1940s. The cancer journey for Laurene starts when she discovers a lump on her breast, but a local oncologist doesn't think she has cancer. Laurene and Randy visit MD Anderson in Houston for a second opinion, where she is quickly diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy follow. The humorous and heartbreaking stories of Laurene and Randy's struggles with the disease, the side effects of treatments, relationships with family and friends, career challenges, and questions about faith and healing, comprise the first part of the book.

As Laurene experiences further rounds of radiation, multiple chemotherapies, experimental treatments, and blood transfusions, Laurene and Randy deal with taking care of their four daughters, their own spiritual crises, and future plans. There is a hilarious scene where Laurene counsels Randy about his future, including how to find another wife after her death. When Laurene slips into a coma and dies, Randy wants to get out of town. He travels to see visit daughters, scattered across the country, in Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan. A friend suggests that he look up Denise, an executive who works for Pfizer, Inc., in Kalamazoo. After having breakfast with Denise in Kalamazoo, Randy calls her after returning to Houston, and forgets the color of her eyes. She says, "I'm not your type." He thinks it's curtains, but Denise agrees to see him again.

In Houston, Randy attends grief counseling. The counselor advises him not to make major changes in his life for a year or two. Over the next three months, he enters a doctoral program in psychology in San Francisco, buys cattle land in Brownwood, Texas, and continues to date Denise. For the next three years, he engages in doctoral research with African American, Latina, and white women in a multi-ethnic study of breast cancer survivor quality of life. His graduate study in California, his interviews with over 250 breast cancer survivors, and the fun and adventure falling in love with Denise, help him pass out of the inferno of his decade in Cancerland.

The memoir ends with a Jane Austen tour of England where Randy seals the deal with a marriage proposal to Denise, his funny but meaningful retreat to a Buddhist monastery in the Santa Clara Mountains, and his reflections on what he has learned from a life "stopped in mid-motion" and redeemed. Each of the thirty-four chapters opens with an epigram from one of the thirty-four cantos of Dante's Inferno, and each chapter ends with a "lesson learned." The book will benefit everyone who has lived or worked with chronic disease, including patients, caregivers, friends, family, and health care professionals.


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About the Author
Randy and Denise, his wife, live in Bay Harbor, Michigan with Little Traverse Lizzie, their English Setter. After retiring from a career as a human resources executive, Randy earned a doctorate in Psychology, and teaches Developmental Psychology at a local community college. He's an avid pickleball player.



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