Patient Siggy: Hope and Healing in Cyberspace
by Sigourney Cheek is a deeply personal account of how one woman faced cancer with grace and humor. It is a must-read for all people living with the disease and for those who want to better understand what it is like to have it. It is also a story of how a community forged over email proved to be an antidote for the isolation of serious illness.
In February 2005, Sigourney's life was radically altered. What started as a routine visit to her internist for an allergic reaction to bug bites, turned into a full day of testing at Vanderbilt Medical Center and a diagnosis of B Cell Lymphoma which shortly after was changed to CLL, and Richter's Transformation. She underwent six courses of chemotherapy over an eight-month period to fight the blood cancer. Today, she is in remission.
Sigourney's story is unique in how she found home and healing in cyberspace. It began with a simple email to eighteen friends in Nashville letting them know she had cancer. Quickly, the group expanded from her intimates to approximately two hundred people throughout the U.S. and in Europe. The tone and content of the correspondence morphed from short and factually based emails to deeply personal reflections about her life and spiritual journey. Those who read her story were prompted to respond with intimate reflections of their own, many of whom have reported finding closure and healing through the process. Sigourney's story is about the power of facing challenges through writing and the redemptive nature of community.
Sigourney writes, "It is my hope that the book will teach others about the power of communal prayer, the power of choosing a positive path to fight through serious illness, the power of sharing the struggle through writing and the life saving power of community during crisis."