Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide: A Survivor’s Story


My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 14. I was babysitting two neighborhood children when I received the devastating news. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. I know exactly where I was standing, what I was wearing, and the kind of day it was outside. It was warm and sunny, an afternoon ripe for happiness and laughter. It was not the kind of day for words like “cancer” and “six months to live.” I immediately fell to my knees and hid pent-up tears for hours. I didn’t want the children upset or questioning my dreary mood. Back home later that evening, I couldn’t face my grandmother. I had no idea how to process what was happening to her and our family, and I didn’t know what to say. Cancer has a way of doing that to people. It leaves you without words.

I’ll never forget her personal struggle and how hard she fought to stay with her family. She was fiercely brave and never gave up hope. Even in the end, she managed to find the positive–believing she would soon be with her mother in heaven. This brought her peace and gave her the strength to finally let go.

I’ve known many brave souls who’ve battled cancer. Some are no longer with us. Others have received clean bills of health. All of them are equally courageous. Holly Bertone is one of these cancer warriors, a survivor. I had the honor of reading her book last week, Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide. This raw journey through the halls of cancer was touching, inspiring, and left me feeling full of hope, even though I’m not fighting cancer or any illness.

Holly wrote the book in a very personal style. This allowed me to experience the highs and lows alongside her, as I read through the various emails she sent during her triumphant struggle with breast cancer and chemo. I loved that even before she knew what she was facing, she did her best to stay positive. In her words that meant, of course, a little retail therapy: “Because if you gotta have cancer, you may as well also have a most fabulous red Kate Spade bag.”

You’ll feel her despair when she is first diagnosed, cheer for her as she receives a heartfelt proposal, and share many laughs and tears along the way. I highly recommend the book for those waiting, wondering, surviving, battling, and supporting. You can buy the book on Amazon or visit Holly’s site to learn more.

Posted on by Crystal in Book Reviews

11 Responses to Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide: A Survivor’s Story

  1. Seana Turner

    I’m going to write this down on my “gift ideas” … maybe a good one to order and keep a few on hand.
    Seana Turner recently posted..YOU Are The Role ModelMy Profile

    • Crystal

      Highly recommended! It was a beautiful read! 🙂

  2. Katie @ Pick Any Two

    My grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer, and the time between her diagnosis and her death was less than a year. Even though that was years ago, it sounds like this book could help me as I continue to mourn, grieve, and re-live the process.
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted..7 Unexpected Ways Becoming a Mom Changed MeMy Profile

    • Crystal

      Absolutely Katie! Even though we have lost loved ones, it helps to hear stories of those who have survived. It gives you hope. 🙂

  3. Angela Gilmore

    Heading over to her site now, thank you for sharing. I absolutely love the cover of this book, it says so much.
    Angela Gilmore recently posted..Creamy Tomato SoupMy Profile

  4. WriterMom Angela

    I checked out her site after you mentioned it the other day. I agree, she’s an inspiration and then some! Like you I have lost loved ones to this disease and watched them fight valiantly to their last moments with us. It’s a terrible disease. Anyone who has fought and won deserves a ticker tape parade and a key to the city!
    WriterMom Angela recently posted..My Undying Adoration for Comfy PantsMy Profile

    • Crystal

      She is definitely a hero in my book! And goes out of her way to help and support others.

  5. Michelle

    I have two friends with breast cancer right now, another one who had it but now has a clean bill of health, and a friend who died of pancreatic cancer. A family member is also in the fight of his life with cancer in multiple places. Cancer sucks. Holly’s book sounds inspirational. I will check it out.
    Michelle recently posted..Slow Roasted Tomatoes with CilantroMy Profile

    • Crystal

      Absolutely! From Holly, I learned some of the things that help and some of the things that can hurt others fighting for their lives.

  6. Pary Moppins

    This sounds like an amazing book. Thank you for sharing your review.
    Pary Moppins recently posted..Brookshire’s Coupon Matchups & Deals 3/12-3/18/14My Profile

Add a Comment

CommentLuv badge