My true-life encounters—friendships, really—with young people with cancer inspired this trilogy of novels. I cared for these young ones for 40 years as a children’s cancer specialist and palliative care doctor.
Blood Work blends a life-and-death adventure with a coming-of-age romance. 16-year-old Moraig (Raig for short) has to come to terms with not just her cancer but the devastating effects its treatment has on her—both body and mind. An ally appears—hospital volunteer Rap—who teaches Raig how making art can rescue us even in our darkest of times.
A Boy and His Soul also features Raig—now a child life internist who helps care for 11-year-old Jeremy when he is struck down with an even more devastating cancer. The book blends reality—Jeremy’s life-threatening illness—with fantasy—Jeremy makes acquaintance with his soul, whose name is Jewel. Jewel becomes Jeremy’s closest ally through his surviving, his thriving, and his ultimate failing….
Songlines—the third in my trilogy—follows Ellen, a final-year university student whose boyfriend Jonah develops a brain tumor. Raig is now a child life specialist who runs the student choir Ellen and Jonah are part of. All choir members must become “buddies” to hospitalized teens—bringing us full circle to how care givers and receivers can befriend each other as they work on healing together.