Breast Cancer and Science Fiction

Spitzer Eyes The Universe

Seeing the universe, we know instinctively that we are not alone.
Science fiction gives us permission to dream about what might be out there.
- Special thanks to JPL for the pictures. -


Breast cancer and science fiction is an odd combination, but not so much so. This website is about something I love, something that drove me to rekindle that love and get it off the shelf after about 20 years or so of living in the real world. You see, as I’ve pursued raising a child alone, getting my degree in something I largely can’t stand simply to upgrade my working and financial situation, and keep my small ship afloat working two jobs and sometimes three, I sacrificed things that I used to live to do. The reasons were important; the tasks needed to be accomplished at the time. But I rediscovered recently that it wasn’t all there was to life. In my pursuit of the financial solvency, I had forgotten to dream. Hence, the combination of breast cancer and science fiction. Without the one, I wouldn't have rediscovered the other. I had a moment of clarity, if you will, a pause in The Rat Race, and this website was the result.

How The Idea of Breast Cancer and Science Fiction Came Into Being....

In October 2004, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and rushed into surgery within three days of that diagnosis. Thus began a journey that would change my perceptions of what’s important, and the strange realization that life is a fragile miracle not to be taken for granted. With the diagnosis, came awareness of how little time humans actually have on this planet, how much we take that for granted, and that if a person doesn’t make the most of the time they’re given, they will wake up one day wondering what the heck happened or worst still, dead.

Three operations and too many frackin cancer treatments later, I have emerged a breast cancer survivor and a woman acutely aware of how little time God gives us. The oncologist shook my hand a couple weeks ago, bid me good luck and told me to make an appointment for 30 days out, three months out and so forth. She handed me prescription for hormonal therapy pills, a number to call if I got upset and a business card if I had any questions. I was burned, in pain, peeling, wearing a wig, and recovering. Life was supposed to continue on as usual … not. I wasn’t the same person who went to the doctor in October. I am more alive than I have been in the past 40 odd years of my existence. I am grateful to walk among the living and determined to pursue my dreams.

Breast Cancer and Science Fiction - Whole Again!

If you been where I’ve been, and maybe you're still going through it, take heart and take flight. Let them do what they must to save your life but don’t let them steal your vision. As they work on your body, take your mind to the next level, an alternative universe, a parallel dimension. That’s what science fiction and fantasy is for, to take a person out of the doldrums and allow them to soar on the wings of imagination.

I have always been a writer, but the prospect of writing about what I’ve just gone through held little attraction for me. I remembered instead that I love science fiction. While I was sick, it became breast cancer and science fiction. I loved Star Trek: Enterprise, got hooked on the new science fiction series, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi Channel. I lived for Friday night; they weren’t going to treat me again for two days, and Stargate and Stargate Atlantis was coming on. Then, in January 2005, the much-hyped Battlestar Galactica series joined my mix. When I was too sick to move, I’d watch them and remember what I used to like to do. – write, read and watch science fiction and fantasy on television and in the movies. It’s been that way since I was five. And, I realized that I had put that on the “back burner” for years until I was invited into hell through the treatments for cancer.



Breast Cancer and science fiction means hope!

As they set out to save my life, I pondered what could I do that really meant something to me. There was nothing I could do about what the treatments were doing to me except think about something else. -- something fun, different – something I had a passion for. Because without passion for a subject, any subject, life quickly becomes an endless march towards death. And, I definitely didn’t want that. I realized that I had become a work-a-holic. I have no idea how that happened, but with that knowledge, I had the power to change it.

My new philosophy, “Do what you need to do to sustain your existence, then live to do what you enjoy.” Take the clarity I'd gained with breast cancer, combine it with my love of science fiction, and presto, magic to the step into a lifestyle that includes time for myself.

Breast Cancer and science fiction fans - take heart!

I know there are many science fiction cancer survivors out there. Even if only one other fan reads this and enjoys my website, I will have accomplished my goal. And, if and when I survived, I decided, I was going to do something incredibly un-Judy-like with the rest of my life. Not rash, just enjoyable. Not work-related, but relaxation-related. I decided to find an entertaining sideline, going back to my roots and creating a website that didn’t do much except deliver interesting content on a really great subject. It’s not so much about business, but more about something I could research and work on even if I was never paid a cent for doing it.

That's what is at the heart of this website. My passion is science fiction and fantasy. Yours may be knitting. We are engaged in a day-to-day struggle to survive. We are constantly bombarded with bad news and strife. The only thing that we really have to combat all that "stuff" is our passion. Taking the time to do something about it, even if it's only a small thing like this site, allows us to deal in the real world. This will not change the world, but it is a fun diversion from my personal Rat Race. Give yourself permission to copy what I'm doing and take a break from your race. It's something to look forward to working on as you get through your work day, when the boss is yelling or the kids are screaming. And if you have cancer, it will help like no medication ever could to get you past treatments, doctors and needles.

My daughter has been my best friend and cheerleader. When I forgot how to cheer and dream, she did it for me. She was always cheerful, upbeat and brave. She kept chattering about her dreams, and insisting, when I wanted to give up, that I had too many dreams to pursue to give up and die. She inspired me to keep on going. And she's another science fiction writer - a true chip off the old block, working on her second book.

I have done a lot of things to stay alive and solvent: sales, mutli-level marketing, flipping burgers, computer programming. I did it because I had to do it, not because I wanted to do it. And while, I don’t regret any of it, it’s not who I am; it isn’t the person who used to lay on the back roof and dream of winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Hugo for producing great science fiction literature. I'm no longer physically that child on the back roof, but I still have those dreams.

Things happen for a reason.

As my mind wandered through the memories of who I was before I became breadwinner and mother, I came across, quite by accident, the website I used to create my Buzz. It has many ebooks and reports, but most importantly, a message that fit right into my revelations - write and create a website about what you love and it will evolve into something wonderful. They had examples like www.jugglenow.com which to me was perhaps one of the more obscure hobbies that someone could love, let alone build a whole website around. I figured, well, frack, if they could build all this content on juggling, science fiction wasn’t as obscure as I’d first thought. I marveled at how much one could present on juggling. But the website owner obviously loves it, just like I love science fiction. His site is very successful because his soul is reflected in what he presents.

Now the Site Buildit website has a ton of stuff on how to let people know you’re out there on the Internet, how-to set up a site on something you have a passion about, and the secrets to how-to share your fun creations with other people. This was all good, but what made me take a second look, and finally convinced me that this particular webhosting company was correct for me, was the community it provided, the wealth of information, and the incredible education it provided on how to deliver my love of science fiction to others. It matched my personal philosophy that to be successful, you must do and create from the passion for a subject you adore.

If you'd like to find out more for yourself about SiteBuildIt, CLICK HERE

I will be adding fiction and artwork to this site, making it as interactive as possible, and adding news about the science fiction genre. I also want to let others know, who may be cancer survivors wondering what to do now, you can be a parent, employee and loyal son or daughter. You can survive cancer, but when you’re given that second chance at life, -- long or short -- don’t just continue life as usual. Seize life; it’s precious. There is something inside of you that you love to do, loved to do before life layered you over with all of its stuff. If you are lucky enough not to have lost that dream, then great – continue on. If you lost it, like I did, find it. You’re worth it, and it’s not as hard as you think. Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice all of yourself in the process of just existing. Keep the fun going, because without it, cancer and life is just plain hard.


Keep on dreaming &
remember to pay it forward.
Judith Brandy

sciencefictionbuzz@gmail.com



Breast cancer and science fiction

The National Breast Cancer Foundation operates with a Board of Directors approved budget and by good business management practices. The Foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation in order to provide tax incentives to its contributors. Better Business Bureau standards require charities to spend at least 50 percent of all contributions on their stated causes. More than 80 percent of all donations to the National Breast Cancer Foundation benefit free mammograms to needy women, educational programs and cancer research projects.

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