To Get Back Home by Wendy Chapin Ford
The New Book - Normalcy: Dealing with Cancer

An important new manuscript, under a Creative Commons license, free of charge:



How one family made it through a devastating diagnosis

A Primer for Dealing with Cancer

by Wendy Chapin Ford

Click here to download "Normalcy"

From the Introduction:

Sometimes, the qualities that we desire most are those that are most elusive.

My husband, Bruce, loved to take care of his family. When we received the news that he had cancer, he immediately determined that we should strive for normalcy. It was his desire for normalcy, as elusive as it seemed to us at that moment, that set his family down a path of carrying on, doing well, and enjoying life. It served us well through his illness and beyond, and I am sure will continue to do so.

Every patient is unique, and no two families are alike. What this slim little volume offers is a collection of decisions, thoughts, and actions that worked for our family when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. If this primer helps just one other family in any way, it will have been worth going back to our trial with this disease.



What people are saying about Normalcy --

I finished reading Normalcy just minutes ago, and...I think the piece is wonderful. It's well-written, as I knew it would be, and it's clearly moving and honest from beginning to end. Your message gets through, and I can't imagine that it wouldn't provide help and relief to other families going through the ghastly trial that you did. Most important, I'm more than confident that it will offer comfort and relief and understanding to Westy and Lindsay at various private times in the years ahead.
Kim C., author, journalist, Santa Fe, NM

Normalcy can help others deal with their own despair and hopefully convert something that is terrible and overwhelming into something that fortifies the spirit and brings deepened faith and enhanced hopefulness.
You have a perspective on what happened in your family that can yield more powerful insights than what most priests, preachers, and shamans can ever hope to share.
It is in your ability and your willingness to share what you experienced with other persons facing similar challenges that you undertake a wonderful Apostolic action in benefit of the community of faith.
Rev. Harold L., Episcopal minister, Dallas, TX

Thank you so much...I have read it several times, and it is very lovely.  You describe so eloquently what your family experienced, and share very good ideas for others.
Hester S., LICSW, BCD, OSW-C, chief of oncology social work, adjunct professor of social work, Boston, MA

This is just wonderful.  You've really captured all that you've been through beautifully...
Wendy, you are one of the bravest people I know....thanks for writing "Normalcy"  -- it will help lots of folks dealing with the care of a loved one...
Ann B., R.N., oncology nurse, Boston, MA

This is so moving and inspiring!...You did a wonderful job capturing Bruce's spirit and distilling valuable lessons from your experience. Thank you so much for thinking of my liver cancer/cholangiocarcinoma research — helping to improve treatment is a wonderful tribute to Bruce and to your family.
Rebecca M., M.D., MPH, assistant professor, physician-Investigator, hematology/oncology, Boston, MA

Your new manuscript is outstanding and would prove helpful to a large number of people who have to face similar situations.
Bert S., Reverend Emeritus, Unitarian Universalist, Newburyport, MA 

What a generous gift you have given to all of us. I can think immediately of at least three acquaintances who could benefit from the telling of your strong, yet tender story.
Maxine S., author, Newburyport, MA

Honest, helpful, and so very well written. As I read it I felt I heard you talking to me and that's a sign of very good and heartfelt writing. It is above all a fine tribute to Bruce.
Alex M., MSW, LCSW, life coach, Newburyport, MA

This powerful manuscript will be very helpful to others who may be treading the same path that you and Westy and Lindsay have trod.  Your courage and the careful and conscious way that you have gone about living with the loss of Bruce are truly inspirational.
Rev. Harold B., Minister, Unitarian Universalist, Newburyport, MA

Very moving and well done.
Philip S., literary agent, New York, NY


Creative Commons License
Normalcy - How one family made it through a devastating diagnosis -- A Primer for Dealing with Cancer by Wendy Chapin Ford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at


Download "Normalcy" Now

My Hopes for Normalcy

It is my great hope that cancer patients and family members – or anyone dealing with a devastating diagnosis – will be able to avail themselves of this document free of charge, and that it somehow helps. To that end, I am offering it as a free download, under a Creative Commons license.

But I also hope that our experience might inspire readers who are so moved to make contributions to Dr. Rebecca Miksad's medical research fund for her study of liver cancer and cholangocarcinoma, the form of cancer that affected Bruce. Dr. Miksad must be one of the most talented, intelligent, dedicated and compassionate physicians that I shall ever know.

* * * * *

The CureLiverCancers team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is dedicated to curing all types of liver cancers, including cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder cancer and hepatocellular cancer. Our multidisciplinary clinical team provides comprehensive care for all aspects of liver cancer care,
from screening to transplant and specialized liver procedures to chemotherapy and palliative care. Our collaborative research team brings together the best in basic science, clinical trials and state-of-the-art health services research to achieve our goal of improving outcomes for patients with liver cancers.

To make a donation to BIDMC's CureLiverCancers team, please click here:

Or, if you prefer to make your donation by check, please make check payable to “BIDMC.
Please note CureLiverCancers on the memo line and send to:
Office of Development
330 Brookline Avenue BR
Boston MA 02215