Cancer survivor Michele Longabaugh of Wichita will be featured at a book-signing event Thursday, May 24, at Thee Bookstore, 117 N. Main St., Hillsboro.
She’ll be selling and signing her new book, “If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Dying,” based on the extensive blogs she wrote while battling Stage 4 anal cancer. It’s a rare form of cancer that claimed the life of Farah Fawcett last year.
More than peddling books, Longabaugh hopes to communicate the message of the book’s subtitle: “The dawning of hope from the shadows of darkness.”
“I want to give hope to those who may be facing cancer treatment, or have friends or family who are, and to educate the public about the stigma of cancers below the belt,” she said.
Longabaugh’s journey was featured last November in a two-part series on “Hatteberg’s People” broadcast on KAKE-TV, Channel 10.
The book signing at Thee Bookstore will last from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. One dollar from the sale of each book will go to cancer research via “HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.” Longabaugh will also talk about her journey during the evening.
Longabaugh was diagnosed with Stage 4 anal cancer in February 2010. She also had a rare form of metastasis located in her bone.
“I did not have one risk factor when I was diagnosed,” Longabaugh said. “I thought I had a hemorrhoid and sciatic pain. I was wrong.”
Once diagnosed, she underwent surgery to remove a golf-ball-size tumor from her sacrum, then received simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation—two rounds of chemotherapy lasting 96 hours each, and seven weeks of radiation.
“I baffled them all when I went into remission and just passed my 16-month anniversary,” Longabaugh said.
Her goal in writing the book is to raise awareness about anal cancer and other “below the belt” cancers.
“Not only is it rare, there was definitely shame attached to it,” Longabaugh said. “I overcame my shame and humiliation and decided to fight the stigma.
“People need to be educated,” she added. “Doctors need to be screening patients. I am talking and I can’t shut up—I won’t shut up. My hope is that no one ever suffers from my kind of cancer, and if they do, they get early diagnosis and treatment.”