PUBLISHED: 8:06 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Creativity comes from diagnosis
"Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips" Part 5
After learning she had a rare, incurable stage IV cancer, Superbowl "Bud Girl" Kris Carr enlisted the help of other cancer survivors to tell their stories about dealing with the disease. Below is the story of Marisa Acocella Marchetto. This is part 5 of a 10-part series on the book, "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips."

"Shortly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I received a call from my editor at Glamour magazine. I did some regular freelancing for the publication, and she was calling to check in.

"'What's going on in your life?' she asked. I told her about my recent diagnosis. After her initial shock, she asked me if I wanted to write about my experience for the magazine.

"I immediately realized that's exactly what I wanted to do. It just made perfect sense.

"Everything I do is autobiographical in way anyway, and truth be told, I had already started taking notes.

"The cartoon spread I ultimately did for Glamour morphed into a graphic memoir published by Alfred A. Knopf.

"At first I didn't know what title to give my story. My initial title was "Breast Case Scenario."

"But thanks to a close friend of mine, that was nixed. We were having coffee and I ran "Breast Case Scenario" past him. Without pulling any punches he said it was horrible. In fact, he looked me up and down and said, 'Look at you! Look what you're wearing! You look like a victim! You're walking around in sweatpants and sneakers. Go home and put on your shoes, be a Vixen! In fact, that's what you call your book: Cancer Vixen!' And so "Cancer Vixen" was born.

"Working on the story while I was going through treatment for my cancer made the whole experience less intimidating. Cancer Vixen tells the story of my eleven-month battle with cancer.

"The booked was billed as 'What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping fashion fanatic with a fabulous life finds a lump in her breast.'

"Participating in the creative process of putting the book together made me feel like I could and would conquer the cancer. With the book, I was able to literally laugh in the face of cancer!

"Like the time when my doctor was preparing to inspect my tumor and said, 'We need to find out whether the cells are angry.'

"That day I went home and drew them as little green meanies giving me the finger."

Reprinted with permission from "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips," published by skirt! Books, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press. To purchase this book, go online to or a local bookstore.