The actress and model, best known as a "Bud Girl" in Superbowl commercials, went on the attack.
The result led to a documentary about her battle on The Learning Channel and an "advice from the trenches" book she wrote titled "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips." Following are excerpts from Chapter 5 of her book, part 6 of a 10-part series.
Chapter 5: Go Ahead - Use the Cancer Card
"Congratulations! You have been pre-approved for a Platinum Club Cancer Card membership! Though it sucks that you have cancer (and we're very sorry about that), membership to this ever growing club does come with some perks. You Cancer Card provides you with oodles of mileage points and has no expiration date. It's an I'm-human card, and like it or not you can't do it all; every now and then you need a treat.
"Sometimes just knowing that your card is available in a pinch or on a rainy cancer day can really put your mind at ease.
"Here a few club rules to keep in mind: 1. Your membership begins the day you are diagnosed. 2. It is nontransferable. 3. There is no annual charge, interest rate, or debt. 4. You may swipe your card freely, but we urge you to use some discretion. Tragically, the card can be declined. Therefore, as with all major credit cards, make sure you take the time to read the fine pint!
"Swipe for an out, or an in. This is a vital way to use the card, especially for the ladies who have a hard time voicing their needs. When you carry the Cancer Card, you automatically become a VIP, top-priority client. Members do no have to wait in long lines or get dragged to football games, baby or wedding showers, brunches, happy hours, et cetera.
I need rest. I have cancer.
Don't dump your garbage on me. I have cancer.
I regret to inform you that due to cancer, I will not be able to attend your party.
I can't come to work today. I have cancer (plus, I'll miss Oprah).
I have to cut this conversation short (you toxic blabbermouth), I'm not feeling so hot. (A subtle way of saying the cancer is action up.)
"Sometimes we're well-behaved citizens who happen to have cancer. Other times we're irrational lunatics WITH CANCER swinging wildly on a speeding pendulum between rage and tears. If you need to explain your behavior in the aftermath of a huge meltdown, just pull out the Cancer Card.
"Remember, just because you have cancer doesn't mean you won't have to apologize at times. The Cancer Card can't get you out taking responsibility for when your emotions push you too far and you hurt someone.
"It's possible that as result of your diagnosis, you'll be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. For the most part, you qualify if you cannot do the work you did before your diagnosis. The Social Security Administration will determine if you're eligible. In order to be considered, your disability must be expected to last for at least one year."
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 skirt.com or a local bookstore.