TOUGH: 

Women Who Survived Cancer

 is the ultimate recovery companion for women facing cancer.

Working from interviews with 40 survivors, Iliev-Piselli has created triumphant essays that will lift readers up like a conversation with good friends (if all your friends had survived cancer!).

During life’s most difficult moments, these women found joy in creative pursuits as diverse as they are, including writing, stand up comedy, drawing, air guitar, and many more.

Get ready for honest, inspiring, uplifting, rock-n-rolling, gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, chemo-brain-fueled tales about cancer and its aftermath.

The ultimate recovery companion for women facing cancer. This book is for newly-diagnosed women, survivors, and the people who love them.

About Me

I’m Marquina – a mother, wife, digital marketer, breast cancer survivor, competitive air guitarist, insufferable karaoke singer, and all-around-goofball living in Brooklyn, NY.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015, my life stopped. We had been trying for a second child – that dream was dashed. I had recently launched a business – that project was sidelined.

I experienced uncertainty, sadness, anger, and pure fear. That fear caused me to retreat into myself. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my diagnosis because it was too painful to relive with each retelling. Each time I would muster the courage to discuss what I was going through, I left the interaction feeling depleted and raw. At a certain point, I didn’t want to talk, walk, smile, or leave my bed. I was short-tempered with my husband and son. I felt stalled. Stuck.

Depression loomed like a rain cloud that would not pass …and I sought professional help. I mourned the loss of my old life. How could I escape this cloud of sadness?

I wanted to take my life back. But how could I keep moving when I was paralyzed by fear – a fear that never leaves your side, even after you’re in ‘remission’.

I began to create…

It started small. Drawings, sketches, poems, songs.

These small creative projects brought me one step closer to myself. They were my ‘little triumphs’ over my all-encompassing fear.

I started ‘Share Triumph’ to showcase the small steps that lead us on our path back to joy.

My little triumph may not be the same as yours – and that’s okay. We are all on different paths.

As we share our small triumphs we are both encouraging others as much as we encourage ourselves. Sometimes we need a reminder that we should simply start putting one foot in front of the other.

– Marquina

About Me

I’m Marquina – a mother, wife, digital marketer, breast cancer survivor, competitive air guitarist, insufferable karaoke singer, and all-around-goofball living in Brooklyn, NY.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015, my life stopped. We had been trying for a second child – that dream was dashed. I had recently launched a business – that project was sidelined.

I experienced uncertainty, sadness, anger, and pure fear. That fear caused me to retreat into myself. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my diagnosis because it was too painful to relive with each retelling. Each time I would muster the courage to discuss what I was going through, I left the interaction feeling depleted and raw. At a certain point, I didn’t want to talk, walk, smile, or leave my bed. I was short-tempered with my husband and son. I felt stalled. Stuck.

Depression loomed like a rain cloud that would not pass …and I sought professional help. I mourned the loss of my old life. How could I escape this cloud of sadness?

I wanted to take my life back. But how could I keep moving when I was paralyzed by fear – a fear that never leaves your side, even after you’re in ‘remission’.

I began to create…

It started small. Drawings, sketches, poems, songs.

These small creative projects brought be one step closer to myself. They were my ‘little triumphs’ over my all-encompassing fear.

I started ‘Share Triumph’ to showcase the small steps that lead us on our path back to joy.

My little triumph may not be the same as yours – and that’s okay. We are all on different paths.

As we share our small triumphs we are both encouraging others as much as we encourage ourselves. Sometimes we need a reminder that we should simply start putting one foot in front of the other.

– Marquina

Editorial Reviews

 
TOUGH brings readers a beautiful and powerful sense of community, strength, unity, and belonging. These essays reveal the power of sharing your true self with others and building a community of support. Mandy Gonzalez

Award-winning actress, star of HAMILTON, and founder of #FearlessSquad

 
What a gift, in a crucible moment, to hear this chorus of remarkable voices. TOUGH offers a wealth of joys, sorrows, and advice, but more than that, it opens the door to an extraordinary community of survivorship. I’ll be gifting and recommending this beautiful book for years to come. Joni Rodgers

NYT bestselling author of BALD IN THE LAND OF BIG HAIR

 
Getting a cancer diagnosis rips you raw. While looking foranswers to the inexplicable, TOUGH is that moving, must-read that illustratesmedicine is only a tiny part of the journey, while offering profound hope andsweeping community. Sheetal Sheth

Award Winning Actress, Producer, and Author

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