Not in the Pink by Tina Martel

Not in the Pink

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Imagine being diagnosed with the frightening and life-threatening disease of breast cancer. Your entire world is turned upside down, and you are supposed to “patiently” wait until you meet with an oncologist to get information about your prognosis. This is exactly what happens to visual artist Tina Martel. She loses patience with the medical system and uses the Internet to read everything she can find about breast cancer.

Not in the Pink is a candid, heart-wrenching, and humor-laced account of Tina Martel’s personal ordeal with breast cancer. The memoir offers unique insight into a disease that strikes women without any prejudice or warning. Tina provides readers with a bird’s eye view of how a breast cancer journey is a roller-coaster ride with patients vacillating between periods of feeling upbeat about winning the battle and periods of feeling disbelief, panic, anger, anxiety, guilt, denial, frustration, and depression.

Tina Martel shares her long and difficult battle with breast cancer in a heartfelt and forthright manner. She does not shy away from sharing intimate details about her scary diagnosis and its emotional impact, the horrific side effects of the cancer treatments, her frustrations with both the idiosyncrasies of the medical community and the inconsiderate comments made by people around her. Key elements behind her surviving the nightmare of breast cancer is the unfailing support of family and friends, her practice of wearing temporary tattoos of a Chinese symbol for courage, her inner strength, her ability to maintain a sense of humor, and her documenting each grueling step in the journey.

The background images behind each page of text are comprised of paintings and photographs. This combination of artistic images and written thoughts is a powerful way to portray the realism of breast cancer. Tina Martel is a beacon of light and hope and an immeasurable comfort to not only women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer but also to the family and friends of loved ones who are battling this disease. No woman wants to receive a possible death sentence, and Tina’s breast cancer journey from diagnosis to survival is a beautiful story of courage and inspiration for breast cancer patients.

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