Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pilot Light of Hope

"This is not a journey I was planning to embark on, but I quickly realized that a hopeful heart and open mind are some of the best traveling companions.  And I believe so even now."

"I've dealt with cancer since December 2006; almost 7 years now.  I've had 3 cancers, 4 surgeries, 5 chemos, and 3 radiation treatments so far."

"Fucking cancer.  That is my mantra to this day."
~ Pilot Light of Hope, Mary P. M. Siller

I understand the last sentiment.  I lost my own mother to cancer in 2011.  Cancer SUCKS.  It seems so prevalent, and is taking far too many lives. 

Published in 2013, Pilot Light of Hope: Life with Cancer from an Eternal Optimist is the second book by Mary P. M. Siller.  Previously on this blog, I presented her earlier book, Out of the Ashes: A Story of Common People Transitioning Through Uncommon Events, which is a personal account about losing her home in the 2007 wildfires.  Like her first book, this one reflects Mary's strong spirit, which has helped her fight cancer since 2006, when she found out that she had thyroid cancer.  Today, Mary is living with Stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer. 

As with Out of the Ashes, this is a more personal post for me, because I am friends with the author.  Mary's newer book, Pilot Light of Hope, is honest and touching and inspirational.  The title describes Mary to a T.  Mary is remarkable.  I first met her when our kids were in elementary school.  She loves art and was an art docent at school, like me.  Mary is friendly, intelligent, and easygoing, and as I got to know her over the years, I discovered that she was a very giving mother, friend, and person.

Mary dedicates Pilot Light of Hope to her family, oncologist and oncology nurses, and to cancer survivors.  Her sister and her mother wrote the book's foreword, and throughout the book are photos of Mary's beautiful family, and some of her many friends.  In spite of what she was going through, Mary is smiling in most of the photos. The back cover of the book is a reproduction of an inspirational painting by a lovely, mutual friend; it's the perfect back cover for this book.  

Although this is Mary's personal story, there's a lot in the book that would help others who are going through the ordeal of cancer.  She offers terrific advice for those battling cancer, which is presented in a clear and concise manner.  In the book, Mary discusses her various treatments, "the terrible time", medical marijuana, and her thoughts and feelings about many things.  I really don't know how Mary summoned up the energy to write this articulate and moving book, but then again, Mary seems to have been blessed with tremendous energy and optimism.  Pilot Light of Hope will bring inspiration and hope to readers.  What really shines throughout the book are the extraordinary qualities that she has always shared generously with others, especially her joyfulness and her loving nature. 

At this point in time, Mary is not having any more treatment.  She is at home with her loving family and a wonderful friend from her childhood who is helping to take care of her.  Friends stop by daily to spend time with her.  Please keep Mary and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for reading.


  1. Thanks for your review. I'm sure Pilot Light of Hope will help many. I will keep Mary in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Pilot Light of Hope sounds like an inspiring book Suko. I can tell how special this one is to you as you are friends with the author and this is so close to your heart. I will keep Mary in my prayers.
    Hugs to you both.

  3. It is amazing how people light Mary find such strength and positive insights in such tremendous pain and adversity.

    I very much will keep Mary and her family in my thoughts.

  4. What an important book! I can only imagine the people it will help.
    My mother had breast cancer and beat it, and then she found out she had colon cancer and sadly lost that battle. I wish I'd had this book then.

  5. This sounds like an incredible book. My father was just diagnosed with cancer. I haven't yet absorbed this news as it's very recent but this sounds like an inspirational book.

    1. Best of luck to your father and family, Yvonne.

  6. Mary seems like such a strong woman to have endured so much and still had the desire to write about her experience.

  7. This sounds like a great book. My Dad's girlfriend of 20 years is currently battling cancer. It's tough - and tough for the kids who aren't sure on why Grandma is sick.

  8. What an amazing woman Mary is and courageous to have gone through everything she did. I lost two uncles to cancer.

  9. It always makes a book more personal when you know the author and I'm sure given the nature of this book it makes it all the more poignant a read. It is people like Mary who renew your faith in humanity and I wish her well.

  10. Thank you all for the supportive comments.

  11. Cancer sucks! I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been touched by it in some way or another. I'm praying for a cure and Mary is in my thoughts!

  12. I can tell how much this book meant to you Susan. I will be praying for Mary. Cancer indeed sucks! I've lost many family members to it and my best friend almost five years ago now. It's so devastating to everyone.

    1. Darlene, I am so sorry to hear about your best friend. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.


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