In Arts & Entertainment

Sue Knight and Andrew Pain found writing about cancer to be very therapeutic.

Cancer survivor and caregiver pen books about their individual experiences

In February of 2014, Milwaukee's Sue Knight was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, she had been dating boyfriend Andrew Pain for only five months. To cope with the fear of treatment and the possibility of leaving her two young daughters – as well as the frustration of being diagnosed after finally finding true love – Knight started a blog.

"Fear of leaving my young children on this planet before I've had the chance to teach them how to navigate the world was paralyzing me to the point where I could not sleep. I could not even function," says Knight. "The act of putting my thoughts and fears down on 'paper' allowed me to find peace with what I was going through."

Knight posted the blog on her Facebook page. The feedback from friends was extremely positive, and some suggested she turn the posts into a full-length book. At the time, Pain was also writing a story about his experience as a man in love with a woman who was very ill, and he, too, was encouraged to expand his story into something longer.

"I fell in love with Sue early on in our relationship," says Pain. "My writing is all about the powerlessness I felt watching her go though everything that is cancer diagnosis and treatment. There is also a lot of joy and triumph, but it's hard to forget not all cancer stories end that way."

Knight is now cancer free, and the couple married in 2015.

Both Knight and Pain decided to write and publish books. Knight is the author of "One Knight's Journey," while Pain penned "Sidelines."

Says Pain, "The books tell the same story from two different viewpoints. Hers as the patient and mine as the caregiver."

The two authors will be at People's Books Cooperative, 804 E. Center St., on Saturday, June 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. for "One Journey, Two Stories" – a reading and book signing. The books are also available on Amazon, and signed copies from 721 Publishing.

Knight and Pain are avid motorcyclists who own a home in South Milwaukee where they live with Knight's daughters and two cats.

"There's only one tail between the two of them, but it's a pretty impressive one," says Pain.

The family will travel to Alaska for two months this summer and plan to continue to write both individually and together.

"Andrew and I are planning to write a book about Team Phoenix, the amazing group of women who taught me how to redefine cancer survivorship and live life fully," says Knight. "I also plan to write more about the travel adventures on our horizon."

A recurring theme for both Pain's and Knight's writing is about facing fears and embracing life's struggles. They both hoped by sharing their stories they would provide encouragement to others.

"My goal is that, in sharing my story, I can give hope to women just starting treatment," says Knight. "I want people to know that humor, happiness and love is possible even when suffering through some seriously hard stuff."

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