Home Before Dark
Published by: Union Square Press
Release Date: April 6, 2010
When David Treadway was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and given a 25 percent chance of survival, his instinct was to prepare his family for his death. The successful psychologist and author proposed a project for his wife and two sons: to write about their individual experiences of David's battle with cancer. The family could then talk about what they'd written. This pathway to a very important conversation - with each other and with themselves - would be a way the family could face together whatever might happen in the future.
David wrote about his journey from healer to patient, as he oriented himself following the abrupt transition from objective therapist to cancer support group member. Kate, a physician practicing in the hospital where David was treated, addresses her struggle with her conflicting roles of wife, mother, and doctor. Twenty-eight year old son Michael chronicled the experience of moving home to help take care of his father. Sam - then a junior in college - documented his fight to balance college life with the family crisis playing out a home. Empty nesters before the cancer made its appearance, David and Kate also wrote about how the cancer crisis allowed them to hold their sons tightly one more time while learning how to truly let them go.
David survived, and the combined result of the family writing project has become an unflinchingly honest, multi-voiced memoir. In beautifully crafted alternating chapters, the Treadways offer a candid snapshot of one family dealing with the aftermath of the diagnosis of a serious illness. From muddling through initial shock to translating the medical language of chemotherapy cocktails to managing the lingering ghost of fear even after David's 2006 remission, the Treadways avoid platitudes and east answers in favor of raw honesty.
In chapters at once heartbreakingly moving, morbidly wry, and ultimately uplifting, the members of the Treadway family poignantly capture the everyday struggles of living with and loving someone fighting for his life. At its heart not a book about cancer or death, HOME BEFORE DARK is about learning how to live with the sharp, sudden awareness of an everyday fact: We are all on borrowed time.
"In the Treadway family, we can't help but see ourselves. Their beautifully told story is achingly personal, but filled with reminders of how honesty, acceptance, humor, and love can bind us together."
- Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of the Last Lecture
"The Treadways have written a memoir about illness that is remarkable in its honesty and extraordinary in its breath. I wept, cheered, and even laughed out loud while reading about each of their struggles and strengths as a parent, child, sibling, or spouse, and I finished the book more clearly recognizing my own. I have long admired Kate Treadway as a doctor and educator, but I am now in awe of her - and her family - for this courageous and exceptional book."
- Pauline W. Chen, New York Times columnist and author of Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
"A compelling saga about a family thrown into chaos as they confront disease. A moving, honest, and often surprisingly funny memoir about the ways in which adversity forces us to come together."
-Dr. Tom Graboys, author of Life in the Balance: A physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia
"A tremendously insightful and moving story of the impact of cancer on an entire family. Told in very human terms from both a patient and family perspective. Home Before Dark is especially notable for its qualified insights from David, a psychologist, and Kate, a teaching hospital physician. A book for patients, families, and caregivers." - Dr. James Mongan, Professor, Harvard Medical School, and former President of Massachusetts General Hospital
"Home Before Dark offers an engrossing, intimate, and heartening illness narrative. The Treadways bravely share the enlightened self-examination that allows them to chart a healing course through rough waters." - Debra Malina, editor, New England Journal
"A very moving and remarkably honest book. Though inspired by illness, Home Before Dark tells the story of life, love, and relationships. The Treadway family's insights will be invaluable for those coping with serious illness and for all of those caring for them."
- George E. Thibault, MD, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, and President of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation
"A poignant chronicle of the impact of a cancer diagnosis on tightly knit family members and the remarkable power of their relationships to confront the terror caused by the disease."
- Robert J. Mayer, MD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute