Susan Singer Kerschner ’76 has recently published a book of poems that offers an autobiographical portrait of her experience facing cancer. Titled “The Shoulder of Country Roads, My Journey from Neck and Head Cancer,” Kerschner’s book follows her personal journey with cancer from her diagnosis in spring of 2010 to her recovery. The book ends on an encouraging note, but does not attempt to hide the details that are a part of head and neck cancer.
For many years, Kerschner’s focus has been in writing and publishing poetry for various publications. Initially, after being diagnosed with cancer, Kerschner turned to such publications for information and inspiration from others with head and neck cancer. She quickly learned that there was a lack of written material about this form of cancer.
She wondered: “Since I had searched for poetry written by those with a similar experience, were others looking too?”
As an established writer and poet, she was motivated to fill the void she’d discovered.
“I thought that a book I created would possibly help other patients, survivors and caregivers deal with this difficult subject before, during and after treatment,” she says.
She notes head and neck cancers account for about five to six percent of all cancers and approximately 40,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States, where it is a relatively uncommon disease. The worldwide incidence of head and neck cancer exceeds half a million cases annually, ranking it as the fifth most common cancer worldwide.
Currently, Kerschner works as a human resources manager where she interacts with numerous employees and their families and friends who have been stricken by cancer.
“Being able to share my own experience through writing has been important to me as well,” she says. “The book has been out for a month and it has been gratifying that many people have asked for a copy for a friend or relative whom they feel would appreciate receiving it.”
She is also in the process of creating a Facebook group page where others who have been affected by head and neck cancer can come together online to read or share poetry and make connections as they cope.
Singer earned a B.A. in English from William Smith College.
Her book is available for purchase through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.