About the Author
“From the time I was little, I wanted to be a writer,” says author Elaine Jesmer. “Then I wrote a best-selling novel. And I hated it. I hated the book, and even worse, I wasn’t comfortable with the process of writing. So I stopped.”
What Jesmer did enjoy, was marketing and public relations. Working first with musicians, clubs, and performance artists, she later moved into publishing - “I sort of burned my bridges in the music business when I wrote the book.” (“Number One With A Bullet”, a novel about the record business published in 1974 by Farrar, Straus, Giroux and Bantam Books) – creating and helping execute marketing plans for publishers and authors.
Then she got cancer. It was advanced, requiring two rounds of chemo, surgery, and radiation. “For all intents and purposes, the cancer was gone. And all of a sudden, I wanted to write again.”
“I’M HOT!…AND I’M BALD!”: CHEMOTHERAPY FOR WINNERS was written for two reasons: to help people going through chemo manage the side effects, and to address the fear, which Jesmer considers almost as lethal as the diseases chemo addresses.
Because of her knowledge of the publishing world, she chose to publish the book, herself. “With all due respect, mainstream publishing is still too traditional to know how to distribute this kind of book to the audience it’s meant for,” she explains. “It’s available on Amazon and Kindle, but I wanted people in treatment to get it free. The goal is to be able to pick up the book when they check in for treatment. Nobody on chemo wants to shop for information. Especially the way most books that target patient education are written. You make yourself read because you want to be part of the team, you want the information, but mostly it’s boring.
“I wanted to create an absorbing, informative book that people could stuff into their purses or briefcases, and refer to if they wanted to know, say, where to go if they need free transportation to see another doctor in another part of the country. There are a lot of small, but really helpful organizations like that, but they’re off the beaten path.
“I also wanted patients being treated with chemo for any reason, to add their voices, with suggestions about how to deal with the side effects. And the fear. People actually choose not to be treated, because they’re more afraid of chemo than they are of their disease. If that disease is cancer, the chances are if they refuse treatment their doctors recommend, they’re going to die. You shouldn’t be afraid of something that can help you get healthy. You always hear the horror stories, but there’s very little about people who sail through treatment. New patients can use that kind of information.”
In addition to publishing and selling “I’M HOT!…AND I’M BALD!”: CHEMOTHERAPY FOR WINNERS to healthcare organizations and advocacy groups, Jesmer publishes a monthly newsletter called “Chemotalk”, and has begun to speak publically on topics ranging from handling specific side effects, to “I’m finished with chemo…now what?”
She believes extreme exercise will keep her healthy, so she lives on top of a mountain in Los Angeles, without a car. “I like a challenge,” she laughs.