• Memories, musings of mother captured in book about cancer struggle

    By: Bob Dumas

    Updated:

    BOSTON - It can be difficult to find a silver lining when you're facing cancer, but Alice Meltzer set out to do just that as she battled breast cancer. 

    So her daughter, Nina Ablelwitz, collected some of her mother's funny saying and drawings and put them together in a new book. 

    She says she's hoping it can help other patients smile. 

    The collection of observational humor is called, not surprisingly, “Laughter is the Best Medicine.”

    “I think she felt like every time she would wear a wig, it would just fly off in any second,” explained Abelowitz as she pointed one of her mother’s drawings. It shows a bicyclist whose wig gets stuck in a branch.

    Melzter studied art at Boston University and taught in the Holliston schools so it's no surprise she had a unique way to express her experience with stage 4 breast cancer that ultimately spread to her brain.

    She captured the frustration and confusion patients have handling numerous medications, many of which have long complicated names. 

    Or how patients get buried in a tsunami of medical bills and can often find them in odd places.

    “Combine the witty sarcasm with the artistic lens and you get a comic book, about an illness that many people don’t see humor, or ever want to see humor thru such trying times, and she did,” explained Abelowitz.

    After dealing with her mother’s cancer for years, Abelowitz became a nurse practitioner and specializes in oncology. She now shares the book with her patients.

    “They smile. They love it. I think that they build a better relationship with me. I think they trust me more and I think the patients really appreciate when you have been there," she explained. 

    Nina’s husband Jay believes tacking this project was therapy for his wife.

    “It’s this lasting legacy for Alice and something that we will remember her by, with that sense of humor that she had,” he told Boston 25 News. 

    After all, not everyone could find a reason to smile about selfies, and ill-fitting wigs.

    “It made me realize you can’t take everything so seriously,” added Abelowitz.  

    The book will be available on Amazon in February but can be purchased online now here

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