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October 7, 2022

Muse’s memoir, Morbid Thoughts and the Domino Effect, grew out of writings he did after his stage IV cancer diagnosis. The BookLife Review called it “a detailed, tender account of facing a tough cancer diagnosis and seizing life.” We spoke with Muse about how the book came together and his advice for those going through similar situations.

What’s the story behind this book?

My life has been filled with death-defying accidents, surgeries, and life-changing events. When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, I had a dream that inspired me to start writing and keeping notes. At first, I didn’t really think I had a story to tell, but as time moved along, I learned otherwise. By the time I’d finished this book, I had covered 60 years. I covered stories of dreaming to fly, U.S. Army flight school, many serious accidents, and cancer. But, most importantly, I knew this book could help others facing adversity. Everyone has morbid thoughts. It is all about how you deal with the mental battle as you are going through the physical battle. The title may suggest that the book is full of despair, but it is a story of optimism and faith in the face of despair.  

As you started to research your cancer and the available treatments, what shocked you the most?

There were some life-changing medical mishaps. Also, I discovered how one treatment or surgery would have a domino effect and cause other issues. I am still amazed at how much responsibility is on the patient. You have to become a student of your condition and not just expect the medical personnel to do what is best for you.   
How do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to your book?   

It is real life. I believe it is inspiring, emotional, educational, and motivational. The book constantly moves to the past and back to the present. I explain medical terms and procedures in a way that is easy to understand. Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or knows a loved one who has, can learn from my story. There are funny stories, and there are stories that I look back on and wonder how I am still alive. I think it is because I have a higher purpose and this book is a part of that.  

Looking back at this time in your life, is there anything you wish you had done differently?

Yes, one major thing. I procrastinated for five years and did not get my annual blood labs. I was always too busy. By the time my cancer was diagnosed, it was in stage IV of V. I was given a 35% chance to live 10 years. The one thing I would change is to never have missed my annual blood lab. It takes only a few minutes, and if I had caught it early, it would have been an easy process to become cancer free. There would not have been any morbid thoughts, nor would I have been compelled to write this book.  

What’s next for you?

I have been working on a children’s book that I would like to publish one day. In the meantime, I am living life one day at a time and trying to take in all it has to offer. I am thankful for each day and want to reach out and touch as many people as I can along my journey. I am donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book to benefit children with cancer. Each day is a gift. I want to enjoy that gift and help others along the way.

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