A searing debut YA poetry and essay collection about a Black cancer patient who faces medical racism after being diagnosed with leukemia in their early twenties, for fans of Audre Lorde’sThe Cancer Journalsand Laurie Halse Anderson’sShout.
When Walela is diagnosed at twenty-three with advanced stage blood cancer, they’re suddenly thrust into the unsympathetic world of tubes and pills, doctors who don’t use their correct pronouns, and hordes of “well-meaning” but patronizing people offering unsolicited advice as they navigate rocky personal relationships and share their story online.
But this experience also deepens their relationship to their ancestors, providing added support from another realm. Walela’s diagnosis becomes a catalyst for their self-realization. As they fill out forms in the insurance office in downtown Los Angeles or travel to therapy in wealthier neighborhoods, they begin to understand that cancer is where all forms of their oppression intersect: Disabled. Fat. Black. Queer. Nonbinary.
InBless the Blood: A Cancer Memoir, the author details a galvanizing account of their survival despite the U.S. medical system, and of the struggle to face death unafraid.