Other Titles

Reflections on the C-Word: At the Centre of the Cancer Labyrinth

About the Book

Written over a year in which the author was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery and radiation therapy, this memoir speaks of how the ordeal deepened her appreciation for friends, family and the fragile planet. Although she says that cancer was “a gift I would prefer not to have received,” the experience causes her to look deeply at what is most important to her, and how she might face further illness and, inevitably, death.

In this period of crisis and change, Matthews walks the labyrinth as a form of meditation. The winding path of the labyrinth is an appropriate frame for this meandering narrative, which circles past, present and future concerns. Matthews comes to realize that her goal is not simply to arrive at the centre of the labyrinth but to reach the centre of herself.

Nine original full-colour prints by Jennifer Waelti-Walters complement these vignettes.

Cover and text design by Frances Hunter.


“Reflections on the C-Word reads like a good novel with a brave protagonist fighting a battle with evil forces. You want to turn the page. You want to know, ‘What happens next?’ Reflections on the C-Word is not a how-to book, nor is it self-help. It’s a very personal story of one woman’s journey. … Not once does she become maudlin or sentimental. At the same time, she doesn’t hesitate to share her emotions with the reader.”
Victoria Times-Colonist, 2007

“Reflections is just the right word for this book. It is reflective and calm, not anguished. It is beautifully produced and elegantly told.”
St. Paul’s Labyrinth Guild Newsletter.

About the Author

Carol Matthews is a consultant and writer, formerly an instructor and dean at Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, B.C. Her short stories and essays have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. The quarterly columns she writes for The Relational Journal of Child and Youth Care have been published in book form as The First Three Years of a Grandmother’s Life (2006). She is the editor of Victor’s Verses, a collection of dog poetry (2nd edition, 2007), and author of a book of short stories Incidental Music (2007).

Author photograph by:
Goody Niosi

About the Artist

Jennifer Waelti-Walters is a retired professor of contemporary French literature at the University of Victoria. She is an Associate of the Victoria College of Art, where she studied for three years. She has had a number of exhibitions of her paintings but is best known as a print-maker, interested in figures and movement. Her work has been exhibited in Japan, Spain, Bulgaria and France as well as in many Canadian galleries. This is the first time she has created prints in response to a literary text. Learn more at jwaelti-walters.com

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