Michael King considered himself to be a healthy guy. He didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink. He was rarely ill. But in early 2008, Michael started noticing something wasn’t quite right.
“A little bit of blood where it shouldn’t be,” Michael remembers, describing his initial symptoms, which escalated until a colonoscopy was needed. Only a few days after the procedure, Michael’s doctor uttered the dreaded words: Michael had colon cancer.
“I felt like I’d been sucker-punched in the gut,” he recalls. “Shortly after [my first visit to the surgeon], I cried for the first time. I wasn’t afraid to die, but I didn’t want to leave my daughters fatherless and my wife a widow.”
Over the next 12 months, Michael faced and overcame obstacles that decided whether he would live or die. Surgeries, chemotherapy, a colectomy, an ileostomy; his life was taken over by the disease. An author by profession, it was no surprise that after experiencing these grave struggles, Michael decided to turn the fear he and many others experience into hope and joy through writing.
So in 2011, he started writing a novel based on his own recent experiences with cancer. This book, A Thousand Sleepless Nights, focuses on the challenges that come alongside a cancer diagnosis and the role family, forgiveness and love play in this journey.
“Writing this story helped me sort through my own emotions and feelings,” Michael says. “Writing has a way of opening the doors to expression. Through storytelling I can explore the emotions I felt, the struggles I had, the reactions of others. I can be completely honest and transparent when I write.”
In honor of his dedication to colon cancer survivorship, Michael is generously donating 20 percent of his book proceeds through December to the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA), and his publishing company, Charisma House Book Group, has become a supporter of the CCA as well.
“I want people to see colon cancer (and any form of cancer) for the monster it is but also to know it doesn’t have to defeat us,” he expresses. “There is hope, there is strength, and there is courage and love. And though the cancer may rob us of physical vitality, it holds no power over our spirit.”
Michael hopes A Thousand Sleepless Nights will raise awareness that colon cancer, if caught early, is a treatable disease. Because it is one of the most detectable forms of cancer, you have the power to reduce your chances.
“I want others to be able to avoid what I had to go through,” he says. “It was an experience that taught me a lot about myself, about others, and about God, but one I wouldn’t want to repeat. If I can help even one person avoid battling this disease, it will have all been worth it.”
A Thousand Sleepless Nights will be available wherever books are sold October 16. Please visit Michael’s site for more information on the book, including reviews and how to purchase.