Why Us? Why Not.
People often say ‘You don’t deserve this’ but, when it comes to cancer, who does?
When a devastating diagnosis tips the Falkiner-Rose family on its head, it took medicos, imagination and sheer bloody-mindedness to survive their version of medical whack-a-mole.
At the time they kept up a stream of social media ‘Pete Updates’ for friends and family.
Using those intimate reflections, a lot of research, and a desire to help others in any boat similar to theirs, Why Us? Why Not revisits the crazy journey which temporarily consumed but did not subsume the lives of Peter, Leslie and Zara.
Leslie writes: “We prided ourselves on being the useful ones who swung into action when unwell family and friends needed a hand; as the helpers, not helpees.
“However, that December we found ourselves running against time. We had moved from an ordinary chest infection to Peter being hospitalised with the blood cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
The statistics then gave him a one-in-five chance of survival and, if the disease didn’t kill him, the brutal treatment regime might.
“He was 52 when our world flipped into a fearsome alternative universe which – spoiler alert – Peter survived.
“During the many months at the hospital, it would have helped to read something digestible about facing cancer, that provided the odd laugh and calm perspective on our cacophony of feelings.
"There wasn’t anything. So, here’s our layperson's takes on the ups and downs and ins and out of medical matters. We relied only on the expert doctors and researchers, but our story is simply one example of the myriad, equally valid ways that patients, their families and friends simply cope with cancer."
Praise for Why Us? Why Not.
‘Moving and surprisingly gripping.’
– Long-standing friend
'Eminently readable, full of useful information,
and most importantly, a window on a real experience.’
– Journalist friend
‘I’ve been glued to it for hours. Nearly burned my roast chook!’
– Friend and four-time cancer survivor
‘What an eye-opener, I knew Pete was my new hero and now
I have a clearer picture of why...thank you for putting it into words.’
– Peter’s brother
‘It’s a story of heartbreak and hope,
and an extraordinary book to read.’
– Well-known author who doesn’t know us
Why Us Why Not authors
Leslie Falkiner-Rose is a journalist, strategist and author who never expected to write a book like this.
Leslie's earlier books include Women Talking Money (Wiley); stories in the true crime anthologies Outside the Law 2 and 3 (Five Mile Press) and, in 2022, Tell Us: What are you doing? Improving how you communicate your academic research, relevance and expertise (Australian Business Deans Council).
Leslie joined The Age newspaper as a cadet journalist at age 17 and later became a radio and television reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
She’s also worked as a reporter, feature writer and producer for many Australian and international media organisations. She now focuses on strategic communications, digital content creation, philanthropic ventures, and writing her first novel.
She lives with her family in Melbourne, Australia.
Peter Falkiner-Rose does not write for a living but has spent decades behind the cameras on Melbourne’s Channel 7 news and sport programs, and the current affairs show, Today Tonight.