February 2010 Issue
A New Perspective
Bookstores are filled with cancer survivors’ tales of courage and hope.
Most of them are written by women.
The Rev. Larry Kreps wants to help break that literary mold. A recent bout with prostate cancer inspired him to pick up his pen and add his voice to the tomes on the shelves: In December, he published a guide with men in mind. Cancer is a Four-Letter Word: A Pilgrimage into the Emotional, Sexual and Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer chronicles his journey with the disease, and questions at the end of each chapter encourage dialogue between men battling cancer, their loved ones and friends.
Kreps, who now lives in Findlay, was a pastor in his native Cincinnati when he was diagnosed with the illness in 2006. While recovering physically from the robotic surgery he chose as a treatment option, Kreps felt himself succumbing to the depression that often haunts survivors.
“The prostate is in the center of the male body,” he says, “and I felt like emotionally the core of my male identity was hit a blow.”
A faithful journal writer, Kreps, now 56, turned again to the blank page. He asked for a year’s sabbatical to attend writer’s workshops. A seminar in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was particularly inspiring. Like cancer, it became a family affair for Kreps and his wife, Marti, a photographer. He spent his days writing under the clear desert air, while she photographed the surrounding vista.
After the week out west ended, Kreps continued writing. The result is the family effort the couple envisioned. Her evocative black-and-white photos launch each chapter, and the cover shot of a solitary figure walking in the rain at Cincinnati’s Sharon Woods “catches part of the depression,” he says.
“But,” he adds, “the umbrella [in the photo] is protection. And the walking means the person is moving through.”
Reinvigorated by his sabbatical, Kreps himself moved on to become pastor of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Findlay.
“I want to choose joy,” he says of his recovery process. “I want to be present to God, present to others and experience the joy of life.”
For information about the book, call 888/519-5121 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.