BELLY DANCE AND CANCER: YVETTE’S STORY

The front cover of Yvette Cowles' book, telling of her recrring cancer and the joy that belly dance gives her

Yvette’s book is a total antidote to the perceived limitations set by cancer!  A bit like the TARDIS, it’s quite small in dimensions: 91 pages. Yet when you open it and start to read, you find a whole world inside, full of Yvette’s adventures.

That’s not to say that having cancer and then rheumatoid arthritis is necessarily an ‘adventure’, but Yvette makes as light of it as she can, focusing on how her love of life, and especially belly dancing, helped her through.  Yvette writes with enthusiasm and she delights in the oddities of life that she encounters.
First we read about Yvette’s various jobs and her travels. In these, she is successful and works ridiculously hard. She tells us about her friends and lifestyle. Most of all, Yvette’s passion for belly dancing shines through. Yvette’s accounts of her first encounter with the dance and her subsequent journey of discovery as she learns, trains, teaches and performs will resonate with any of us who are similarly smitten. There’s a mix of enthusiasm and self doubt, yet the sheer joy of dancing conquers all!
Then comes the illness. There is so much mass-conscious fear and dread of cancer. Yvette explains how some people find it difficult to relate to someone who has cancer.  They shy away and don’t know what to say. Yvette is honest about her own fears. Yet she dances, and collects sequins and is resolutely optimistic as she deals with the massive intrusion into her life that three rounds of cancer bring.
There are some laugh out loud descriptions of hospital visits and conversations with doctors, together with life-changing treatments that would seem so grim and depressing if described differently.
Yvette’s one woman show ‘Sequins On My Balcony’ evolves from her experiences. Over and over again, she makes people laugh, cry and reconsider what it is to have cancer….and what they can do to help others with the illness. Throughout her schedule of shows, Yvette continues to dance and embrace life. Her friends are incredibly supportive and Mrs Doreen Cowles, her mum, is described as a rock. This is what Yvette values.
Really: I can enthuse on and on about this book, yet you need to read it for yourself to receive Yvette’s message first hand. Love yourself, love life, be kind to others and be silly…. dance! Having cancer, or any illness, doesn’t stop you from being as alive as you can be in each moment.  Yvette constantly encourages people to appreciate what they have and to count their blessings.
At the end of the book, Yvette offers a wonderful list of ten valuable lessons that she has learned from her experiences. They are a brilliant guide to living positively and getting the most out of everything. As the blurb says on the back cover ‘this witty and gritty story has lessons for us all’.
For every copy of purchased directly from Yvette, £1 goes to the UK-based charity: ‘Just Because’ that supports women in Egypt who have cancer.   Then buy her book: you’ll feel so uplifted…promise! The price is £6.24 (including £1.50 P&P), payable either by PayPal to yvette_cowles@yahoo.co.uk