I had the good fortune to read the debut novel by Paul Deepan. Although fantasy is not a genre that I usually dip into, The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree, caught my attention. The world of being a book reviewer comes with few perks! I could write them on the back of a postage stamp using a laundry marker!

There is only one that springs to my mind, it often means access to the author. I love to read, and I always have questions after the book has been digested!

The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree was a great example. Paul Deepan had a curious page titled Life Imitating Art at the end of the book. A theme he had woven into his story was a mother facing death, a gradual, but inevitable journey to the afterlife as the result of breast cancer. Two months after completion of the final draft Paul learns that his wife Lori Macdonald is facing the same challenge.

Life had indeed imitated life.

Paul Deepan and Lori Mcdonald were my guests for the program. We covered a wide range of subjects connected with breast cancer. It was a very unique program in that Lori was able to offer two perspectives, Lori Macdonald the patient and Lori Macdonald the doctor.

I invited my wife Jan to share her story, breast cancer has struck three consecutive generations of her family. Lori Macdonald explained that there is proof of genetic predisposition to the disease. It has been linked to two genes, and may well be passed from generation to generation. She also pointed out that it could be carried my the male offspring, and lay dormant only to reoccur in the next generation if the circumstances are right.

I posed the question of how large a factor is overall health and nutrition in prevention? There is evidence that risk factors can be lowered by nutrition, and avoiding a fatty diet.

Overall health is also a factor, a fit and healthy person who contracts breast cancer is far better able to fight the disease and cope with the treatment.

I will share a secret with you all, I had spent a good deal of time agonizing over what areas I should cover, and areas that might provide professional conflict for both Paul Deepan and Lori Macdonald. With Lori being a doctor, and Paul having been in the Pharmaceutical industry for a number of years there seemed like ample opportunity for me to open my mouth and insert both feet!

The program was ticking along nicely, they both seemed relaxed and open to ideas, so I put on my flak jacket and hat hat and decided to broach some of the more contentious subjects.

The potential role of alternative medicine in the treatment of not just breast cancer but any illness seemed like a subject likely to invoke world war three with these guests. I was completely wrong, they both feel that these are avenues that the scientific community should investigate. Possibly there is a natural wonder drug hiding in plain sight.

I heaved a sigh of relief, my guests were still talking to me!

I decided that I would broach another subject, one that through the ages has resulted in more than a few brutal deaths. Science and religion are often very poor bedfellows. So boldly going where no sane man should go, I asked about the role of spirituality (at this point I am in my atomic bomb shelter many feet under the earth, I am certain that I have just ignited a war).

Not so, both Lori and Paul are very spiritual people. They do believe that it plays a role. Paul is in fact a practitioner of Reiki, a healing process from Japan, and used it on Lori during her treatment phase.

Lori Macdonald also had some interesting observations on the subject of spiritualism. In particular what is termed ‘the will to live’.

It certainly gave me pause for thought, I am not a Doctor but in my life I have seen much anecdotal evidence.

If you missed the live broadcast you can listen the recording here. In fact you may also want to listen to the original program with Paul Deepan and Lori Macdonald here.

I also want to point out that Paul is donating 50% of the royalties from The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree to cancer research. If you know someone that is a fan of the fantasy genre, this would make the perfect gift. But I will warn you, Paul does not do cute fairies and frolicking pixies. In his own words “This is C.S. Lewis for adults”. You can read my review here, and my interview with him here.

Paul Deepan also has a web site.

Simon Barrett

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