When he was first diagnosed with cancer his junior year of high school, Benjamin Rubenstein, author of TWICE How I Became A Cancer-Slaying Super Man by Before I Turned 21, never thought he would write about it. Take your licks and move on, Benjamin Rubenstein thought to himself. Some scars, a limp and a year later, that's exactly what he did - he moved on.
Benjamin was all about winning. The idea of writing about how he beat cancer was strong. It pulsed through his brain until he could no longer ignore it. "You don't have to read in order to write, do you?" Benjamin reasoned. Okay, the people writing about cancer were not cool, but then he was never very cool to begin with. And he was young. He didn't have years of spiritual growth and reading philosophy to base his survival techniques on. Benjamin had Saturday morning television with its superhero cartoons and he had comic books. He had a few movies that had inspired him. "In short, I had Superman," Benjamin recalls. "I had Rocky. I could write about how Superman saved my life."
Now that the pop culture basis for his survival was clear in his mind, Bejamin decided he had to keep his writing real. He explains: "I started with the title 'I've Still Got Both My Nuts: A True Cancer Story' for three reasons:
1) I do, in fact, still have both my testicles. Not only is this fact true, but all the facts that I present are true. True is good.
2) I wanted to allude to my great cancer hero, Lance Armstrong, who no longer has both of his. That is the only thing I have on cancer's poster boy.
3) The Ewing's sarcoma, gnawing away at my left hip, came perilously close to my groin. My parents sent me to the sperm bank to make a deposit in case the chemotherapy made me sterile. But I emerged from the toxicity intact."
Benjamin decided to become a celebrity like all the people who wrote memoirs by starting a blog. He debated how many Web site hits he would need to be considered famous. Was it somewhere in the five digits or somewhere in the sevens? He still doesn't know. The night Benjamin posted his first entry, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007, the combination of fear and excitement left him feeling restless. While walking around campus the following day, he was nervous. Did these other students know about the blog? Did they know he had had cancer twice? The answer was a decisive no, since his blog was still in the four-digit hit range. Benjamin was not famous - yet. Today Benjamin has some loyal fans who think fame is on the way to him. He has been cited by Newsweek and the New York Times. "Now you must ask yourself," Ben instructs his readers, "if you'd like to meet fame before it begins. Perhaps a young Keanu Reeves before 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,' or Jared before the Subway diet?"
Benjamin Rubenstein's book TWICE: How I Became A Cancer-Slaying Super Man Before I Turned 21 is coming out on September 27, 2010, from Woodley Books. You can order a copy at his website benjaminrubenstein.com. But if you are like Benjamin and don't like to read books, you can check out his progress on the celebrity and cancer fronts at his blog BenjaminRubenstein.blogspot.com.
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