A Memoir of I.V. Drips and Rocket Ships
The youngest American to ever orbit the earth—cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux—shows us all that when we face our fears with hope and faith, extraordinary things can happen.
“A potent reminder to all of us that nothing on earth—or in the heavens, for that matter—can keep us from becoming commanders of our own destiny.”—Marlo Thomas, actor, author, and national outreach director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
In this boldly optimistic debut memoir, Hayley Arceneaux details how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to grab hold of a life greater than she’d ever imagined. With her signature upbeat messaging, Arceneaux recounts her odyssey, from her cancer diagnosis at age ten and the yearlong treatment that inspired her goal of working with pediatric cancer patients, to living through her father’s terminal cancer diagnosis, to getting her lifelong dream job at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a physician assistant. She was sure she’d finally attained the life she wanted, and then the amazing and unimaginable happened: She was invited to go to space as a St. Jude ambassador.
Throughout the book, Arceneaux encourages readers to fight for the life they want, saying, You have to hold on, because you don’t know what great thing can come and change your life. Take the chance and you will feel, and learn, and grow, and become even more you. Following your dreams can take you to dreams you didn’t know you had.
Arceneaux’s uplifting story is the inspiration we all need today. She offers wisdom and lessons in courage to anyone fighting against the odds. And through it all, she reveals how resilience and faith can help us grab hold of the life we’ve always wanted and live it to the fullest.
Physician assistant Arceneaux debuts with an inspiring memoir about surviving pediatric cancer and becoming, at age 29, the youngest American to visit space. She recounts how her "idyllic" childhood was disrupted by a bone cancer diagnosis when she was 10, kick-starting several arduous years of surgeries and treatments. The author maintained a humorous outlook as she underwent chemotherapy at St. Jude's hospital in Memphis and nicknamed her physical therapists the "queen of torture" and the "princess of pain." She details the heartbreaking challenges she faced after beating cancer and returning to school as she struggled to catch up academically and fit in socially. In college, the author, inspired by the hospital staff who cared for her as a child, decided to become a physician's assistant and in 2021 fulfilled her dream of working at St. Jude. Soon after, she was asked to partake in the first all-civilian SpaceX mission as an ambassador for St. Jude, and she credits God for the opportunity: "My life couldn't have worked out like this without Someone setting it in motion." The author's upbeat attitude keeps the tone positive even as she discusses losing her hair to chemo and the grueling series of major surgeries she had between the ages of 10 and 15, illustrating why St. Jude staff dubbed her the "Gratitude Administrator" when she was a patient. This uplifting tale soars.