Leilani Hurles has been battling ovarian cancer for several years now, but that has not held her back from living life and enjoying every minute possible. Even a trip for a PET scan or a chemo treatment she can turn into an adventure. When she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her friends kept wanting to know how she was, she began sending out Monday email updates; these weekly messages were filled not only with updates on her cancer, but her family’s antics. Finally, she was convinced to turn her emails into a book, which resulted in Ride, Baby, Ride! But that wasn’t enough for her fans, and nor has her cancer journey ended, so now she’s back in this follow-up book entitled, They’re Pistols and They’re Loaded. The title is a metaphor for Leilani and her daughter, Lani, who helped her with compiling the emails into a book and adding additional material, including recipes and tips on life, as well as being her overall moral support throughout the nearly eighteen months chronicled in this book.
Anyone who read Ride, Baby, Ride! will be thrilled to have Leilani back, flirting with her handsome doctors, keeping nurses in stitches, ready to pull a gun on a prowling cable repair man, or trying to keep up with her missing-hearing-aids-husband, Bill, and walker-using-ninety-eight-year-old-occasionally-buck-naked-father, whom she affectionately calls Magoo.
They’re Pistols and They’re Loaded has a little for everyone, including great pieces of wisdom. Leilani is like a guru for the modern woman, one who easily fits into her heroine Erma Bombeck’s shoes. From spirituality to common sense, Leilani is not afraid to speak her mind on any topic. Let me share a few of her nuggets of wisdom and forays into interesting topics.
Leilani has explored the world of spiritualism. For example, her daughter-in-law, Michele, gave her a special phone app to have contact with spirits. Ironically, her daughter-in-law soon after died from congestive heart failure. The result: “All I have to do to talk to Michele is turn on my app for Ghost Radar. She is always messing with me. We used to love to do that together and torment the spirits.”
She offers rare and refreshing insights into historical figures. For example, “In the past week, without the assistance of my faithful sidekick Lani, I have teetered with the thought of how many times Moses had to have cussed. This is something I may have brought up before, but it’s worth repeating. I mean, if in my little ‘nothing’ life, things get screwed up in major proportions to the point of grabbing the wine bottle, then how many times in Moses’ life (all 120 years of it) did that man partake of the grape? And…let it all out! I mean…parting seas and crossing deserts takes a lot out of you. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could part the traffic on I-10? Anyway, if the words that I’m thinking or that actually come out while I’m trying to stay calm and organized are worse than those of a sailor…I can only admire Moses for his patience and love for his people.”
And Leilani has a deep connection to art, literature, and cereal. For example, “Sometimes I feel like Huck—practical, full of good common sense, adaptable, and sympathetic. Other times, I feel like his buddy, Tom Sawyer—imaginative, a hopeless romantic, and full of life’s values. Then, at times, I feel like the last damn Cheerio in a bowl of cereal—soggy, dejected, but still floating! That’s how I felt after the MRI. Can’t imagine being one of Picasso’s women…with multiple boobs. Can you imagine what that MRI machine would look like?”
More than anything, They’re Pistols and They’re Loaded will keep you amazed at how Leilani is able to find humor in any situation. Although there is loss of family members, bad health news, and sickness in these pages, she is always looking for a way to cheer people up, and rather than feel sorry for herself, she is raising money for and increasing awareness of ovarian cancer. She is a woman who doesn’t know what it is to say, “No.” She is easily loveable, all her energy and enthusiasm coming through in these pages, and she will leave you thinking, “Where does she get her energy and optimism?” and maybe even “If she can find so much joy in life, despite everything she has gone through battling cancer, I have no reason to let anything hold me back.”
Go, Leilani, Go! Ride, Baby, Ride! We’ll be waiting for book three.
For more information about Leilani Hurles, Lani Polasek, their books, and to read Leilani’s weekly blog, visit Leilani’s website.