But Not Today is a story of courage and hope. At age fifty, while planning a dream trip to Italy, Doree O’Connell is diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer. Instead of wandering the ancient cobbled streets and piazzas of Rome, O’Connell finds herself in the back of an ambulance transporting her through an epic storm to UCSF Medical Center, four hours away, for brain surgery. The wife of a prominent California elected official, O’Connell fights her private battle on a public stage, becoming a brain cancer warrior and tireless advocate of cancer research. After learning the grim survival rate of someone with her disease, O’Connell vows to aim for a decade of life lived to the fullest. She draws on her deep reserves of optimism and courage to squeeze every drop of joy and meaning out of her remaining twelve years—including making that trip to Italy one year after diagnosis.
With a BA in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a lifelong goal of becoming a writer, O’Connell chronicles her brain tumor journey in this poignant memoir that is sure to inspire her readers to embrace life as a gift, whether that life is measured in days, weeks, months, or years.
O’Connell died in July 2018 and leaves behind her husband and daughter, a large extended family, and a host of loving and loyal friends.