In August 2002, driving home from a family vacation in Oregon, the car with Nancy, her husband, Arthur, and their seven-year-old son was struck head-on by a Chevy Silverado pickup truck. All three were seriously injured, and Arthur, who was driving, was not expected to survive. Nancy tended to her family and began to write this memoir about the accident and its effects. Then, in 2003, with the family far from healed, Nancy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and began treatment. The Rubber Orchestra, told in two voices, focuses on the time from the accident until June 2006, when Nancy was cancer free. Living and writing with humor, strength, insight, and her usual no-nonsense attitude, Nancy describes how the family bounced back from disaster and was finally looking forward and "behaving as if we have a future." Then her cancer returned. She was finishing the memoir when she died in January 2012.