From Publishers Weekly
Another in a recent spate of books by breast cancer survivors, this clearly written guide focuses on managing the unpleasant aspects of chemotherapy and radiation. Bernard, a film critic for the New York Daily News, discovered that she had breast cancer in 1996 when she was still in her 30s. She describes herself as "flustered, unprepared, agitated" by the diagnosis. After a lumpectomy, the author had nine months of chemo and seven weeks of radiation; five years later, she's doing fine. She details here the different types of chemotherapy and the variety of side effects that may accompany treatment. Some women may be put off by the sheer volume of information, but others will value the suggestions offered for dealing with digestive problems, fatigue and depression. And, of course, hair loss. "Not everyone is such a princess about their hair as I was," quips Bernard, but plenty of readers will be grateful for stylistic minutiae about wig shopping, wig alternatives and eyebrow essentials. And they will certainly appreciate her humor: "A cleanly shaved head looks a whole lot better than, as my sister liked to call it, Fright on Bald Mountain." Although lethargy may also accompany radiation, its major side effect is redness and burning sensations on the skin. Bernard gives helpful advice on combating this condition, including using doctor-approved moisturizers and wearing loose tops. Similar in tone to Barbara Delinsky's Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, Bernard's positive book encourages developing coping skills, eating healthily, taking advantage of breast cancer support groups and, most importantly, staying in control of one's life.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Bernard, film critic for the New York Daily News and humor columnist for MAMM magazine, fills a gap in the breast cancer adjuvant therapy canon with this comprehensive and very funny book. Diagnosed in 1996, Bernard limits her text predominantly to the two items in breast cancer treatment that are the most frightening and least understood: chemotherapy and radiation. She begins at the beginning, describing every procedure from Day One: what to wear, what to do, how to deal with hair loss, how the radiation mold is made, etc. There are sidebars with tips and lists, informative headnotes, and a glossary. Bernard also covers relationships with friends, support groups, and alternative vs. complementary therapies. In the process, she is knee-slapping, wet-your-pants funny. As on the side effect of shopaholism: "Just as you shouldn't operate heavy machinery after taking a sedative, a woman who is battling breast cancer should not be allowed anywhere near her credit cards." This is a terrific book, with solid information presented in a warm and very accessible manner. All women diagnosed with breast cancer should read it; falling down laughing is good for one's health.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.