Diana Stumm, a physical therapist for breast cancer patients for nearly 30 years, describes the physical difficulties, such as severe pain and loss of motion, that patients may encounter after breast cancer surgery. Utilizing her experience and understanding of breast surgery and recovery, she writes eight concise and well-organized chapters on how to speed up the process of recovery. The tone is anecdotal, as she tells the story of numerous past patients struggling with their recovery. Using interesting dialogue about common breast-surgery recovery complications as well as the various treatments or rehabilitation procedures, Stumm tells an engaging story to recovering patients or soon-to-be ones of successful and self-fulfilling rehabilitation. "Terry was experiencing the most intense period of the skin hypersensitivity phase, which I call the 'novocaine effect.' During the first week after surgery, the skin of her upper inner arm was numb. Then, as feeling returned, she had predictable sensations of irritation and hypersensitivity. Now her arm felt sunburned and raw."
As she walks "Terry" through the exercises, Stumm concurrently coaches the reader in a nonthreatening and memorable way. Exercises and illustrations to help strengthen and restore full movement in one's arm texture the book as they relate to specific recovery stages. Stumm explains the complications that can happen after an implant and tissue transplant and illustrates exercises to help overcome them. In addition, she prepares readers for radiation and makes them aware of what to expect from the treatments. When asked whether treatments will make a patient sick, Stumm responds, "No. That's because your digestive tract is not exposed. You may well notice some fatigue, especially during the last few weeks. Your body feels drained of energy because it is working hard to repair normal cells damaged by the radiation. It is also tiring just to get yourself into the hospital every day for the treatments." Not only does Strumm provide a wealth of useful information, she does so with utmost compassion. --Cate Bick
Post-surgical experience rather than the usual pre-surgical decision-making process is the focus of an important coverage which explains what to do after breast surgery to encourage complete recovery. This outlines everything from physical restrictions and exercises to self-care, telling women just what they can expect in the weeks and months after surgery. Different surgeries are covered in an excellent title. -- Midwest Book Review