Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Don't Fear the Big Dogs Paperback – May 31, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Bill Vancil's determination and sense of humor mark this remarkable memoir, which gives valuable insight into proton radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Filled cover to cover with personal inspiration, drive, and dedication
--Midwest Book Review
From the Publisher
"When Bill Vancil was diagnosed with prostate cancer he raced to find a cure. In the process, he found the symmetry that was his life. Choosing proton radiation treatment at Loma Linda University Medical Center in southern California, he and daughter Tori Lou embarked on a 'once in a lifetime' journey of discovery that covered over seven thousand miles. More than a book about cancer, it is a must-read story for anyone who thinks, feels, hopes and prays. Emotion flows through tears, laughter and discovery; taking a little of each of us along for the ride. There's enlightenment in every chapter."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
One issue that piqued my interest in this volume: the author is from my home town in Illinois. He worked in Peoria and the Quad Cities, and many of the little details from his earlier life resonate with me, because of similar experiences.
The first odyssey features his efforts to determine the best way to fight his cancer. This included a tussle with his insurance company, which was loathe to pay for "experimental" therapy. It details the surgery demanded by the insurance company as it considered whether or not to pay for some/all of his treatment. It provides detail on the proton therapy, with enough information about the mechanics of the process to enlighten the reader. Here, too, his book is an advertisement for tests for prostate cancer and, in that sense, does a valuable service.
The second odyssey, as noted above, is the time in California with his daughter and their trip back to Madison. Kind of a nice relationship is detailed between father and daughter. She improved her skateboarding, learned to surf, developed a friendship with Sebastian (a "big dog," although the term big dog is used several different ways in this book), and became friends with other kids. Then, when his treatment was completed, father and daughter drove up the coast, through Big Sur. Then (following a trip I once took) Interstate 80 to the Midwest. They stayed each night at places such as Reno, Wendover (Utah), Cheyenne, and Lincoln (Nebraska). Finally, Madison.
This is an unpretentious book, telling a simple story. But a story that works at two levels of odyssey. . . .
Their fight included an amazing cross country trip, chronicled in this book and it reads like an adventure tale while giving some hope and some vital information to prostate cancer sufferers.
Prostate cancer is relatively common, yet slower growing than some cancers, especially in older men. There are a variety of screens for this cancer, and some innovative treatments. But even though there is much hope, the journey to healing is always an uphill fight, and the Vancils tell a dramatic story. Vancil, as a seasoned broadcaster and owner of radio stations, knows how to tell a good story with drama, humor and horror, too. This is a very "feeling" book with something that may resonate with you or someone you know. Recommended reading for human interest and definitely for cancer patients.
Many people confronting a potentially fatal medical problem would be inclined to ask "Why me?" But, not Bill Vancil. Faced with prostate cancer, he immediately researched potential cures for his condition. Not only did he succeed in conquering the cancer through a little known solution - proton radiation therapy - but Bill rediscovered his own humanity and spirituality in the process.
Don't Fear the Big Dogs is a meaningful and educational book everyone should read; it examines the second highest cancer related man-killer that men need to know about. It also is a moving story of bonding between a 63-year-old father and his 13-year-old daughter. Tori Lou's inspiration is apparent in the spirit of the author's description of their adventure together.
During six weeks in California and the trip home to Wisconsin, Bill and Tori Lou marveled at the world around them and discovered the world within them. The remarkable bonding of an older dad and a teenager ascending into adolescence is the soul of the book. At the heart of the book is an important message to men and their families facing the challenge of prostate cancer. By reading and re-reading Bill's inspiring story I am moved to conclude there are no coincidences.