Getting Past the Fear: A Guide to Help You Mentally Prepare for Chemotherapy 1st Edition
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 2.88 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 0615955924
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615955926
- Paperback : 74 pages
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.17 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Nancy Stordahl; 1st edition (March 31, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,529,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I emphasize that this is a slim volume for a reason: when one has been diagnosed with cancer and is about to undergo chemotherapy, oh, there's a lot of stuff to read. There's too much to read on the internet. A lot of it isn't true. Most of it is frightening. Some of it is helpful and some isn't.
This book lays out, in plain, bare language, some key issues to think about. It doesn't overwhelm a reader who's already overwhelmed. It's not an encyclopedia or a medical textbook or a cookbook or a spiritual retreat. One may go elsewhere for those things.
It says: these are issues to think about. Now. When you're in a state of fear and panic, knowing what to think about is the first step. Questions first, answers later.
Nancy Stordahl is a fine writer and a blogger. She writes and blogs about having survived breast cancer and about a host of related issues. She's an advocate for women who have metastatic breast cancer, the kind that rarely gets talked about because it's not now curable. She takes on a lot of the mythology around breast cancer survivorship and how some of the big-name fundraising groups appropriate the cancer cause for their own ends.
When I first started reading the many breast cancer blogs out there, I recognized Nancy as a kindred spirit when I read her taking apart the idea that "cancer is a gift." It's not. Knowing that someone articulate has the same take on things helps a great deal.
In her book, she starts by advising someone soon to undergo chemo to give themselves permission to feel just how terrifying it is, and to ask for help and to get as much information as one can. That will take a different form for every person. Some of us will scream, cry, hide in our bed, organize lists, study the internet (or not), join support groups, take a chemo class at the local cancer center it it's available.
The book takes on some of the issues the doctors and nurses won't or can't address. They don't have time and it's not part of their job to tell you where and how to go get a wig, or two, let alone the useful accessories that go with it. There are lots of resources out there. Again, this book is a guide to what one should consider, not what the right answer is. We're all unique.
Nancy recommends journaling during one's chemo experience. That may be a lifesaver for some. Personally, though I've written all my life, I was unable to write much during chemo. I didn't try to document my experience as it was happening. I remember it well. What I needed to do during chemo was to get out of my head. I knitted and walked daily. During chemo sessions and the recovery days, I knitted myself a lace shawl that I now have and wear and look at and remember chemo. I also listened to a lot of healing sound CDs, also to get out of the verbal mode.
Nancy's book prompts one to follow one's own program.
That goes for getting through the nitty-gritty of chemo days and post-chemo days. Some type of organization is key, whether it's making sure to have the fridge stocked and the laundry already done, or arranging rides and babysitters, or making sure one has something nice to do during the long hours of the chemo drip.
Planning ahead -- even reading this book and thinking ahead -- gives a person back some of the control that is inherently lost when one gets a cancer diagnosis and is then swept into the whirlwind of treatment decisions and appointments.
The book ends with one of my favorite quotes: "What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
We cannot control the future and we need not lament the past. What really matters, during and after cancer treatment, is knowing how we, as a unique individual, are going to face it.
This simple, straightforward book tells us that we CAN find our way through the fear.
I felt I had my own therapist while I was reading this book. The best part of it was that my "therapist" has already been through the experience of facing cancer and endured all that comes with a cancer diagnosis. I felt as if someone was inside my head, aware of my fears and emotions. This is why I think this book would be a great tool for anyone who is about to face chemo therapy as it clearly puts things into perspective.
This guide covers all the basics. The information is straight forward and to the point. It's a very quick and easy-to-read guide. Once you start reading it, I hope that you too feel the same level of comfort that I felt.