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Can You Come Here Where I Am? The Poetry and Prose of Seven Breast Cancer Survivors Paperback – July 1, 1998
From Library Journal
Rita Busch, Judy Klevins, Daena Kluegel, Jana Morgana, Helen Rash, Katherine Traynham, and Lesley Tyson formed the Write-Away Group after their Virginia breast cancer support group evolved into a writer's workshop. This is an anthology of works produced by that group. As with all anthologies, the styles and quality vary, from in-your-face, gut-wrenching prose to some good poetry to less-than-engaging accounts of life during and after diagnosis. Clearly, having breast cancer presents you with a shared experience but doesn't necessarily make you a brilliant writer. Still, all these women have something valuable to say. Everything by Traynham is wonderful, from the prolog, "Help Me," to "Alone," a poem on the need to let people into your life during cancer, to "Where Are the Men?" besides her husband at doctor's appointments and therapy. There have been excellent personal narratives (e.g., Joyce Wadler's My Breast, LJ 9/15/92) and collections of art and writings (Art.Rage.Us., LJ 7/98) by breast cancer survivors, but, in a way, can there ever be enough? Each woman, whether diagnosed or not, needs to hear what others have gone through. Their words will help us all heal. For public library collections.?Bette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"CAN YOU COME HERE WHERE I AM? provides great inspiration for countless breast cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. The book is a real-life testimony to the triumph of spiritual strength over physical adversity." ( Senator Bob Dole) "I...find it a lovely testament to women's courage as they face our most terrifying disease. This is a consoling and inspiring book." -- Dr. Bernadine Healy, M.D., Author, A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH; Dean, Ohio State University, College of Medicine and Public Health; Former Director, National Institutes of Health
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Portions have been reprinted, parts turned into lyrics for music (in an oratorio on breast cancer), pieces from it are still posted on oncolink.com, and the whole book has been used in medical schools... who would have thunk it?
There are many such books now on the individual and collective emotional experience of women going through breast cancer treatment - but when we wrote there were none, zero, zilch. We really did write the book we wish we'd had when diagnosed.
Four of us still survive. One died of cancer but not breast - ovarian. One is undergoing treatment 15 years later for another breast cancer. We all still hold our breath to one degree or another. Yet in 10 years, much has changed and there are now many more tools for women being diagnosed. If there is one thing we authors wanted you to know it is - don't despair!
I hope this book still holds the humor, the fear, the irreverence, and the hope that writing it provoked in all of us. You're not crazy - and you are not alone. I am the least courageous person in the world, so if I can do it....
The book is out of print but a supply exists at the sponsoring institution - Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, VA. God bless all the women with cancer and all the people who love them.
I began this book expecting to be depressed, but found myself laughing as well as crying at vagaries of the medical profession, the common ways we all deceive ourselves, and the ultimate hopefulness of spirit. This is not another book about how to deal with diagnosis, nor is it the narrative of a miracle. It is the lyrical (and sometimes in-your-face) story of the ordinary and extraordinary events that punctuate all our lives.
A wonderful book for anyone touched by breast cancer - survivor, family member or friend - and I suppose that includes all of us.