100 Questions & Answers About Life After Cancer: A Survivor’s Guide
By Page Tolbert, LCSW, and Penny Damaskos, LCSW, OSWC
Jones and Bartlett Publishers
Two oncology social workers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Post-Treatment Resource Program have compiled this informative guide aimed at the more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States. Thoughtful and straightforward, Tolbert and Damaskos address even the thorniest questions of identity (“When should I consider myself a cancer survivor?”), uncertainty (“Every time I have an ache or pain, I think the cancer is back. Will I ever get over that?”) and practicality (“Can I get life insurance now that my treatment is over?”) as they pertain to family, work, sex, health and other areas. Also included: a comprehensive appendix of survivorship resources.
The Last Beach Bungalow
By Jennie Nash
Like its author, the heroine of this debut novel is a writer and breast cancer survivor living in Southern California. As the story begins, April Newton is celebrating five cancer-free years but also mourning the closeness she and her husband, Rick, once had. While he builds their new dream house, she secretly longs for a 1928 beach bungalow whose recently widowed owner is seeking “a buyer with heart.” Nash, the author of The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming: And Other Lessons I Learned from Breast Cancer, traces April’s path as she becomes consumed with winning the essay contest that carries the bungalow as its prize and, in the process, finds her way home.
By Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph.D., and Jacqueline Nardi Egan
The authors of this encyclopedic guide, vetted by a panel of medical experts, decode a head-to-toe inventory of symptoms. The book offers explanations for conditions from the common (hair loss, wrinkles) to the embarrassing (bad breath, changes in urine) to the downright bizarre (ever hear of “foreign accent syndrome”?). It includes some of the warning signs for breast, ovarian and other cancers but maintains a wide focus, making it a useful tool for determining whether an ache, itch, cough or bump merits a doctor’s visit.
The Middle Place
By Kelly Corrigan
Corrigan’s tender and humorous book is as much a love letter as it is a memoir of illness. Shortly after undergoing treatment for breast cancer, she learned that her father, “Greenie”—an outgoing man devoted to his family, Catholic faith and lacrosse—had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The book’s title refers to Corrigan’s difficult position as a mother of young children who still yearns to be Daddy’s little girl, even as her role starts to shift from daughter to caretaker. (An excerpt from this book appears in the “On My Mind” column)
Pretty Is What Changes:
Impossible Choices, the Breast Cancer Gene, and How I Defied My Destiny
By Jessica Queller
Spiegel & Grau
Television writer Queller (Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Felicity) watched her glamorous fashion-designer mother beat breast cancer, only to succumb to ovarian cancer six years later. In 2004, the year after her mother’s death, Queller underwent genetic testing and learned that she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. Thirty-five and single, she faced an agonizing choice: Should she have her breasts and ovaries removed before cancer had a chance to develop, or keep her body and fertility intact until she achieved her dream of marriage and children? An unvarnished story of a controversial decision.
Complementary Cancer Care:
Your Healing Plan
HealthMark Multimedia, LLC
This interactive CD-ROM lets you explore complementary treatments tailored to your specific needs. First, select your phase of the “cancer journey”: newly diagnosed, in treatment, undergoing tests, dealing with side effects or living with advanced cancer. Then choose up to two specific goals, such as “promote recovery from surgery,” “reduce fatigue” or “strengthen my immune system.” The program then makes personalized suggestions from more than a dozen approaches to wellness, including the physical (massage, yoga, acupuncture, Reiki), the metaphysical (imagery, hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback), the chemical (glutamine, zinc, capsaicin) and the psychological (counseling, support groups, music therapy), with detailed information about each. For a preview or to order the CD, visit HealthMark's Web site.
I Am Not My Breast Cancer:
Women Talk Openly About Love & Sex,
Hair Loss & Weight Gain, Mothers & Daughters,
and Being a Woman with Breast Cancer
By Ruth Peltason
William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers
Two-time survivor Peltason created a Web site exclusively for women with breast cancer to share candid comments capturing all aspects of their experience. More than 800 women from around the world responded, ranging from the newly diagnosed to longtime survivors to those living with advanced-stage disease. Participants, identified by screen names like Warrior, ScaredSilly and Stillhere, offer heartfelt—and heartbreaking—thoughts and feelings about diagnosis and treatment, family and relationships, work, faith, body image and other topics. The depth and breadth of their writing makes this a unique and often moving volume.