Friday, June 18, 2010
Book Review: After Breast Cancer
For those breast cancer patients finishing treatment or who have finished treatment, I highly recommend After Breast Cancer: A Common-Sense Guide to Life After Treatment by Hester Hill Schnipper. This book is filled with excellent information on what to expect after breast cancer treatment.
Many valuable books have been written on being diagnosed with breast cancer and what it is like to undergo treatments. But Schnipper's After Breast Cancer is necessary for people who have lived through treatments and now must face the very difficult post-breast cancer world.
And she should know. An oncology social worker who has worked for years helping women through breast cancer psychosocial support programs, the author found herself diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and a second primary breast cancer in 2005. Being on the clinician and patient sides of the spectrum, Schnipper was the perfect person to write this book.
This step-by-step primer on coping after breast cancer offers information and tips on navigating life after breast cancer diagnosis and treatments -- from the first few weeks after treatment ends to the first few months -- as well as physical and emotional recovery, fertility issues with young breast cancer survivors, and various work and family issues that survivors face.
The book reads beautifully, thanks to Schnipper's easy-flowing writing style. I couldn't put it down, and even though I have been out of treatment for years, the book resonated deeply with me. As a breast cancer survivor, I know first-hand the post-cancer fears and vulnerability the author writes about.
This book works as a type of support system for those facing a post-cancer life. Readers who are finishing treatment or have finished treatment will find this book immensely helpful and will feel that they are not alone: For many survivors, the hardest part of the breast cancer experience is acclimating to a world that mistakenly believes that once breast cancer and its treatments are "over," that it's really all "over," and the breast cancer survivor should now return to "normal."
The truth is, life after cancer is exceedingly difficult -- physically and emotionally -- and the author has the courage, honesty, and integrity to focus on this important topic.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the beautiful, touching foreward by the author's husband, Lowell E. Schnipper, a medical oncologist at the same hospital that the author works at: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Schnipper's foreward was so moving, it brought me to tears. As a physician and the husband of a breast cancer patient and now-survivor, he is on the professional and personal side of the breast cancer spectrum, and I cannot think of a better person to have written this foreward.
After Breast Cancer: A Common-Sense Guide to Life After Treatment is a must-read for those facing the aftermath of breast cancer. The book helps readers understand how to better make the transition from patient to survivor.
To order the book on Amazon, click here.
Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She writes about a potpourri of topics, including motherhood and her Chinese adoption experience at http://currents-living-discovery.blogspot.com/, and her cat Hemi blogs at http://www.catterchatter.blogspot.com/. Beth teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She has a guest posting on The World's Strongest Librarian at http://worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/3597/sharing-a-loved-ones-pain-guest-post-by-beth-gainer/.She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.