I just read a gem of a book by breast cancer survivor Bob Riter, Executive Director of Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes: Elephant in the Room: Practical Advice When the Diagnosis is Cancer.
As the subtitle suggests, you'll find homespun words that can help you or a loved one dealing with a new diagnosis, treatment or recovery. Topics are wide-ranging, such as
- How Old is Too Old to Treat Cancer?
- Telling the Kids
- When a Partner is in Denial
- Holiday Gifts for Those with Serious Illness
- Helping Those We Don't Like
What I especially appreciated were Riter's presentation, tone and brevity. As you know from this blog, I believe less is more when dealing with health issues. This book weighs in at 128 pages, with 2-3 pages of relatively large-font text devoted to each topic.
Riter's uniquely smart-but-folksy voice works well when tackling straightforward issues like blood donations or complex, existential issues like the nature of hope after cancer.
This is what Riter wrote about one commonly used phrase: "I think a better phrase than 'being strong' is 'being connected.' That's what a person with cancer most needs -- the sense that a loved one will be there and be connected for whatever comes."
If you are looking for a gift to give people whose lives are touched by cancer, Elephant in the Room is just what the doctor ordered.
Click here for an uplifting, brief interview with Ritter.