In "The Healing Power of a Selfie" I shared an essay by Melanie Di Stante. She also wrote a children's book for families dealing with cancer.
If you ever wondered if you might be at increased risk of cancer because a family member has or had cancer, this book is for you: A Cancer in the Family by Theodora Ross, MD, PhD.
This new book offers insights into where we are in curing cancer: The Death of Cancer: After 50 Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer is Winnable -- and What We Need to Do to Get There.
New Beginnings: The Triumph of 120 Cancer Survivors captivated and surprisingly inspired me. It breathed new life into one of my core beliefs about Healthy Survivorship: People can set the stage for living as fully as possible by choosing to use their illness as a positive force in their life.
You can hate math and not give a whit about statistics. But if you care about your health, you will finish up your summer reading with a fantastic new book: Naked Statistics. Stripping the Dread from the Data.
How you sound is as important as what words you choose. If you appear confident of being able to deal with your illness and help your children – even if you shed a few tears – they will feel comforted.
Parents going through chemo often struggle to explain their alopecia (hair loss) to their young children. The rhyming verse in Nowhere Hair offers a healing conversation-starter that is both whimsical and profound.
Writers choose words and phrases with care. In all my years of writing, only once or twice have I repeated a sentence word-for-word in a single essay. So when surgeon Nuland did so in How We Die, I took notice.
Most pages of my copy of Nuland's How We Die sport underlinings and check marks. On page 72, though, I drew a big question mark in the margin beside a paragraph that preceded another that earned a "great insight!"
Dr. Nuland opens Chapter 2 of How We Die saying, "No one dies of old age, or so it would be legislated if actuaries ruled the world." Later in the chapter he introduces a perspective on aging that can serve Healthy Survivors well.
My recent posts have discussed some of the difficulties of modern medical decision-making in the context of PSA testing for prostate cancer. A new book by Harvard oncologist Jerome Groopman and Harvard endocrinologist Pamela Hartzband offers help to Healthy Survivors: Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What is Right for You.
Partly because a good friend of mine is a family lawyer. Anything that gives me insight into her world helps me be a better friend.
Your doctor dictates into your chart, "The patient is tolerating treatment well." Huh? After every treatment you feel nauseated, lightheaded, weak, headachy and, in a word, miserable. What does your doctor mean by "tolerating treatment well"?
The Dallas Morning News ran a story on the front page of today's Health section entitled, What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient. For the article, special contributor Melissa T. Schultz interviewed me, two other survivors (scroll through photographs) and Dr. Walter Baile of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC).
Inconceivable is the story of a couple who became pregnant with the wrong embryo. Early on, we learn that church and religion had played central roles in the lives of Carolyn and Sean Savage. When faced with their health crisis, their church became a source of both support and additional pain.
To further our discussion of Healthy Survivorship -- what it is and how to achieve it -- let's look at it in the context of a medical challenge that is not an illness or injury.
Henry Kaplan, The Gentle Giant.
He was the first giant I'd ever seen. My chance meeting occurred on an otherwise uneventful afternoon in radiation oncology at Stanford....
Mutual understanding helps build strong bonds, including those between clinicians and patients. How can patients learn more about the world of the clinicians who care for them? One way is by reading true stories of clinical encounters.
An aphorism from the business world may help on the path to Healthy Survivorship: The current system is perfectly designed to deliver the results it does.
So if you don't like the way things are going under the circumstances, change something! Today I am blogging about changing how you walk.
When I was first diagnosed, my medical background made me more prepared than most for the physical and emotional challenges of cancer treatment. What blindsided me were the medical and emotional issues that arose after completion of treatment.
When in training, I had to rotate through each specialty before I could become board certified in internal medicine. I remember telling my new husband how much I loved learning about (fill in whatever my current rotation).
"So are you thinking of specializing?" he'd ask.
"Imagine you know you have only a few months to live. What would you do with your remaining time?"
Jane Brody, the NY Times Personal Health columnist, has been guiding Americans on matters of health since 1965. On occasion she offers readers a glimpse into her personal life, such as the time she described the uncontrolled pain she suffered following her knee replacements.
This week, Jane Brody shares a deeply personal life event in real time: the dying of her husband of 43 years.
Cancer did not make my life uncertain. Cancer simply exposed the uncertainty of life.
This insight helps me accept the uncertainty of survivorship, but it doesn't help me deal with uncertainty. So here's one that does:
You've survived cancer. Now a friend develops the same type of cancer and is making horrible decisions (in your opinion). She's declining conventional therapies for a treatable cancer or deciding against telling her children she is sick. What's a good friend to do?
You will never hear me call cancer or any other horrible disease a "gift." So how can I talk of happiness when dealing with Alzheimer's Disease (AD)?
The Biorkman family celebrated Christmas last week. November 8th, to be exact. Is their calendar messed up? No, their timing was perfect.
Jane Brody's Personal Health column today discusses a model nursing home in Florida. I want to draw your attention to the second half of the article, which highlights the book, Taking Charge: Good Medical Care for the Elderly and How to Get It.
A trying time of survivorship is the interval between knowing you might have a problem and learning your exact diagnosis. Why? Because you can't reassure yourself you are okay - or are going to be okay - if doctors are ordering tests for the purpose of finding out if you are okay or are going to be okay.
I expected to blog about Jamie Reno's new book, Hope Begins in the Dark, but only after I'd finished reading it. I am enjoying the short pieces by a wide variety of lymphoma survivors too much to wait. Reno, an acclaimed Newsweek journalist, singer-songwriter and lymphoma survivor believed a book that shared stories of survivors would be inspiring and informative to people just starting out or struggling with their cancer journey.
If you haven't seen the video, "The Last Lecture" by Professor Randy Pausch, try to carve out 75 minutes from your schedule to hear what this model Healthy Survivor has to say about life.
Healthy Survivors get good care. And good care depends on healing doctor-patient relationships. But what happens when your doctors talk only in physicalist scientific terms, and you want (or need) to talk about your illness in terms of spiritual or emotional imbalance? Throughout history patients have told stories about their illnesses in order to deal with existential questions, such as "Why me?"
The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine - Anne Harrington - Book Review - New York Times Yesterday I read this excellent review of a new book about the age-old question of the mind-body connection and its role in healing. Dr. Groopman says the author did a masterful job of retracing the history of the “stories” people use to give meaning to our suffering when we are sick or injured.