Sunday, June 25, 2006

Communism: It's a Party!

I've read so many times by so many people how they hold it together so well during the whole diagnosis and surgery part, and then ten or however many months later, they just fall apart, for "seemingly" no reason.

Until I read the reviews on a book called "Dancing in Limbo: Making Sense of Life After Cancer," I wondered why I reacted so similarly in my own life.

It breaks my heart to see people going through this phase, thinking they're crazy or that they are falling apart at an inappropriate time. The truth is, there is no inappropriate time. They think, like I did, that we have no right to feel the way we feel, to feel overwhelmed, to hurt no matter what the current diagnosis, no matter if we're NED.

We all deal with this differently, and I just want people to know that- it's okay to feel this way. It's okay to break down. And it's SO NORMAL. When I read the reviews to this book, I understood for the first time that it was okay to feel the way I did, that it was typical step in the process of fighting cancer, and that people really understood. I want to share some of that info here, so others know, too.

All the best, and keep up the good fight.


Different readers posted these reviews on I hope they help.

"Here's a book that finally tells the truth about living in limbo. For those who are surviving cancer, it provides validation, support, and guidance in coping with the threat of recurrence ... a process that stretches into the years following a cancer diagnosis. For families, friends, and health professionals, it eloquently and powerfully portrays the emotional experience of life after cancer—helping us to better understand, admire, and learn from those who have had to confront their mortality and are forever changed by this experience."

"I immediately wanted to recommAnd this book to my patients. [It] will serve as a roadmap to help cancer patients to anticipate feelings and stages of the coping process. It will help demystify the complex and often baffling set of experiences on the uncertain path of cancer survivorship."

"Dancing in Limbo leads readers through the dark morass of grief over so many losses to the new, positive identity of a survivor. The authors, Glenna and Lisa, quickly become companion travelers, offering wise counselor and helpful insights that guide the reader through what otherwise would remain an agonizing worry and darkness."

When you visit the health section of your local bookstore, you'll find a plethora of information about getting through a cancer diagnosis, and very little about how to adjust to life after cancer. As the founder of a cancer support group, I believe that survivors are leaving our hospitals in droves - unprepared.

When a cancer patient "graduates" from treatments, she might exit the hospital floor amidst claps, cheers, and balloons. Her loved ones can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief, for she is out of the worst danger. Everyone wants to celebrate and get on with LIFE!

But the feelings inside the patient leaving the crisis behind may be those that she never expected: anxiety, fear, uncertainty, confusion. She leaves the constant medical care that has saved her life. She leaves attachments that grew when she was under incredible stress. She enters a world where everything is okay, but she doesn't feel okay. What does she do next? What meaning can she add to her life after all of this? How does she make sense of everything that she has learned because of cancer? How does she relate now to her healthy friends when she feels tired, hurting, different, or disabled? These are the issues cancer survivors dance with for the rest of their lives.

This book addresses, in a personal and realistic way, the effects of cancer on our lives - after treatment is finished. The authors interviewed dozens of cancer survivors and received the candid responses that you'd expect from those who have been through it all and want to help others.

One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the discussion of how people handle trauma psychologically. It helped me understand the different approaches we each take to cope and make sense of a cancer crisis. I am now more accepting of others who view their cancer experience in a different light than I view mine.

I also came to a deeper awareness of how my cancer affected my loved ones, how the process of dealing with diagnosis and treatment is so different for them than for the patient. This showed me why my loved-ones may not fully understand, or want to think about, what life *after* cancer is like for me. ..

If you love someone who is finishing treatment, or if you have finished treatment within the last few years, I urge you to buy this book. It may be more expensive than the other books out there, but it is SO worth it. This is the perfect cancer graduation gift! Just giving someone this book shows them that you understand their battle for a full life doesn't end with treatment. I wish I could give it to every survivor I know." ---

"I can't remember who suggested this book to me while I was recovering from surgery and radiation for liposarcoma in my leg. It must've been someone from my online support group.
At the time I was physically recovering but mentally I had stalled and I couldn't understand why. Everything had gone as well as possible but still I was just moving in slow-motion, numb and kind of confused.
This book has a few basic elements that will apply to everyone who has been affected by cancer, the most important being that you will never find the old "normal" again, and that's why so many survivors feel lost during their recovery. Your old goal is gone but this book will help shed some light on the process, how it works, how it affects people and how you are not alone in your feelings."

"This book made all the difference to me when I finished my first rounds of chemotherapy back in 1998. Glenna and Lisa help make sense of the conflict we feel when our "active" role in fighting cancer is over, when we feel abandoned by our doctors and support networks.

I've recommended this book many times to others currently in treatment, and they are astounded that they could ever "miss" going for their weekly chemo. Incredibly, the feeling is very common! I like to go back to the book on occasion myself; although I've been in active treatment for 3 years now, there are still times I find myself reaching for the wisdom and clarity that Glenna and Lisa bring to what is a bizarre, scary, demoralizing time.

Highest recommendation!"

"Thank you so much for this wonderful book! I have been a caregiver for my husband for the past 9 months. Once he got a "clean" bill of health I didn't know what to do with myself. I thought I was going crazy! You take charge and be the rock for so long and then all of the sudden you don't have to do all this stuff anymore. I went and saw a counselor at the cancer center and explained what I was feeling. She said I was right on schedule and I wasn't crazy. She suggested this book and I tell you what it was a life saver!!!!! Everytime I would be going through a moment I would read the book and I was right on schedule!!!! Scary!!!! I would recomend it to anyone who is dealing with life after cancer. Thank you so very much!!!!!!"
- Peggy Coffey

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