"I am not my breast, and I am not cancer; they are only pieces of who I am. What is my heart like, am I kind, strong, loving, compassionate. . . . Those are the things that count."
I Am Not My Breast Cancer gathers the warm, loving, frank, and informed voices of more than 800 women-from every state in the nation and from continents as far away as Australia and Africa-who reveal their fears, trade advice, share experiences, and express their deepest, most intimate concerns. Nothing before this groundbreaking book has captured the real experience of breast cancer. It is essential reading for any woman with this diagnosis.
I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women the companionship of other women dealing with this disease. Ruth Peltason, who has twice undergone treatment for breast cancer, has woven their stories together while maintaining the authenticity of their voices. These are ordinary women dealing with this cancer and its many ramifications. They range in age from their early twenties to their late seventies. They are the collective face of breast cancer today. Their comments are moving, sometimes funny, always honest. They speak out on every topic, from lovemaking and intimacy to losing their hair, from juggling the day-to-day realities of being a patient, mother, wife, and coworker to the overwhelming worries about their own mortality. Remarkably, they emerge with grace and optimism and a determination not to be defined by disease.
Taking the reader chronologically through the stages of diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and self-discovery, I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women a deeper understanding of themselves and living with cancer. As Peltason writes inher introduction, "My greatest wish for this book is that it offer comfort to any woman living with breast cancer and to those who care about her. If this book is kept on the bedside table, then I hope its need is brief and its impact lasting. I Am Not My Breast Cancer speaks of courage, heroism in deeds small and large, and incredible faith and fortitude."
"You can live without a breast. You cannot say the same for the human heart."
Peltason, an editor and breast cancer survivor, founded and hosted the "First Person Plural" Web site project, an online forum for women facing the disease. Their dialogue provides the content for this book, culled from the entries of 800 women across the U.S. and around the world. Peltason organizes the material into three general parts: "Diagnosis," "Living with Breast Cancer" and "The Big Picture," with such subtopics as "Sharing the News," "Being Womanly" and "Anniversaries and Milestones." Participants use screen names for privacy, approaching their disease with candor and freely discussing their feelings about their bodies and their relationships. At times, those overcome by anger and fear far outweigh those with a bright outlook, but when these survivors "look in the mirror" at the conclusion of the text, many envision a hopeful future. Perhaps the most poignant entries are from younger women, some of whom have been driven into early menopause and infertility by chemotherapy. Although this is an informative book, some survivors may discover that these raw entries churn up disturbing emotions; others will find comfort in these voices, and in the knowledge that they aren't alone-either in their sorrow or in their strength and courage. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Title: I Am Not My Breast Cancer: Women Talk Openly about Love and Sex, Hair Loss and Weight Gain, Mothers and Daughters, and Being a Woman with Breast Cancer
Author: Ruth Peltason
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date Published: September 2008
Table of Contents:Foreword Peter I. Pressman, M.D., F.A.S.C. xi
Introduction Ruth Peltason xiii
Sharing the News 3
Crowning Glory: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow 28
Feelings: A Kitchen Sink of Emotion 44
Living with Breast Cancer
Being Womanly 109
Love Relationships and Sexual Intimacy 147
Basic Relationships, A to Z 197
Mothers and Daughters 222
The Big Picture
Anniversaries and Milestones 271
When You Look in the Mirror, What Do You See? 302
Faith, Religion, and Spirituality 340
Gathering Rosebuds 351
Afterword Marc N. Weiss 365
List of Breast Cancer Organizations 371
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