Enduring Cancer: Stories of Hope

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Factors that can hinder how you cope:

In addition, social media has blurred the boundary between private and public lives, so health information and illness anecdotes are being shared more openly. One result of all this change seems to be more books about personal experiences with cancer — and readers are seeking out these cancer stories.

In addition to best-selling cancer memoirs by patients — When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi in , The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs last year, and the forthcoming The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams — readers are also immersing themselves in the heartrending stories of cancer from the perspectives of loved ones and caregivers. Is that a story? Do we really need another version of this my-mother-has-cancer tale that I, too, have lived? Yes, because experiences with cancer and our losses are varied, as are our perspectives.

The cancer canon has an expansive landscape to map.


The cancer stories no one wants to hear

I know of only one other memoir about rhabdomyosarcoma, The Girl with Nine Wigs by Sophie Van Der Stap, and the one person I know who had this cancer was four years old at diagnosis. What I appreciate most about both these memoirs is the ways they explore one of the most devastating aspects of cancer: cachexia, or wasting.

While not all cancer patients lose the desire or ability to eat and not all cancer patients lose weight and muscle mass, wasting is not unusual. If only I could get her to eat something, I thought numerous times when my mother was sick with pancreatic cancer. How happy I was when she suddenly had a taste for a fried egg, and then asked for another the next day.

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But there are no effective therapies to combat cancer-driven wasting; not even improved nutrition halts it. McColl notes that her mother, a former rower with dense back muscles, lost 22 pounds and aged 20 years in six months.

Unable to stand upright, she curled over a walker. Peanut butter was off the grocery list; fish, steak, and fried chicken remained appealing. McColl snuck extra butter and oil — calories — into various meals.

Enduring stories of hope, courage, self-empowerment

She has not been to the table in days. In addition to their honesty about wasting, another strength of these two books is their emotional range. While both authors explore the deep love they have for their mothers and that their mothers have for them , they also deftly discuss frustration.

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Anger is a secondary emotion, they say, a reaction to fear or vulnerability or frustration or injustice, an active reaction, rather than passive, and I walk the halls of the house, my belly simmering with something less than rage. Its arrival never surprised me since I could feel it there, quiet but ever present in my body.

Enduring Cancer- Stories of Hope Mishra MT - J Can Res Ther

Heartfelt expressions of gratitude can help cancer patients feel loved and can uplift their spirits. We are seeking individuals, groups, and do-gooders to create cards or write letters of hope for those battling cancer which will be included in Smile Kits for female cancer patients. This is a wonderful project for a school, classroom, scout troop or service organization, or family.

Gather your supplies! You can design a card using simply crayons and paper, or you may choose to use card stock, stickers, stamps, and other embellishments.

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You may choose to show empathy and encouragement based on your own personal experience. End the letter by signing your name or initials and include your city and state. Envelopes are optional but if you choose to include them, please leave them unsealed. Send photos of you writing your letters to info bsncf.