S David Nathanson MD
Positive, Uplifting Read … Recommended … 5 stars
In his acknowledgments Dr Nathanson states 'My patients inspired this book." Chapter titles are revealing : Chapter 1 Case Study Pamela Brady: A Bump in the Road of Life; Chapter 2 Detection: It Was a Nice Spring Day; Chapter 3 Diagnosis: This Can't Be Happening to Me, Chapter 4 Case Study: Sally Sawyer: Life Beyond Cancer; Chapter 5 Surgery: This Wasn't Bad; Chapter 6 Chemotherapy: Fear Is Diminished When You're Aware, Chapter 7 Radiation: Your Personal Battery Runs Way Low; Chapter 8 Support Systems: An Extremely Emotional Time for My Family and Friends; Chapter 9 The Spiritual Connection: Make Me Feel Like a Whole Person; Chapter 10 Case Study Wendy Goldberg; I Am Here; Chapter 11 Afterward: An Abundance of Resilience; Chapter 12 Case Study Linda D'Antonio: A Thief in the Night; Chapter 13 Advice : Trust in the Lord. See Your Doctor; Chapter 14 Case Study Arlene Kalley: Hope Again!; Chapter 15 Case Study: William C Rands III: You Had a Mastectormy?; Epilogue : What I Learned From My Patients.
Pamela Brady had her yearly physical September 2000, had her mammogram in November and five days later received a call to come for a recheck. The soonest she could do the recheck. twenty five days during which Pamela did lots of housework in the effort to keep her mind busy and not think about the report. Dr Nathanson points out that early detection is a crucial factor in the 'miracle' of recovery from breast cancer. That some patients become hysterical at the news that they have cancer is not unusual. Detection followed by diagnosis does not always mean breast cancer, cancer does not always mean instant death. Diagnosis is not the result of detection, rather it is the conclusion of the detection. Upon receiving the diagnosis more than one patient voices the fear of death, of leaving their family friends, of surgery, treatment and disfigurement.
Surgery may or may not mean removal of the full breast, a lumpectomy followed by radiation is one option. Patients who are fully understanding of what options are their regarding which procedures may be undertaken, what to expect and what may or may not be accomplished; express confidence in their doctors and in the procedures they undergo.
Chemotherapy is a word that may strike fear for some patients. Many patients lean on their nurses and get through the process with greater success. Fear is diminished when you know what is coming and what the outcome may be. Many of the patients interviewed offered humorous accounts regarding their hair loss during Chemo. Chemo may or may not include hair loss as was learned by more than one patient.
Dr Nathanson interviews male and female breast cancer patients for this work covering all aspects of cancer diagnosis, treatment, survival, hope, spiritual help and at times death. Even today there are those who don't realize that men as well as women are at risk.
I knew when I accepted his book for review I would be reading and then writing through tears, I recommend the book to those who may suspect or have received a diagnosis of cancer, and for the families and friends of those who may be going through treatment, along with those who perhaps as I; have lost a dear family member to the condition.
Ordinary Miracles is a well written work filled with so many clips, vignettes and snippets provided by a wide range of patients the reader is reminded over and over that the human spirit is strong even when the physical body may be at its weakest. The miracles set down in this book are not necessarily that every patient makes full, long life recovery, rather the miracle can be that a terrified patient faces their fear and lives life to the fullest with or without recovery, or the miracle may be that even in death there is peace and faith and hope. The miracle may not be stated, but is clearly spoken to the reader by the power of the words of the teller.
Highly recommended for patients, their family, therapists and those who simply need a positive, hope filled read.
"The theme of human strength and resourcefulness in the face of the terrible fact of cancer is one that we have seen again and again."