Bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, whose life has been shaped by her mother's breast cancer as well as her own, has created the book she wished had existed when she went through her treatment. Uplift is a one-of-a-kind collection of anecdotes and advice, told in the words of everyday women of all ages who are part of the ever-growing sisterhood of breast cancer survivors. You won't find medical advice or technical matters discussed here. But you will find all the little things that only someone who's been there can tell you about. What kind of deodorant can I use during radiation? Are there certain foods that really satisfy on treatment days? How do I address my surgery with my coworkers? Is it really okay to lean on my friends? How can I still feel feminine? Is there romance after breast cancer? What can I do to feel more in control of my body and my life?
But Uplift isn't only for those with breast cancer. Friends and family can read it to find out what they can best do to help. And men? Uplift contains quotes from them, too. They share what worked best and how they felt as they helped the women in their lives through it all.
Practical, warm, funny, reassuring, supportive, personal...the insights by the contributors to Uplift reveal how they faced their fears and came through their ordeal ready to get on with life and love, career and family -- and how you can too. If there is one book you'll want to keep close at hand as a nightstand support group, Uplift is it.
Delinsky (A Woman's Place), a prolific popular novelist, lost her mother to breast cancer and is herself a survivor of the disease. This practical guide is a worthy addition to recent literature about how individual women deal with this illness, like Jennie Nash's The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming (reviewed above). Delinsky has collected a compendium of survival secrets "that have nothing to do with doctors, machines or drugs and everything to do with women helping women" that she wished had been available to her when she was diagnosed in 1994. She offers short personal anecdotes contributed by breast cancer survivors of every age and background. They recount the strategies that helped them through all aspects of cancer, including diagnosis, treatment, support groups and how to best conduct relationships with family, friends and in the workplace. Upbeat in tone, the women share such tips as the types of deodorants that may be used during radiation, how to handle hair loss ("I called my hair dresser and had the remainder of my hair buzzed off.... My buzzed head represented strength and control"), what foods will lessen nausea and, in general, how to take charge of one's life and remain positive. Almost everyone will find something in this varied advice that applies to her particular situation. Several women, for example, thought that hiring a professional to clean for them was extremely beneficial during draining treatments, while another found the mindless "therapy" involved in weeding the garden helpful. Delinsky also contributes several reminiscences, e.g., of her determination to remain physically strong and emotionally healthy after her diagnosis. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 19, 2003
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Excerpt from Uplift by Barbara Delinsky
First Things First
Where was I when I learned that I had breast cancer You may as well ask where I was when I learned that JFK had been shot. I will never forget either answer.
In the case of JFK, I was in college, returning to my dormitory after class to find the television on in the dorm living room and my friends gathered around it. I remember feeling total disbelief -- that what had happened couldn't be so. It had nothing to do with political affiliation and everything to do with youth, vigor, and Camelot.
In the case of breast cancer, I felt no disbelief. I was working out in the basement of our home when my surgeon called to say that the results of my biopsy were in and that the tiny little granules she had removed from my breast were malignant. She told you that on the phone Indeed, she did. It was just the right thing for me, and she knew it. She and I had been through biopsies together before. She knew that my mother had had breast cancer and that I'd been expecting it. She knew that the best approach to take with me would be the understated one. What she actually said was, "You've spent a lifetime waiting for the other shoe to fall, and now that it has, it's a very small shoe. The cure rate for this is ninety-nine-point-five percent. Here is what I recommend ..."
I listened. Then I hung up the phone and called my husband. Then I finished working out. In doing that, I was showing myself that I was healthy and strong, cancer and all. I needed to minimize the impact of what I'd learned...because just as a certain idealism had been lost when JFK was shot, so I knew that with a diagnosis of breast cancer, a part of my life was forever changed.
I was shaky as I climbed back up the stairs -- and what had me most frightened wasn't the prospect of having a re-excision and radiation. It was phoning our three sons, who were in three different states, in college and law school at the time. I went about making dinner, a crucial same-old same-old, as I put through those calls, and as I talked with each son I had the first of many cancer experiences that weren't nearly as bad as I'd imagined. "Curable" was the word I stressed. My confidence was contagious.