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Friday, August 2, 2013

Can You Help?

Lake Forest Park Bookseller Annie has a brief message for you:

As a cancer survivor, I am always interested in getting involved with programs supporting patients, survivors, and their friends and families. When the American Cancer Society contacted me about a new, far-reaching study they're conducting, I jumped at the chance to help promote it. 

The study is for non-cancer survivors/patients between the ages of 30 and 65. It's really easy - involving a 30-45 minute survey and a blood draw - and it could impart a lot of knowledge and scientific data to doctors and scientists. Every few years participants will be contacted and asked to fill out a new survey. If they've developed cancer since the last time, ACS compares all the surveys said participant has filled out and studies the blood sample that person gave. This research has the potential to mine more information about this terrible disease than any other before it. Which is why I'm doing my best to encourage my friends and family to sign up for one of the study dates. For more information or to make an appointment, please visit here

Annie has also complied a short list of great reading material for patients, survivors, family, and everyone in between:

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor by Kris Carr

As a patient and survivor, I turned to books for comfort while in treatment and recovering from it. I counted especially on Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" and later "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor." Both are full of Carr's own experiences and the people she meets along the way who are struggling with cancer. All of her stories illustrate perfectly the terror, shock, and absurdity that is the diagnosing, treatment, and recovering process of a cancer patient/survivor. Mixed in are tips and places to write your own suggestions, what helps you get through a chemo treatment, radiation, or surgery. I found great comfort in both of these books, as stepping up from patient to survivor has its own kettle of emotions to go along with it. Carr's spot on humor helps with it all.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukerjee

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, "The Emperor of all Maladies" is a mash up history and biography of the disease itself. For the last 5,000 years, cancer has plagued humanity and humanity is finally starting to fight back in earnest. Mukherjee notes how the illness and mankind has been entwined for centuries, and much of the book is dedicated to what the future of treating cancer patients might be. "[The book] is a chronicle of an ancient disease - once a clandestine 'whispered-about' illness - that has metamorphosed into a lethal shape-shifting entity imbued with such penetrating metaphorical, medical, scientific, and political potency that cancer is often described as the defining plague of our generation" Mukherjee writes in the prologue. It is a well thought out historical and modern account that I feel most anyone can relate to.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

A wonderful biography of how Will Schwalbe and his mother, Mary Anne, became closer during her two-year fight against pancreatic cancer. As I said before, reading is something I did (and still do) a lot of during my own treatment, so this story of mother and son bonding and connecting over shared books brought tears to my eyes. My own family and I shared movies during my treatment sessions as I was too nervous, tired, and stressed out to focus on a book while receiving my chemo therapy. But the idea is similar, and "The End of Your Life Book Club" will shine a light on how Will and his mother, and how others, turned the horrific experience of cancer and treatment into something wonderful.

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