Our library includes Macmillan brochures and books on diagnosis, treatment, and coping with cancer.
New additions to the library:
For the new year, we are adding a new subject category for books in the ESCA library called “Food for Thought” (category 10).
We will also start adding DVDs related to cancer: films such as Song for Marion, The Fault in Our Stars and Mum’s List, a memoir-to-film adaptation about a man who, while caring for his two young children, attempts to fulfill the wishes of his wife who has passed away from cancer.
Please feel free to recommend any titles you would like added to the library.
Irene Bertrand and Sandra Oakley, ESCA librarians
The Owl at the Window: A Memoir of loss and hope
Last month, in a UK newspaper, I came across an intriguing article written by Carl Gorham entitled "How a mummy made of cardboard brought new life to my daughter." This article is well worth reading in its own right, and it convinced me to order " The Owl in the Window" for the ESCA library.
In his beautifully expressive book, Carl Gorham writes a moving, uplifting and sometimes hilarious account of how he and his six-year-old daughter, Romy, rebuilt their lives as they grieved for Vikki, the beloved wife and mother taken from them much too soon. He worried that Romy "was bottling up her feelings after her mother died. But when she asked him to ‘make’ Mummy from cardboard boxes, it was to prove a breakthrough."
Carl writes poignantly about his worries as a single father with a young daughter, his attempts to help her express her grief, and his openness to her request to make a cardboard mummy, whatever misgivings he may have had at that moment. Suffice it to say that the cardboard mummy was just what Romy needed to manage her immense feelings of loss.
It is a wonderfully touching and uplifting book that will make the reader cry and laugh in equal measure.
Reviewed by Sandra Oakley
life journeys [ 9 GOR ]
When Breath Becomes Air
The reviewers of Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s extraordinary book are unanimous: powerful and poignant; devastating and spectacular; life affirming; filled to the brim with joy, humour and meaning. Yet it is the words of the NY Times reviewer - “finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option”- that truly resonated with me.
Dr. Paul Kalanithi seemed to have it all. He was a gifted writer with a B.A. and M.A. in English literature, an M.A. from Cambridge and an MD from Yale. With multiple career offers, he was completing his residency in neurosurgery at Stanford when diagnosed with metastatic stage IV lung cancer. He turned to writing this book, which consists of two parts: Part I. “In Perfect Health I Begin”; and Part II: “Cease Not till Death.”
In Part I, we follow the education and career path of a man who was a gifted doctor and writer, both of which he pursued with compassion and brilliance. Talking to a patient terrified of brain surgery, he calmly presented the options, meeting her “in a space where she was a person, instead of a problem to be solved.” Elsewhere in the book, he comments that before operating on a patient’s brain “I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end.” How can one not be moved when Dr. Kalanithi puts forward: “the physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face and make sense of their own existence.”
Part I ends and Part II begins without transition. Paul and Lucy are lying in a hospital bed, crying, with the CT scan images still glowing on the computer screen. Yet Part II is not as sad as might be expected. It is full of hope and warm family moments. It is authentic in addressing the important decisions to be made while Paul is still alive.
Dr. Kalanithi died at age 37 before completing his book and the extremely moving epilogue is written by his wife, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi. If you choose to read this book, and remain composed through Parts I and II, Lucy’s epilogue is the ultimate challenge. Do not even try to hold back the tears. Just rejoice in the fact that you have come through an exception autobiographical and literary experience that, while heartbreaking, is heartwarming and full of life.
Reviewed by David Freedman
life journeys [ 9 KAL ]
To Be Alive!
This is an account of how a young man fought – and won – the battle against brain cancer. In his forties, Chris had everything: a top education at Dartmouth, a great start to a promising career, a loving wife with whom he founded a successful business, five children, a dog and two cats, plus inspiring and supportive parents. Oh yes, and part of his childhood and youth was spent in that lovely city, Geneva!
“I had never really had anything bad happen to me. I often wondered if one could live a life devoid of suffering.“
In the book he describes the shock of diagnosis, the determination to fight, and the long sometimes depressing journey through treatment. He pays heartfelt tribute to his oncologist and the team at the Massachusetts General Hospital for their dedication and determination, trying new treatments as he improved, relapsed and improved again. At one point, he reckoned he had a near-death experience and a feeling that, instead of being so sick and confined to the hospital, “maybe I’d rather be dead.“ But as he began to heal he put together what he called a Healing Dream Team : neural and orthopedic physiotherapists, a holistic chiropractor, a homeopathic physician and nutritionist, and a “soul reader” or life coach.
The book includes testimonies by his parents, wife, two children, and his own conclusion, which most cancer survivors identify with: “I think I’ve learned about compassion, gratitude and smelling the roses. I’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff and to not worry about things I can’t control. I’ve learned a lot about energy management and balance and the importance of nutrition, exercise and sleep. I decided to rid myself of any negative energy in my life. All in all, I really like the new and improved Chris.“
Reviewed by Sally Alderson
life journeys [ 9 HES ]
Your Brain After Chemo : A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus
Dan Silverman and Idelle Davidson
For those who recognize these symptoms during and after chemotherapy, there is relief to know that you are not the only one to suffer lack of concentration, short-term memory loss, difficulty with word recall, and multi-tasking. The authors describe and explain the phenomenon clearly and thoroughly; they differentiate it from dementia and propose practical tips to help improve brain function and general lifestyle. Evidence that chemotherapy agents have significant cognitive effects on patients is still under discussion in the scientific community, but sufferers certainly know what it feels like!
general cancer [ 2 SIL ]
Cancer Hates Tea: A Unique Preventive and Transformative Lifestyle Change to Help Crush Cancer
The author clearly states “tea alone will not cure or prevent cancer” but describes, in this attractively laid-out book with lovely photos, many varied benefits of tea drinking. The writing style is light and lively and the book is full of interesting details on some 20 different types of tea: tastes, health implications, and recipes.
holistic and complementary therapies [ 4 USP ]
Mindfulness : A Kindly Approach to Being with Cancer
The author is an expert in mindfulness practices and has also had cancer twice herself. Her previous book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer was designed as a handbook for teachers working with people with cancer. This book is written for those with cancer who want to find ways of managing their reactions to the illness using the mindfulness approach.
self-help [ 5 BAR ]
We Beat Leukaemia
Although this book is in diary form it contains enough background material to be of help to any family coping with their child’s battle with leukaemia. By sharing her family’s experience of over 1200 days from diagnosis to remission, the author aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the UK charities who offer so much support.
children's cancer [ 2 C ]
A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memory of Hope and Sweetie Drives on Chemo Days: Facing Cancer Treatments with Humor and Optimism
Tom Brokaw (2015) and John P. Schulz (2015)
Two men, one an internationally famous TV anchor and journalist, the other a gifted writer of lesser renown, share in common the survival of cancer and an ability to relate their long road to recovery with candor, intimacy and humor. The result is two informative and touching memoirs that can serve to empower others who receive a diagnosis of the big "C". For Tom Brokaw, cancer took the form of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow; for John Schulz, it meant loss of his vocal cords.
Schulz informs that the best way to handle his cancer was to use his favorite mantra, "Everything is going to be all right". The statement is optimistic and has a calming effect. By saying it over and over, it becomes real. Schulz views optimism and a positive attitude as a treatment that may be self-administered. A positive attitude helps with curing while optimism relieves stress and therefore also is an aid in the healing process. Throughout, Schulz also draws strength from his wife, Dekie, who he refers to as his leaning post. Moreover, as he keeps reminding the reader, "Sweetie drives on chemo days".
Tom Brokaw also is blessed with a strong, caring and loving wife, Meredith. As Brokaw recounts, Meredith already had seen him through a serious helicopter crash, a deadly river-running trip, broken ankles, feet and fingers, assorted parasitic conditions and an anthrax attack in his office. Then came the cancer which, unlike the other medical problems, had its own calendar and insidious rhythm. While Brokaw did not recite a favorite mantra, he always had Meredith there to observe, "We'll get through this. A year from now will be much better".
Two courageous, determined men; two strong women by their side; two memoirs worth reading.
The Street-Wise Patient’s Guide to Surviving Cancer
This is a candid, practical guide on how to actively participate in the management of your illness. Professor Sikora, a renowned cancer specialist and former chief of the WHO’s Cancer Programme, provides information, impartial advice, and a list of resources in various anglophone countries, for different types of cancer. By understanding the basics of cancer, its treatment, the health-care system, and the “cancer industry,” The Street-Wise Patient’s Guide to Surviving Cancer can improve your chances of getting top-class cancer care.
general cancer [ 2 SIK ]
Take Breast Cancer Off Your Menu
An accessible and empowering exploration into the relationship between nutrition and breast cancer, this book discusses how to prevent breast cancer or stop it returning. Convincing and realistic, Take Breast Cancer Off Your Menu is a wake-up call to the importance of nutrition and its effects on the body.
food and nutrition [ 3 GLI ]
Rise: Surviving and Thriving After Trauma
Sian Williams is a well-known British journalist, broadcaster and psychologist who has been assessing the impact of acute stress for many years. She explores the science of resilience and growth after trauma while also documenting her own path through breast cancer at the age of 50.
life journeys [ 9 WIL ]
Tea & Chemo: Fighting Cancer, Living Life
At the age of forty-five, Jackie Buxton was diagnosed with breast cancer and started writing a blog that eventually became a book. Down-to-earth and filled with humorous and practical insights, Tea & Chemo shares her experiences to help others recognise that you don’t have to be defined by your cancer.
life journeys [ 9 BUX ]