cover image Just Get Me Through This: The Practical Guide to Breast Cancer

Just Get Me Through This: The Practical Guide to Breast Cancer

Deborah A. Cohen. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $13 (252pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-551-1

It's hard to believe that a breast cancer guide can be fun, but breast cancer survivor Cohen and oncologist Gelfand have produced a book that combines medical information with the kind of warm, funny, rueful sharing a woman gets from a good talk with her girlfriends. The authors understand that surviving an illness as emotionally and physically traumatic as breast cancer requires help not only with big issues but also with apparently trivial ones. In between solid and well-summarized discussions on diagnostic, treatment and reconstruction options, they share a plethora of tips on the smaller but still difficult problems faced by disease victims, such as finding the right post-chemo headgear (silk slides off a bald skull, so cotton is better). They prepare readers for everything from insensitive remarks (when Cohen told one acquaintance she was starting chemotherapy that day, he replied, ""So I guess you're not available for lunch"") and hormonal swings to insurance problems. The tone is upbeat but realistic, sympathetic but never patronizing; ""Rules of the Road"" sections directed to friends and family give them advice on how to offer useful support. This wise, balanced book is a welcome addition to a woman's medical care library, offering not just warm, intelligent hand-holding for breast cancer victims but also useful insights for anyone with a friend or family member suffering from this frightening disease. (May)