Don't Ever Look Down: Surviving Cancer Together

Overview

As an oncology counselor, Debbie Church has worked with hundreds of cancer patients. Through her own experience with this disease, she gained a greater understanding of cancer?s impact on individuals and families. Her husband, Dick, shares a man?s perspective on entering the mysterious worlds of gynecology and oncology. A minister and an experienced mountain climber, he compares Debbie?s battle with cancer to the difficulties, dangers, and triumphs of climbing a mountain. In this unique book, the authors share ...
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Overview

As an oncology counselor, Debbie Church has worked with hundreds of cancer patients. Through her own experience with this disease, she gained a greater understanding of cancer’s impact on individuals and families. Her husband, Dick, shares a man’s perspective on entering the mysterious worlds of gynecology and oncology. A minister and an experienced mountain climber, he compares Debbie’s battle with cancer to the difficulties, dangers, and triumphs of climbing a mountain. In this unique book, the authors share their journey through cancer as husband and wife with honesty and humor and offer practical advice to couples facing the same steep mountain climb, including chapters on: The stages of cancer. The ways spouses respond to cancer’s intrusion in their lives and advice for couples. Cancer’s impact on sexual intimacy. Advice for counseling kids of different ages when a parent has cancer. Confronting difficult questions about faith, death, and God. Cancer survivors, caregivers, and others whose lives have been touched by cancer in any form will laugh and cry with Dick and Debbie, while gaining new insight, encouragement, and hope for their own journey.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982483237
  • Publisher: Sheaf House Publishers, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Church has been an oncology counselor for over 18 years throughout the Southeast. As a support services director at several oncology centers in Atlanta and Florida, she has counseled thousands of cancer survivors. She is the author of dozens of articles dealing with every aspect of this disease. Now she has become a survivor herself and has a greater understanding and awareness of the impact of cancer and treatment from both sides of the desk.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Don't Ever Look Down 9

1 The Counselor Becomes the Patient - Deb 17

2 A Preliminary Diagnosis - Dick 25

3 I Always Wanted to Be a Doctor - Deb 29

4 "Reverend Church" - Dick 37

5 The Stages of Cancer - Deb 47

6 It's All About Time - Dick 57

7 In Sickness and in Health - Deb 71

8 Have "Mercy" on Me! - Dick 83

9 It's a Family Affair - Deb 93

10 Cancer Costs a Lot, and It's Not Worth a Dime - Dick 107

11 On Fear, Faith, and Cancer - Deb 117

12 I Believe…- Dick 131

13 How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who Has Cancer - Deb 143

14 What Not to Say - Dick 149

15 The Case for Counseling - Deb 157

16 Climbing the Highest Mountain - Dick 167

17 Beginning - Dick and Deb 175

Acknowledgments 185

Endnotes 187

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2011

    Highly recommended. A great book that provides a circle of support and will change your life if you have, had, or know someone who has cancer.

    A person doesn't live long before he or she encounters someone who has cancer. Not saying anything seems easier than saying the wrong thing. But Debbie Church, an oncology counselor diagnosed in December 2008 with Stage IIIA breast cancer who subsequently had a double mastectomy, has something to say about that. "Put your fears to rest and listen, just listen," she writes in Don't Ever Look Down. At first, the title loosely refers to mountain-climbing, a sport over which Dick, Deb's husband, is passionate. But as the book progresses and this couple learns to face a new normal, the title takes on significance, first as it refers to Dick's protecting words to his wife once the bandages are removed and secondly, as it relates to how to take on cancer and survive it day by day. Though this is a non-fiction book, its structure immediately brought to mind Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's fictional, Joanna's Husband and David's Wife, where chapters alternate being written by wife and husband. In Don't Ever Look Down, whether it's a chapter written by Debbie or one written by Dick, the writer is allowed full expression of points of view with no-holds barred. Dick tackles such subjects as "mercy sex" and what it's like to be a pastor who has wrestled with God about the whys. He writes about questioning God with "Why her?" Dick said, "She has done nothing horribly wrong to deserve this. Would 'deserving' even be a good enough reason for getting cancer, anyway?'" Dick also isn't afraid to say when seemingly well-intending friends have gone too far. One person said that God allowed Debbie to get cancer so that He could get Dick's attention. Dick writes, "Honestly, this is very disturbing to me. I could not believe God would use the suffering of my wife just to get to me . to teach me a lesson or something." We don't expect that pastors to share their deep sorrows, yet because Dick was willing to walk and talk about being in a hard place, we, as readers, are given permission to, too. His chapters really give a male point-of-view and counsel to a subject that is often not addressed in self-help cancer books. Debbie's words are a day-by-day guide to what survival looks like. She writes of others under her counsel, who had cancer and how she coached them through each stage of the disease. She is not afraid to say what's she's thinking. When you read Debbie's chapters, she writes in such a beautiful way, that she reaches out to the reader to guide and offer wisdom. The Churches' children, Scott and Mary, are also given an opportunity to tell what it feels like when a parent gets cancer. Certainly, the book is for other cancer fighters and for those who are looking to help them. The book tackles telling other family members, gives practical ways for people to come alongside their loved ones and help them. Because Debbie is an oncology counselor, she tells the reader about what to expect and goes a long ways toward alleviating the unknowns and fear. Deb writes in Chapter 11, "Perhaps the best way to combat fear is to take definitive action. Do something that puts you back in control." But this book is also for everyday readers who: - are looking to be more compassionate and ankle-deep in the human condition, - want to learn how to grapple with fear, -are a caregiver to someone who has cancer, -are wanting someone who has been through the cancer trenches to give it to you straight yet in a way that is tender-hearted.

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