The New Cancer Survivors: Living with Grace, Fighting with Spirit

Overview

Surviving with cancer, Natalie Davis Spingarn tells us, means seeing yourself differently and recognizing that others may see you differently. It means worrying more about work and money. It means facing your mortality. It means dealing with the medical system by learning how to be a good consumer of health services—including making choices among different doctors, medical centers, and insurance plans.

Diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s and now an independent writer ...

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Overview

Surviving with cancer, Natalie Davis Spingarn tells us, means seeing yourself differently and recognizing that others may see you differently. It means worrying more about work and money. It means facing your mortality. It means dealing with the medical system by learning how to be a good consumer of health services—including making choices among different doctors, medical centers, and insurance plans.

Diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s and now an independent writer specializing in health and social policy issues (particularly for the Washington Post), Spingarn uses her experiences as the basis for describing and critiquing what experts say about the emotional, physical, family, and practical issues involved. She helps others deal with such issues by relating her own experiences, good and bad, and offering practical encouragement to readers in similar situations.

Lively and empathetic, The New Cancer Survivors will appeal to persons with cancer who, thanks to modern medical science, are "hanging in there with illnesses that once evoked only submission or surrender"—as well as to their families, friends, and caregivers. Throughout, the author shines a bright light on the cancer experience, providing good reason to be hopeful as well as insight into how to respond when things do not go so well. Because she has suffered recurrences, she can compare treatment in the seventies (week-long hospital stays, for example, and extensive surgery and chemotherapy) with treatment in the nineties ("drive-through" precision surgery, genetic testing, the incorporation of some "complementary" therapies into mainstream medicine) and weigh the differences. The New Cancer Survivors digs deep for the truth and serves it up with humor and attitude—offering a wealth of information, comfort, and inspiration.

Johns Hopkins University Press

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe

Deals with many topics traditionally considered taboo in talking to those with life-threatening illness, including problems with money, work, friends, relatives, and erratic health insurance coverage.

New York Daily News

The most important ingredient of the Spingarn recipe for 'hanging in': A generous dash of hope seasoned with the self-discipline of making choices and a willingness to take risks.

Washington Post

A Baedeker for cancer patients and their families.

Arthur W. Frank

Natalie Davis Spingarn's great talent is finding the most common denominator that is not the lowest common denominator. She offers herself to her fellow cancer survivors as a favorite aunt who will 'talk about it' when no one else will. Every cancer survivor, no matter how well informed already, will find information and affirmation in this book. Medical professionals who want to learn what their work looks like from the patient's perspective will find a mirror view in which they can improve their practices.

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Lisa A. Desjardins, RN, MS, FNP-C(Mount Sinai Hospital)
Description: This is the compilation of the experiences of the author and other survivors who have experienced the many life issues of living with cancer.
Purpose: Through a collection of personal experiences of cancer survivors, the author purports to address realistically the paramount issues for those who are living with a serious illness and those who are taking care of people with a serious illness. She discusses issues that the cancer survivor and their caregivers experience on a daily basis and how they have overcome their obstacles. She also offers insight to what the future may hold, and to help ease stress for those who are already going through their experience. The goal is worthy. The author offers education and hope, and assists the reader in finding peace and acceptance in what could be a tumultuous experience.
Audience: This book is geared towards cancer survivors and their caregivers, but would be welcomed by all. The medical community, politicians, or anyone who wants to understand the experience of a human being living with cancer would benefit greatly from this work.
Features: A variety of issues faced by the cancer survivor are discussed — family, personal, spiritual, and medical. The book is easily delivered and appealing to the audience as these issues are discussed from the author's personal experience, seasoned with medical research. Concluding the book is the appendix, in which the Cancer Survivors Bill of Rights is discussed and a detailed reference list is provided.
Assessment: This is a work that has significant value for all involved with the cancer survivor. The author offers hope, encouragement, wisdom, and insight during a time when people with cancer and their families need it most. I would offer this book to my own patients and their families as a source of comfort, as they go through their cancer journey.
Lisa A. Desjardins
This is the compilation of the experiences of the author and other survivors who have experienced the many life issues of living with cancer. Through a collection of personal experiences of cancer survivors, the author purports to address realistically the paramount issues for those who are living with a serious illness and those who are taking care of people with a serious illness. She discusses issues that the cancer survivor and their caregivers experience on a daily basis and how they have overcome their obstacles. She also offers insight to what the future may hold, and to help ease stress for those who are already going through their experience. The goal is worthy. The author offers education and hope, and assists the reader in finding peace and acceptance in what could be a tumultuous experience. This book is geared towards cancer survivors and their caregivers, but would be welcomed by all. The medical community, politicians, or anyone who wants to understand the experience of a human being living with cancer would benefit greatly from this work. A variety of issues faced by the cancer survivor are discussed -- family, personal, spiritual, and medical. The book is easily delivered and appealing to the audience as these issues are discussed from the author's personal experience, seasoned with medical research. Concluding the book is the appendix, in which the Cancer Survivors Bill of Rights is discussed and a detailed reference list is provided. This is a work that has significant value for all involved with the cancer survivor. The author offers hope, encouragement, wisdom, and insight during a time when people with cancer and their families need it most. I would offerthis book to my own patients and their families as a source of comfort, as they go through their cancer journey.
Booknews
Spingarn, a prize-winning writer on health care and social policy for the and other publications and a longtime leader in the cancer survivorship movement, uses her experience as the basis for describing and critiquing what experts say about the emotional, physical, family, and practical issues faced by cancer survivors. She helps others deal with such issues by relating her journey as a cancer survivor and offering encouragement. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

2 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801862670
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Davis Spingarn is a prize-winning writer on health care and social policy for the Washington Post and other publications and a long-time leader in the cancer survivorship movement. Her other books include To Save Your Life and Heartbeat: The Politics of Health Research.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Hanging In There 1
2 The Bad News 12
3 Talking and Hoping 27
4 Being Sick: The Short Run 46
5 A New Subculture: The New Survivors 63
6 Tools and Crutches 79
7 Complementary and Alternative Therapies 96
8 Significant Others: A Part of the Main 120
9 The Media and the Message: Cancer as Metaphor 141
10 Work: The Passion of Labor 160
11 Money 175
12 The Big Picture: A Search for Meaning 196
App The Cancer Survivors' Bill of Rights 217
Notes 221
Index 233
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    New Cancer Survivors: Living with Grace, Fighting with Spirit

    I was given this book the week I was diagnosed with MM in Oct. '99. It has been my companion on a lonely and frightening journey. Mrs. Spingarn has provided me with much needed information and encouragement that guide me on a daily basis. I recommend the book to anyone who visits or ministers to cancer patients and survivors at every stage of the disease. It is a wonderful gift to have Natalie as a companion and confident through this work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    New Cancer Survivors: Living with Grace, Fighting with Spirit

    I have recommended this book to every clergy member who has contacted me about my multiple myeloma diagnosis. It is the book they need to take on their visitations and leave with their parishioners....AFTER they read it themselves. This book has guided and nurtered me from the Oct. 1999 diagnosis of my illness through the present. I had no previous experience with illness of any sort and needed help in talking with my doctors, caregivers, and friends. From the first bone marrow biopsy to my upcoming stem cell transplant, this book has been pivitol for information and expectations. If you intend to survive - this is where you begin. Thank you Natalie for your vision of the long haul and 'hanging in there!'

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