Ordinary Miracles: Learning from Breast Cancer Survivors

Ordinary Miracles: Learning from Breast Cancer Survivors

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ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
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Ordinary Miracles: Learning from Breast Cancer Survivors

After nearly three decades of providing medical care for women and men facing breast cancer, surgeon S. David Nathanson calls the survival rates today an ordinary miracle. Ordinary because the vast majority of patients now do live at least 20 years after diagnosis due to enormous progress that has been made in medicine; and a miracle too because of the intangible qualities such as faith and hope that seem key to success in battling the disease. In this book, survivors describe their experiences, emotions, and means to overcome the disease.

S. David Nathanson is an esteemed, longtime surgeon who calls the survival rates today for women and men facing breast cancer nothing short of an ordinary miracle. Ordinary because the vast majority of patients live at least two decades after diagnosis, due to great advances that have been made in early detection, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. But also a miracle because we know that key elements for a woman or man succeeding in a personal battle against breast cancer include completely intangible qualities of courage, fortitude, trust, persistence, faith, and hope. Although science cannot completely explain it, a supportive network of family and friends with those qualities also empower patient survival and recovery. In these pages, Nathanson shares stories from his patients, teaching us about the experience of breast cancer and explaining how they found and fueled the will and power to defeat the disease.

Even surgeon Nathanson himself cannot fully describe what goes through the hearts and minds of breast cancer patients as they discover, deal with, and finally triumph over the diagnosis. So in this book he acts as a narrator, letting his ordinary yet miraculous cancer survivors tell their stories, certainly filled with fear of the known and unknown, and with pain, but opening up to courage, love, sometimes humor, and finally hope. It is hope that firms up their resilience; hope that initiates their fortitude. Hope is an important component of healing, says the surgeon. Seventy-one survivors, including one man, tell their stories to ilustrate every step of the experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275994693
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/28/2007
Series: Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living Series
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Series Foreword   Julie Silver     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: Why and How We Wrote This Book     xi
Case Study-Pamela Brady: "A Bump in the Road of Life"     1
Detection: "It Was a Nice Spring Day..."     15
Diagnosis: "This Can't Be Happening to Me"     23
Case Study-Sally Sawyer: "A Life Beyond Cancer"     37
Surgery: "This Wasn't Bad"     45
Chemotherapy: "Fear Is Diminished When You're Aware"     57
Radiation: "Your Personal Battery Runs Way Low"     67
Support Systems: "An Extremely Emotional Time for My Family and Friends"     75
The Spiritual Connection: "Make Me Feel Like a Whole Person"     87
Case Study-Wendy Goldberg: "I Am Here"     95
Afterward: "An Abundance of Resilience"     123
Case Study-Linda D'Antonio: "A Thief in the Night"     131
Advice: "Trust in the Lord. See Your Doctor"     143
Case Study-Arlene Kalley: "Hope-Again"     149
Case Study-William C. Rands, III: "You Had a Mastectomy?"     155
Epilogue: What I Learned from My Patients     167
Index     181

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