Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review - A Cluster of Cancers


A Cluster of Cancers: A Simple Coping Guide for Patients

By: Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: August 2015
ISBN: 978-1504923545
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 10, 2015

The supposed downward spiral of one’s life can easily begin with a cancer diagnosis. The anger, the fear, and the angst often begin to upend lives in an instant. It’s a roller coaster of emotion when the diagnosis is made, but in cancer survivor Dr. Sherry Meinberg’s mind’s eye it’s “just one more bump in the road of your life.” If you have cancer and read a statement like that, you might just think she’s totally unrealistic, perhaps worse. What can she be thinking? She’s thinking positively and she wants the newly diagnosed to “make the subject of coping with cancer more easily understood and simplified.” You need to create your own plan of action and it all begins by checking out the facts.

There are literally hundreds of different kinds of cancer and only one you. It’s your life, your body and there’s no time to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. According to Dr. Robert Nagourney, “effective self-advocacy begins with information.” Dr. Meinberg began by checking things out on the online Mayo Clinic site, pondering them before heading to her urologist. She had plenty of questions, many of them answered by what she read prior to her appointment with her urologist, Dr. Brusky. Dr. Meinberg was self-advocating by becoming armed with all the information she could about her cancer. It was then she began to move forward, but the actual physical treatment wasn’t all there was to her self-imposed plan.

After the appointment, which was an overwhelming blur, Dr. Meinberg set out to work on that cancer. Perhaps the very outline of this book, one she shares with her readership, was her plan of action. According to Dr. Bernie Siegel, “Those who survive cancer are those who stay in charge.” Dr. Meinberg not only needed to communicate well, but also needed a physician who could communicate with her equally well. Admittedly, I had to chuckle a bit when she became angry and “fired” one who needed “a refresher course in Dealing with Patients 101.” Meshing with one’s oncologist or other specialist is obviously key to beginning ones journey to wellness. The basics of cancers from staging and grading to those stats and causes preface thirty-one topics that affect all cancer patients.

Dr. Meinberg once again quotes Dr. Bernie Siegel when he claims that “All patients must be accorded the conviction that they can get well, no matter what the odds.” An obvious eternal optimist (and cancer survivor), she launches into topics from self-care, coping strategies, emotional strategies, to things like learning to believe in yourself and coping with stress. I found myself immersed in the book, which doesn’t necessarily have to be for cancer patients, as Dr. Meinberg encouraged people to promote their well-being. The book is essentially a compilation of quotations and philosophies of some of the greats in the medical field. In the back of the book is an expansive bibliography from which these quotations were sourced as well as a comprehensive index. The book is infectiously uplifting and an excellent emotional resource for anyone journeying through cancer treatments.

Quill says: A Cluster of Cancers is an excellent book for cancer sufferers who need emotional guidance and encouragement after a cancer diagnosis.