A Breast Cancer Alphabet
A comprehensive Guide To Life During And After Breast Cancer Sharing Practical Advice On How To Plan A Life After Diagnosis
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★★ A Booklist Top 10 Science & Health Book of the Year ★★
A definitive and approachable guide to life during, and after, breast cancer
The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman. Madhulika Sikka’s A Breast Cancer Alphabet offers a new way to live with and plan past the hardest diagnosis that most women will ever receive: a personal, practical, and deeply informative look at the road from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
What Madhulika Sikka didn’t foresee when initially diagnosed, and what this book brings to life so vividly, are the unexpected and minute challenges that make navigating the world of breast cancer all the trickier.
A Breast Cancer Alphabet is an inspired reaction to what started as a personal predicament.
This A-Z guide to living with breast cancer goes where so many fear to tread: sex (S is for Sex – really?), sentimentality (J is for Journey – it’s a cliché we need to dispense with), hair (H is for Hair – yes, you can make a federal case of it) and work (Q is for Quitting – there’ll be days when you feel like it).
What broadcast journalist Madhulika Sikka didn’t foresee when initially diagnosed with breast cancer were the unexpected and minute challenges of navigating this new world.
This book is an reaction to what started as a personal predicament. As a prominent news executive, Madhulika had access to the most cutting edge data on the disease’s reach and impact.
She draws an easy-to-follow, and quite memorable, map of her travels from breast cancer neophyte to seasoned veteran.
As a prominent news executive, Madhulika had access to the most cutting edge data on the disease’s reach and impact.
At the same time, she craved the community of frank talk and personal insight that we rely on in life’s toughest moments.
This wonderfully inventive book navigates the world of science and story, bringing readers into Madhulika’s mind and experience in a way that demystifies breast cancer and offers new hope for those living with it.
There is so much to cancer, more than the medical involvement, it’s the emotional, mental and physical toll it takes on the afflicted.
Each person’s experience varies, however a few aspects might be shared and easily relatable of those suffering, Sikka herself states it is an immensely personal ‘journey.’
A Breast Cancer Alphabet addresses a myriad of challenges breast cancer imposes from a woman whose experience is shared.
Sikka gives a candid insight into breast cancer from the diagnosis continuing through survival, peppered with morsels of wit.
No doubt this book will be helpful for a person recently diagnosed with breast cancer anxious to learn more than what the medical pamphlets describe.
Looking for the answers to questions popping up in your mind, this book serves to anchor those hanging concerns from someone who’s been there sharing her knowledge first hand.
The book is cleverly formatted in the style of an alphabet book. Beginning with “A for Anxiety” continuing forward ending in “Z for Zzzzs” you gain a clear picture of the trials breast cancer presents, tips to reassure and assist as you try to navigate your way through the unknown waters.
“My breast cancer was not mystical, or enchanting or exotic. My breast cancer was not and is not a journey. Getting through cancer is no different from getting through some other terrible disease because that is what it is, a disease. It’s okay to treat it like one.”
“I for Indignities” a great section, she speaks loud and clear for ALL to hear about the bright side of breast cancer – “a land of sparkling brightness personified by women who are happy and smiling while they are ‘battling’ this disease”. Ending the chapter with “My point is breast cancer is many, many things.
What it is not is a fun ride. It is a painful and debilitating and public, and it is okay to feel indignant about that.” Her courage and honesty shines in her comment, thank goodness she voices what others silence.
A book serving as a lifesaver for some, certainly can’t hurt to peruse the pages arming yourself with knowledge.
If you know anyone diagnosed I highly suggest this book, I urge you to read it if only to educate yourself on what they might be experiencing in hopes of serving as a vehicle of support.
Breast-cancer patients will fall in love with Sikka, executive producer of NPR’s Morning Edition and a funny, chatty, and honest storyteller.
She opens with her own diagnosis in December 2010, on the very day she interviews President Obama in the Oval Office and during the week Elizabeth Edwards dies of the disease. Sikka organizes the rest of her book about “Cancerland” alphabetically. A is for “Anxiety”; G is for “Guilty”; S is for “Sex.” She succeeds in writing the kind of book she wanted: “A little pick-me-up that I could turn to—nothing too long or scientific or self-indulgent. . . .
A short book that wouldn’t tax my chemo-addled brain.” She bluntly calls a mastectomy “an amputation of the breast”; calls her plastic surgeon her “very own Michelangelo”; reveals that her fingernails turned a blackish purple during treatment; and humorously notes the silver lining to losing hair during chemo (“Leg hair? Well, no waxing for the duration of my treatment so not so bad. The same for underarm hair”).
She comes across as a loving mom (to two daughters), wife (to a Georgetown history professor, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2000), and friend. Just what the doctor ordered.