Title: Think about your life. Practical tools for people on the cancer journey
Publisher: HSA Press 2012
Reviewer: Nigel Jopson, operational support manager, Care UK
What was it like?
This is essentially a work book to help and guide people on their cancer journey. There are many links to websites that can provide more information about the various areas that are identified. There are suggestions as to how the book can be used as a resource for an individual as well as advice about involving family and friends. or even forming a support group with other people with cancer.
It works logically through the stages that you will encounter and offers ways to cope with them by supplying tools that can be used to help clarify and focus on different areas. These are ways that others have used during their cancer journey and I can see a lot of what I was thinking about when I faced a diagnosis of cancer. In particular when they speak about hearing the words “you have cancer”, which is probably the worst and most shocking thing I have ever heard.
As well as looking at the stages you pass through, it also has an additional book looking at what happens afterwards to help develop a survivorship plan, which contains good strategies and ideas for continuing with life after an interruption. Initially it looks a bit simplistic with cartoons and lots of blank space but once you get into it, it covers everything you want and need to know but didn’t realise you should know.
What were the highlights?
It has a different approach, which urges you to take control of your life and the cancer journey rather than letting it take control of your life.
Strengths & weaknesses:
At first glance looks lightweight, but if you persevere and actually read it, you realise just how good and relevant it is. It is a distillation of the experiences of many who have either completed or are still on the cancer journey. It is different to many books about cancer.Iit does not actually talk about cancer but rather with ways to deal with what is happening and how to involve others, if you wish to.
I think it would have been useful for me as I feel it would have helped me to get things straight and make more preparations when I was on the journey (hopefully now completed and clear for six years), but I still recall the fear and helplessness I felt the day before the operation, even though I spent it at work so I did not think about it.
Who should read it?
This book is aimed directly at those with cancer and that is the obvious target. However, I think it is a book that would be useful to many students and clinicians in order to give them an insight into how their patients may be really feeling and what they may really want to know. I have found that having been on that journey I have been able to help others with my experiences and I think it has made me a better nurse. However I would not really recommend having cancer as a good career move.