Book Review of Getting Past the Fear: A Guide to Help You Mentally Prepare for Chemotherapy by Nancy Stordahl
Getting Past the Fear is a brief but invaluable resource for anyone facing chemotherapy for the first time. The author writes honestly from her own physical and emotional experiences with chemotherapy.
I like this book because it is short, simple, and straightforward. It is easy to read, with small amounts of information to digest, especially for someone who might be overwhelmed by a new diagnosis and the whirlwind of beginning treatment at the time they are reading it. Each chapter concludes with the main points in bold.
The most important message that is repeated throughout the book is that each person has their own unique experience and their own unique feelings. There is no one right way to feel or respond. Self-acceptance, self-care, and asking for help are emphasized. The author gives the reader permission to feel their own feelings, with a healthy but gentle reminder that their experience also impacts those around them.
I would like to have seen a tiny bit more detail explaining why someone would need a port versus getting an IV placed each time, this is an important consideration for the type of chemo being given, but it is something that can and should be explained by the doctor. Many chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to the veins, and reducing the number of needle pokes is only one of many benefits of having a port.
The author should be commended for discussing the importance of nutrition, managing fatigue, and continuing to exercise during chemotherapy and while she briefly mentions the fact that there is a growing body of evidence that supports these things as important to maintain health during and after treatment. All of these will soon play a bigger role in the future of cancer treatment.
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