I recommend these books for people with cancer and their friends who are interested. Some but not all of the focus is on death for obvious reasons. Some are entertaining, some help with perspective and many of them give very practical and useful advice. I've grouped together the similar ones.

Dying: A Natural Passage by Denys Cope. This is an easy, short read written by a hospice nurse about the physical stages of dying. I found it very useful and so have many friends and family.

Nutrition, complementary medicine

Life Over Cancer by Keith I. Block, M.D.  Misha, my acupuncturist, suggested I get this book for advice about nutrition, exercise, and wellness during cancer treatment and beyond. I haven't always followed it 100%. Have found it a useful antidote to conflicting advice from other sources.

Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer by Michael Lerner. They use this book at Common Weal Cancer Help Program retreats. One of the things I found interesting was the science-based reviews of alternative therapies like Gerson and even my man Keith Block. The edition I have was published in 1999 - so some of the research probably needs to be updated.

I made three or four of the soup recipes in The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz. I found them bland. When I added more/extra spices they were good. The best one was the roasted tomato and carrot soup, but I did add extra spices (paprika and I can't remember what else.) I feel that one would be better off with a healthy vegetarian/vegan cookbook. The "Magic Mineral" broth in One Bite at a Time by the same author is very good.

Eat To Live by Joel Furhman, MD. The ostensible focus of this book is on overweight people losing weight. But essentially it is a summary of thousands of studies about nutrition and health. Head's up: All the books of this kind that I have read, based on studies, recommend a vegan diet, and raw food, against what are sometimes called "diseases of affluence" (diabetes, asthma, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer, some types of allergies, depression and other mental health conditions.) I personally cannot digest the amount of raw food recommended here, but find the info about the studies very useful.

Working with one's mind

Turning Suffering Inside Out: A Zen Approach to Physical and Emotional Pain by Darlene Cohen. A lot of helpful, practical wisdom.

Who Dies? and Healing into Life and Death by Stephen Levine. (Possibly anything by Stephen Levine I would think.)

Memoirs, Novels, Poetry

Cancer Has Made Me a Shallower Person, by Miriam Engelberg. Poignant, funny graphic memoir by someone who appears to not really be able to draw. I read it twice. San Francisco.

Cancer Vixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto. Graphic memoir, not only about the cancer journey, by a real cartoonist. New York.

Crazy, Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr. New York. Sort of an urban, groovy angle on cancer.

Fuck you, Cancer by Rick Fields. Wonderful, gritty, Buddhisty poems. Might be out of print.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Memoir on grief.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you enjoy a bit of sarcasm and adjectives such as "cancertastic," this is your book. (However, the person who lent it to me found some of it very sad.)

Recommended (by others, I haven't read them)

Cancer as a Turning Point by Lawrence LeShan.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Nonfiction. A friend (who doesn't have cancer) read this and thought it was fascinating.

being well (even when you're sick) by Alana Rosenbaum.
Introduction to mindfulness practices for people with cancer and other serious illnesses. I didn't love it but it was too basic for me.

1 comment:

  1. Just thought I would check in today...was sad to hear the news. Confess to having a fantasy that somehow you will make it to Montana this summer. I hear your fatigue, dear friend, and I am sorry for your news. I love you. Tejavani