Books

There are many books available. We are recommending ones we have read and found to be extremely helpful.

A Guide to Survivorship for Women Who Have Ovarian Cancer
Robert Bristow (Editor), Terri L. Cornelison (Editor), F. J. Montz, 2nd edition 2015, Johns Hopkins Press

A wonderful book featuring gynecologic oncologists, medical oncologists, nurses, researchers, and ovarian cancer survivors. Topics covered are diagnosis, treatment, and quality of living.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Ovarian Cancer, version 2015
NCCN

This is a very helpful and informative book published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. It covers such topics as ovarian cancer basics, testing for ovarian cancer, staging, overview of treatment, treatment guide, and making treatment decisions. Available online at https://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/cancers.aspx#ovarian

Being Single with Cancer: A Solo Survivor's Guide to Life, Love, Health and Happiness
Tracy Maxwell

After being diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer at the age of 36, Tracy Maxwell realized her challenges, as a single person with cancer, were not just physical and related to living alone. So much of what she dealt with was emotional, and related to feeling alone. 

In Being Single, with Cancer, Tracy shares everything she learned along her solo journey from diagnosis and treatment through survivorship and life beyond cancer, including the experiences of over 100 other single survivors. Loneliness, body image, fertility problems, and dating anxiety are just a few of the concerns Tracy addresses in her guide to being single with cancer.

Book jacket Chemo on the Rocks
Rebecca Durkin

Chemo on the Rocks is a shoreside seat on Rebecca Durkin’s great Alaskan misadventure. It highlights the hilarity and heartache of a young girl who finds herself marooned in Ketchikan—fondly known as "The Rock"—where she remains on her self-imposed Alaskatraz for almost thirty years.

Chemo on the Rocks is witty, inspirational, satirical, and sometimes terrifying. It is a mix of pain and laughter as Becky walks the IV gauntlet, trailing behind the unfettered back end peeking through the drab hospital gown of the man shuffling before her. Chemo on the Rocks is a hard-fought battle in the fallopian trenches where Becky wages war on ovarian cancer--the ultimate wedding crasher--as it invites an entire medical team into her honeymoon suite. She slays the cancer dragon and has two children in defiance of the beast, but just when it seems life has returned to normalcy, she prematurely crashes onto Mount Hysteria and wanders aimlessly through the Hormone War Zone in the Land of the Ovary Snatchers.

Rebecca is a featured speaker/creative trainer for an annual women’s retreat in California, where she shares her experiences and provides writing ideas. She is also a volunteer for the Survivors Teaching Students® : Saving Women’s Lives program for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Sue Friedman, Rebecca Sutphen, Kathy Steligo and Mark H. Greene

This new book was just published in 2012 by FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, the national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. A paragraph from the back cover gives an excellent overview of the book:

"Confronting hereditary cancer is a complex, confusing, and highly individual journey. With its unique combination of the latest research, expert advice, and compelling personal stories, this book gives previvors, survivors, and their family members the guidance they need to face the unique challenges of hereditary cancer."

Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer
Susan Gubar

This documentation of the author's diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer is not for the faint of heart. She writes very graphically and intellectually about her experience with ovarian cancer. To quote the New York Times Book Review: "Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer is her attempt to share and make sense of her experience – at once a memoir, a review of sobering medical facts, a compilation of cancer reminiscences and of descriptions of illness in literature and art – delivered in a voice that is intelligent, feminist and devastatingly honest."

Music and Cancer: A Prescription for Healing
Nimesh P. Nagarsheth

I loved this book, both as an ovarian cancer survivor and a music lover. Having heard both Dr. Nagarsheth's lecture and the performance of the NED rock band at the annual Ovarian Cancer National Alliance conference in July, I was very eager to follow up by reading his book. He approaches his writing from the perspectives of both a gynecologic oncologist and a musician - what a unique combination! The book motivated me to return to my piano playing, something I had let go since my diagnosis. He writes from the perspective of a doctor and an artist: He "gets" it and is able to synthesize his facts, thoughts, and feelings in a way that makes sense to me. It is a very readable, engaging book, patient-oriented, and filled with love, hope, and dedication to his patients. I highly recommend it and have purchased it for both my local gynecologic support groups.

Book jacket
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is a very readable and enjoyable book on the history of cancer - and you don't have to be a science major to appreciate and comprehend it! It reads like a biography of cancer, including the latest medical and scientific developments in the field. Dr. Mukerjee is a medical oncologist and brings to his writing not only knowledge and experience but also compassion and hope.

Tie One On
Pamela Phillips

Tie One On by Pamela Phillips features sixty beautiful full-color photographs with proven easy to follow head-scarf tying instructions. Step by step, this unique book guides the reader in creating stylish head coverings. Here is an attractive and comfortable alternative to wearing hot itchy wigs, thanks to this wonderfully inspirational and encouraging book that helps each woman find her inner strength. A portion of the proceeds goes to support Ovarian Cancer awareness, education, research and advocacy.

You may read more about Tie One On and order your own copy by going to http://christianreading.com/teal-books/. When asked for an 'optional organization code' at checkout, if you input OCAOSW into the box, then Pamela will donate a portion of the proceeds to The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and Southwestern Washington.

Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus
Dan Silverman and Idelle Davidson

Dan Silverman, MD,PhD is head of the Neuronuclear Imaging section in the Ahmanson Biological Imaging Division and associate professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA and Idelle Davidson is an award winning health and medical journalist and survivor of cancer and chemotherapy.

This book validates the concerns that so many of us cancer survivors have pertaining to the effects of chemotherapy on our memory and other cognitive losses. Dr. Silverman bases his book on cutting edge scientific research combined with stories of survivors. The authors explain the science in an understandable way as well as giving tips and strategies on coping with "chemo brain." "Chemo brain" is real, and the book offers us the knowledge and support we need to move ahead in our lives post-chemo.

The Light Within: The Extraordinary Friendship of a Doctor and Patient Brought Together by Cancer
Lois M. Ramondetta and Deborah Sills

The Light Within is a true story of a friendship that evolved between a gynecologic oncologist and her ovarian cancer patient. One of the women in our support group recommends the book because it reaffirmed that her thoughts, actions, and feelings were normal for this disease. Another woman in our group comments: The book embodies the great hope that every woman must have, in the despair of her diagnosis, of finding a kindred spirit in her physician.

Book jacket
The Hourglass: How to Live as Time Flies By
Diane Dennis

Diane Dennis has created a remarkable book based on her attendance at a gynecological cancer support group in Portland, OR for over a year. Most of the women in the group are ovarian cancer survivors. Diane shares not only the journey of some of these remarkable women but also the life lessons she learned along the way. It is a powerful story of facing our mortality as well as appreciating the gift of life.

Share the Care
Cappy Capossela and Sheila Warnock

This is a wonderful book for anyone in the position of assuming a caregiving role when a family member or friend is seriously ill. The authors wrote the book based on their own experience of caring for a terminally ill friend. They include guidelines, a how-to workbook section, and compassionate suggestions. One of our support group members in Portland, OR followed the book in caring for a dear friend---she was very impressed.

Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know
Lori Hope

This book, written by a cancer survivor herself, helps us with things to say or not say and things to do or not do. The author gives us a patient's perspective about facing a life changing disease. It is a book we cancer survivors would like all our friends and family to read!

Ovarian Cancer: Patient Centered Guides
Kristine Conner and Lauren Langford

This comprehensive guide is an essential resource for ovarian cancer survivors. I wish I had this book when I was diagnosed. It covers many topics in a professional and compassionate manner. If you only buy one book, get this one!

100 Questions and Answers About Ovarian Cancer
Don S. Dizon, MD; Nadeem R. Abu-Rustum, MD; and Andrea Gibbs Brown

This book is written by gynecologic oncologist, a gynecologic surgeon, and an ovarian cancer survivor. It provides both doctor’s and patient’s views. It is straightforward and very informative.

Dancing in Limbo: Making Sense of Life After Cancer
Glenna Halvorson-Boyd and Lisa Hunter

This book is written by two cancer survivors. They address the emotional and psychological issues that surface after the surgery and initial treatment: the loneliness, the uncertainty, fear of recurrence, the courage to live with fear, and the effect of survivor issues on our relationships with others. This book helped me make sense of some of my feelings after treatment.

Diagnosis Cancer: Your Guide Through the First Few Months
Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.        

Dr. Wendy Harpham is both a physician and cancer survivor. In this book she shares her personal and professional experience to help patients to make sound decisions as well as to deal with the shock of a cancer diagnosis.

After Cancer: A Guide to Your New Life
Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.

In this book, Dr. Harpham, herself a cancer survivor, speaks to life after diagnosis, surgery, and initial treatment. Life after a cancer diagnosis is different. Dr. Harpham helps the survivor move on by addressing many issues, such as follow-up, coping with practicalities of living, relationships with family and friends. Excellent information and insights.

Happiness In A Storm
Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.

This book, the latest by Dr. Wendy Harpham, with a simple table of contents and detailed index, make this an easy to reach for resource as well as the more important role; a straight forward roadmap through the maze of choice and the paradox of hope after diagnosis to the fundamental truth that empowerment through knowledge can lead to becoming a healthy survivor, one who can truly find "Happiness In A Storm".

Outside the Lines---of Life, Love, and Cancer
Annette Leal Mattern

Annette Leal Mattern, who was treated for her ovarian cancer in Portland, has written this book about her experience with ovarian cancer and its recurrence. She offers tips on how to take charge of one’s own health care and how to let others help out. Annette is currently serving on the board of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.    
       

Cancer Etiquette: What to Say, What to Do When Someone You Know or Love Has Cancer
Roseanne Kalick

Roseanne Kalick has written a wonderful book for survivors and those who love them. Very often, friends and family members don't know how to respond to the cancer diagnosis of a loved one. The author suggests ways to communicate with the cancer survivor and to show concern in a supportive manner. Cancer survivors will enjoy the book and will identify with comments made by well-meaning friends. The author writes with compassion, wisdom, and humor.

How Doctors Think
Jerome Groopman, M.D.

This book is the strong medicine we all need to get the best care from our cdoctors by being the best informed and most aggressive patients we can be. He encourages patients to ask more questions, even to change doctors if you don't like the one you have (or feel he/she does not like you). He advocates being an active participant in getting the help you need and choosing the treatments that benefit you on your terms. (Dr. Groopman is also the author of another wonderful book, The Anatomy of Hope.)       

Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) Through Diagnosis,
Treatment, and Beyond
Marc Silver

A newly diagnosed cancer patient is overwhelmed and in shock, no matter what kind of cancer it is. How people closest to us react and try to encourage us can be either helpful or devastating. That's when we hand the spouse or friend this wonderful book to help educate our caregivers to talk more kindly to us. A person who is diagnosed at a stage of cancer that can only be controlled but not cured is not helped by, "You'll be fine, you're going to beat this!". Rather, hearing, "I love you, you're strong, and I'm with you all the way," is much better. The book helps us talk smarter to new friends who are also dealing with cancer.
       

Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life
Eugene O'Kelly

This book is inspiring without being saccharine. CEO of the big accounting firm KPMG, happily married and a father, an avid golfer and a good friend, Gene resigned from his job when he got his brain cancer diagnosis and a projected three months to live. He spent his remaining days getting treatment, saying goodbye to friends and family, and writing this amazing book. His appreciation of the time he had left is moving and instructive.

Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics
Miriam Engelberg

OK - so you are past the diagnosis. You get treatment. You have read plenty of self-help books which detail how you can live a more balanced life, eat the right vegetables and fruits, reduce stress, take the vitamins and think positive thoughts. Now is the time for this book. You need to laugh. As we all know, we laugh to survive.

Miriam is a breast cancer survivor who created this graphic memoir which looks at every element of the cancer experience in cartoons. This isn’t another Wonder Woman Comic. Our heroine struggles with luck, nausea, compassion, anger, family, TV and sex - it is all here. She has a sardonic take on these items, sometime sarcastic, but always clear-eyed. Just reading this book made me feel like a better person because I had these thoughts, but never told anyone. Share this book with other like-minded survivors and it will prompt conversations you might never have had. Most of all, though, just laugh.

When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children
Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.

Dr. Harpham was diagnosed in 1990 at age 36 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma when her children were not yet two, four and six years of age. Her first recurrence happened about one year after her initial diagnosis and she went through six cancer treatments before her remission which has lasted since 1998. As an internist, survivor and parent of children who experienced their mother's cancer for much of their formative years, she has a unique perspective on how to communicate with one's own children about cancer.

When a Parent Has Cancer grew from postscripts Dr. Harpham developed to accompany a children's story she wrote with the help of her children called Becky and the Worry Cup (published in 1997). Written in bite-size chapters, Becky and the Worry Cup provides the stories which help prepare children for the changes cancer brings into their lives. It also helps parents discuss cancer while addressing their children's fears. It demonstrates that "children really can do something about the monster (cancer) in their home." Becky and the Worry Cup comes with each copy of When a Parent Has Cancer.

No one really prepares you to deal with cancer and each experience is different. However, the cancer experience happens to the whole family. You know that your doubts, fears and illness will have a pronounced ripple effect on those closest to you -- your family and children. As much as you'd like to protect them from the uncertainty of it all, Dr. Harpham makes a compelling argument for sharing the experience with your children - understanding that, depending upon his/her age, each child will experience your illness differently. And she encourages you to be kind to yourself in this process as "there is no right way to parent - so don't try to be perfect."

The three key points which provide the foundation for the book are simple, but not easy.
    1) Establish and maintain open communication
    2) Always tell the truth, couched in love and hopefulness
    3) Ensure that your children's basic needs are met

Dr. Harpham provides examples and stories which clearly demonstrate how to take her advice and turn it into actions, requests for help and into the language you need to talk with your kids. She helps parents deal with their own needs. She find the words that you are looking for and shapes them into articulate messages for the child who will hear them.

The reader can quite literally open this book to any chapter and receive sound and practical advice. The table of contents makes it possible to find exactly what you are looking for. From "Caring for your children through the crisis of a new diagnosis" to "Caring for the children when cancer recurs or becomes a chronic disease" to "Helping your children live with uncertainty and tame their fear of death", Dr. Harpham covers every possible situation you may face. I started on the chapter for teenagers - the age of my children - and found her advice "spot on" in communicating with them. I jumped around the book - reading Becky next, Dr. Harpham's own story, how to use the book (instructions), and finally read the book all the way through.

Key points are highlighted. Each chapter has a simple summary. She knows that cancer patients and care givers have limited attention or energy - so she highlights important parts for those who might just skim through it. I was given this book in my first few months with cancer and read parts of it, but was too overwhelmed to read it all. Now - one year later, I understand more fully the value of such a guide and find myself intentionally integrating her suggestions into my own future planning.

When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children is one of the most useful tools I have found for thinking through the cancer experience, planning and thoughtfully communicating with your children. Whether you are a cancer patient, or you are a family member or friend of a cancer patient, this is a must read if you want to be prepared to be both loving and truthful with children who face the effects of cancer in their family.


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