We're In This Together
Cindy Harris has beat cancer twice - two different types of cancer - and she had an excellent caregiver to carry her through. He wasn't trained or certified or even experienced at caring for cancer patients, but he proved to be a very fast learner. I'm talking about her husband, Rob Harris, who wrote their story in his book, "We're In This Together."
Married only nine years when cancer struck her the first time, the Harrises became immersed in the fight to get the best treatment for Cindy. They were raising two young boys at the time, and had to explain cancer to their children. After getting a second opinion on Cindy's options for surgery and radiation, Rob stuck with his wife through long hospital stays, crabby oncologists, chemotherapy and radiation. During that time, he took meticulous notes, learned all he could, protected her health, and even changed their diet to make his wife feel better. This husband took on the most humbling personal clean-up chores as well as the most stubborn doctors and nurses. Truly, Rob and Cindy were in this fight together.
Years later, when a new cancer occurred, they built upon their first experience to navigate a more serious challenge to her health. Cindy developed a very rare sarcoma (cancer in connective tissue) in her knee and surgeons wanted to amputate her leg. This time around, hospital stays were more frequent and became more alarming. Rob had to intervene once with a nurse that was potentially careless with Cindy's pills. When Cindy became very ill with infections and had to stay in the ICU, he refused to leave until she had been stabilized. Their first fight with cancer proved to be very useful in preparing them for surviving more aggressive treatments.
Even though Cindy was the patient, this is Rob's book and is his caregiver's story. He wrote this with the aim of teaching and supporting anyone who might become a family caregiver. His tips and advice are highlighted all through the story and are easy to find. He avoids medical jargon and writes very clearly. Cindy's comments are included, so the reader gets her insights as well. Both of them are practical people who know how to keep a sense of humor and how to appreciate every good day.
This is not a breast cancer survivor book, but I think it will benefit anybody who is a family caregiver for a cancer patient. In fact, I think it will benefit caregivers of many kinds, because it covers so many aspects of home caregiving and patient advocacy. If you are supporting a cancer patient now, or caring for someone in a health crisis, this book should be on your list. These folks have been through the cancer grinder and know what they're talking about, and they can help!