The Bottom Line
- Terrifically well written book
- Honest story of balancing life, family, and cancer
- Nash is a good example of a proactive patient
- Story tugs at your heart without being sappy or manipulative
- Practical advice on surviving treatment with grace
- Missing: clinical details about her diagnosis
- Pedicle flap reconstruction was initially referred to as free flap reconstruction
- Author: Jennie Nash
- Publisher: Scribner
- ISBN-10: 0743219791
- ISBN-13: 978-0743219792
- Copyright: 2001
- List Price: US $20.00
- Book Details: Hardcover, 160 pages
Guide Review - The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming - Jennie Nash
Jennie Nash was too young for a mammogram, and her best friend Lisa had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Going on her instincts, Nash asked to have a mammogram to check out a "small tightness" in her chest. Later she would be told that her left breast was loaded with cancer. Diagnosed at 35, she was married, with two young daughters, and had a career as a writer and editor. Suddenly, she has a lot of decicions to make.
Nash shares her story with us, even thought we don't get the full clinical details of her diagnosis. Instead, she chooses to focus on how having cancer affected her relationships. She and her husband have quiet talks in their hot tub, and a good long cry on the bathroom floor. Together, they face the threat to her life and the loss of her breast. Together they explain her diagnosis to their daughters. She spreads the news to her network of friends and relatives, and receives support, stories of lumps, surgery, treatments, recurrence and even death. After meeting a plastic surgeon who at first resembles a construction worker, she decides on a SIEA Flap reconstruction instead of a TRAM. Along the way, she meets other women who have experienced breast cancer and reconstruction, and benefits from their advice.
Each chapter opens with a thoughtful paragraph that summarizes her thoughts on what she learned from her experience. The chapters are presented as "Lessons I Learned from Breast Cancer." Lesson 6 is titled "The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming" and begins with "You can't ignore the images of beautiful breasts that pervade our society," and goes on to ruminate over appearance, surgical damage, how breasts and beauty are valued, and how breast cancer causes a special kind of loss. Anyone who has ever had a breast biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction will be nodding in recognition of the emotions and decisions that breast cancer presents.
Nash's lessons from breast cancer contain some practical advice, but she is never preachy. Like Nash, many of us may have to navigate visits with parents who are separated, children who are to young to completely understand, and neighbors who bring casseroles. She honestly tells us how she dealt with life going on despite her cancer - and we get the feeling that we, too can deal, and survive.