Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ladies, Get Your Mammograms

The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming
and Other Lessons I Learned from Breast Cancer
by Jennie Nash

This is a quick read and surprisingly entertaining, given its sober and scary subject matter. Jennie Nash is an anomaly - she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35, well before the age 40 threshold where physicians recommend annual mammograms. Some doctors say annual checks are not necessary until a woman hits 50. Statistically that may be true, but Jennie Nash would not have survived had she not followed her instincts and visited the radiologist.

Nash shares her experience very candidly, telling about her moments of courage and grace as well as her tantrums and moments of utter despair. She has a quirky sense of humor that comes through her narrative. As a writer, she believes that telling one's story is part of the healing process and she encourages other women to share their experiences as well. Jennie Nash's "lessons" range from wryly funny (perusing the "perfect" bodies in the Victoria's Secret catalog and instead of envying what she never had, mourning what she was about to lose) to devastatingly sad - in her chapter titled "Sometimes the Good Die Young" she shares the story of her friend Lisa who died of lung cancer at age 36. Not everyone survives.

This is a helpful book to read if you (or someone you know) are struggling with the decisions related to breast cancer and the body image issues that can result. It is also a word of hope for women who live in dread of the diagnosis. It is reminder to trust our own instincts about our bodies. Finally, it should prod those of us who procrastinate to schedule our mammograms and actually go to them. I scheduled an appointment this morning. Seriously.

Reverent Reader


At 5/17/08, 12:01 PM , Anonymous Betsy said...

Hi Leslie,

I posted a comment but it didn't "take"! Betsy

At 5/17/08, 12:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, what I said was "reading your blog is an excellent way to spend some Saturday morning time; and I think you did an excellent job reviewing this book"! Betsy

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