2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
"My body was fighting and I felt so weak. I hate feeling weak.... Even to this day, after cancer I am still coming to terms with my physical limitations." (pages 99-100)
The battle against breast cancer often lasts for the rest of a survivor's life. Barbara Mills is fighting such a battle, and she details her struggle in I am a Warrior: My Journey through Cancer. This book, written primarily in journal form, is an honest, detailed journey through her diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent side effects. She prepares a framework for readers with information about her family background, marriage ups and downs, and work history. Mills writes transparently; after reading the book, I feel as if I know her. The book includes personal touches like thoughts from her husband and sons. She also unashamedly shares pictures of her journey, complete with portraits made post-mastectomy.
Mills describes her months of treatments, saying she was both scared and numb. While she faced an overwhelming number of procedures, the numbness helped her to get through her battle one step at a time. She says the most unpleasant part she experienced was waiting — waiting for appointments, waiting for results, and waiting for what was next.
In medical regard, Mills discusses the possible causes and early diagnoses of cancers. Asserting that we often know our bodies better than doctors do, she suggests that people request blood tests if we feel something is "off." She believes that many people are diagnosed too late because some symptoms don't present to doctors right away. Mills also wonders if stress and depression are as much of a factor in getting cancer as environmental factors and genetics. She explains that she had been through several stressful life events before her diagnosis, including many accidents and health events which caused stress on her body.
She is completely straightforward when discussing the side effects of chemotherapy: nausea, mouth sores, diarrhea, and more. She makes suggestions to people going through chemo, including using the famous magic mouthwash! She finds it funny that everyone simply calls it "magic mouthwash," and I agree! She calls it that in Canada, and we call it that here in the US.
Cancer can take many things, but it will also give you perspective. Mills was off work so long that her outlook on life changed. I enjoyed reading her discovery that her job did not define her. She was no longer a worker. She was a woman, a warrior, with a purpose outside of her career.
Much of her journey sounded familiar to me, a breast cancer survivor. I enjoyed her honest and transparent approach to her story. I thought a couple of times I might have to step away from the book because several things transported me back emotionally. However, I kept reading and found connections and affirmation. It was comforting to discover that I wasn't the only one who endured some of the same struggles, who had some of the same thoughts.
I give this candid journal 2 out of 4 stars. Barbara Mills has great courage in sharing her story, and she is, indeed, a warrior. As much as I enjoyed it, I am taking one star from my rating for editing and one for textual issues. There are many editing errors, including spelling and punctuation, and there are also some organizational issues. For instance, the first chapter repeats most of the information in the Introduction. Additionally, there are confusing sections as verb tenses often shift from past to present and back again.
This book would appeal to people wanting to understand the honest details of how a breast cancer diagnosis changes a life. Prospective readers should know that it includes adult language and post-surgical photos.
I am a Warrior
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like sarahmarlowe's review? Post a comment saying so!