5 out of 5 stars
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A little pain here and there? Be careful! Check it out; you might just have much more to deal with, just as John discovered when he woke up one morning with a stiff, knotted neck. From an uncomfortable room in Oxfordshire to BP's nurse's clinic and then to Washington, DC, he journeys to find out what the cause of the stiff neck could be. His final answer leaves him in a difficult situation as the doctor informs him of his life-threatening diagnosis. He had developed Stage IV cancer of the pharynx (throat cancer). He was going to have a protracted hike up the mountain of recovery from his Stage IV cancer. Read through the pages of this concise book to find out how 50-year-old John Gore, at the time, survived cancer.
When I first came across this book, I thought it was about overcoming stage fright when faced with an audience because the first thing I saw was the title: Stage Fright. I didn't realise the book was about coping with cancer until I saw the entire cover page, subtitle included. Later, I felt that the author must have placed the title there based on his actual knowledge and skill in the dramatics. It was a deliberate play on words as a way of referring to the fright (initial fear) you experience when having to battle with a killer such as cancer and how you can overcome that kind of "stage fright". At least this was my interpretation of the relationship between the title and its content.
I believe when it comes to cancer, we can take advice from New York-born government and public affairs professional, author, and three-time cancer survivor, John Gore. He documents his experience with so much detail and a sub-story about British Petroleum (BP), where he worked for most of his life.
The first thing worth noting about Stage Fright: 15 Rules for Coping with Cancer is the author's ability to pen a good story. He narrated the story quite well and with a lot of humour, so you'll almost forget that you're reading a book about someone's struggle with cancer.
This book makes for an easy read with only twelve relatively short chapters and 91 pages. There are no photos, but the author's humorous narration will make anyone relax into the story. Another thing I liked, which I felt the author did well to include as a way of balancing out the story, was the postscript. It is basically a message to someone who may not feel bold enough to fight cancer because of their few privileges.
The only thing I found difficult to imagine or follow was the description of a few medical procedures, like the installation of the speech prosthesis from Doctor Blom. I couldn't imagine how the author really looked with that description of a hole (stoma) present in his throat region. It felt a bit terrifying to imagine, especially when he said that he had probably swallowed it, and his dinner started pouring out of the stoma in his neck. However, I must make it clear that the author did a great job at breaking down the procedure for the three rounds of treatment for his first pharyngeal cancer.
One other thing I would have really loved to see in the book were photographs and also the meanings of BP (British Petroleum) and "Nigerian Death Poop". It would have been great if the author had left the meanings as footnotes. But these were too insignificant to affect my rating compared to how well-written and exceptionally edited the book is. Yes, I found absolutely no errors!
I therefore rate it 5 out of 5 stars because the positives outweigh any seemingly negative comments. I recommend this book to cancer patients, their relatives, and other survivors. It would definitely cheer them up.
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