4 out of 4 stars
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Breast Cancer, an Emotional Journey is a nonfiction book by Margaret P. Barnhart.
Early in the year of 1987, Margaret felt a lump in her breast. Soon after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was scheduled for a mastectomy. Then, her internist called her and told her about the need for chemotherapy. Margaret states, "Suddenly, the accumulation of wisdom and experience was inadequate. My religious beliefs flew away. I felt lost." Her experience with cancer threw her into emotional turmoil. Initially, she used the writing and artwork contained in this book as therapy and as a means to express herself creatively. She later decided to publish it because she realized that many still battle against cancer and the wild range of emotions that come with it. She wanted them to know that they are not alone.
Breast Cancer, an Emotional Journey contains the author's narration about her battle against cancer. It also contains beautiful, heartfelt pieces of poetry. Some of these pieces were written at the author's lowest points. Let me highlight just two of my favourites. One piece, "A Hand Full of Hair", touched me to the core. This poem is about the author's pain when she realised that she was losing her hair. Another piece, "Loss of Hair", brought to light how that side effect of chemotherapy brought up so many unexpected feelings and questions. Was it vanity that caused her so much pain over this loss? Or, was it because it was one more reminder that she had cancer? I think others who are battling cancer will be able to identify with the raw feelings expressed in these poems.
Another wonderful feature is the artwork and illustrations. I loved that the author added commentary and discussed when and how she came to create those visual pieces. They took me through a range of emotions. Especially the drawing where she is limply carrying daffodils, which were just another reminder for her that she had cancer.
This book was self published. This is apparent in its formatting. However, I feel that it adds to the book's free-flowing feel. The author's honest expressions are not stifled by strict formatting rules. Yet, it is still neat and pleasant to the eye. It is not cluttered or chaotic.
I cannot think of a single thing that I disliked about this book. I have to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to all those fighting the same battle against cancer that the author fought. I believe it will be a source of comfort. I also recommend it to those without cancer. It will help you to appreciate the inner strength required by cancer patients and survivors.
Breast Cancer, an Emotional Journey
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