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I Am Not My Breast Cancer: Women Talk Openly About Love and Sex, Hair Loss and Weight Gain, Mothers and Daughters, and Being a Woman with Breast Cancer [Hardcover]

Ruth Peltason

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Book Description

Jan. 17 2008

"I am not my breast, and I am not cancer; they are only pieces of who I am. What is my heart like, am I kind, strong, loving, compassionate. . . . Those are the things that count."

I Am Not My Breast Cancer gathers the warm, loving, frank, and informed voices of more than 800 women—from every state in the nation and from continents as far away as Australia and Africa—who reveal their fears, trade advice, share experiences, and express their deepest, most intimate concerns. Nothing before this groundbreaking book has captured the real experience of breast cancer. It is essential reading for any woman with this diagnosis.

I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women the companionship of other women dealing with this disease. Ruth Peltason, who has twice undergone treatment for breast cancer, has woven their stories together while maintaining the authenticity of their voices. These are ordinary women dealing with this cancer and its many ramifications. They range in age from their early twenties to their late seventies. They are the collective face of breast cancer today. Their comments are moving, sometimes funny, always honest. They speak out on every topic, from lovemaking and intimacy to losing their hair, from juggling the day-to-day realities of being a patient, mother, wife, and coworker to the overwhelming worries about their own mortality. Remarkably, they emerge with grace and optimism and a determination not to be defined by disease.

Taking the reader chronologically through the stages of diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and self-discovery, I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women a deeper understanding of themselves and living with cancer. As Peltason writes in her introduction, "My greatest wish for this book is that it offer comfort to any woman living with breast cancer and to those who care about her. If this book is kept on the bedside table, then I hope its need is brief and its impact lasting. I Am Not My Breast Cancer speaks of courage, heroism in deeds small and large, and incredible faith and fortitude."

"You can live without a breast. You cannot say the same for the human heart."

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (Jan. 17 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061174106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061174100
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,328,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Peltason, an editor and breast cancer survivor, founded and hosted the First Person Plural Web site project, an online forum for women facing the disease. Their dialogue provides the content for this book, culled from the entries of 800 women across the U.S. and around the world. Peltason organizes the material into three general parts: Diagnosis, Living with Breast Cancer and The Big Picture, with such subtopics as Sharing the News, Being Womanly and Anniversaries and Milestones. Participants use screen names for privacy, approaching their disease with candor and freely discussing their feelings about their bodies and their relationships. At times, those overcome by anger and fear far outweigh those with a bright outlook, but when these survivors look in the mirror at the conclusion of the text, many envision a hopeful future. Perhaps the most poignant entries are from younger women, some of whom have been driven into early menopause and infertility by chemotherapy. Although this is an informative book, some survivors may discover that these raw entries churn up disturbing emotions; others will find comfort in these voices, and in the knowledge that they aren't alone—either in their sorrow or in their strength and courage. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Filled with experience, strength and hope. It even offers humor and fine words affirming to any woman with breast cancer that they are not defined by that cancer...I AM NOT MY BREAST CANCER is part support system, part honest analysis from women who’ve been there.” (RecoveryWorld.com)

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this to anyone affected by breast cancer. Feb. 10 2008
By John Rogers ClarkIV - Published on Amazon.com
As a man whose wife is undergoing chemotherapy, I wanted to read this book for several reasons. I wanted as much understanding as possible about the emotional aspects for all involved, I wanted to see how well I was doing as the significant other and I wanted to Understand what I might be missing/overlooking about the whole process.
This book did an incredible job answering all three questions. The distillation of wisdom, anger, hope and total honesty of the 800 women involved in the creation of this book is amazing. The brief, but succinct comments, collected on such a diverse arrangements of topics will not only provide helpful paths for those undergoing treatment, but also for ANY family member, friend or co-worker sincerely interested in understanding and supporting the individual battling the disease of breast cancer.
This book should be in every public and health science library as it will do for the soul and spirit what other books cannot.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a support group, only BETTER! Feb. 12 2008
By Kathryn M. Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Reading I Am Not My Breast Cancer is like attending a support group for women with breast cancer, only better. Instead of hearing the experiences of one or a few women, the reader shares the cancer journey with hundreds of women. The 800 women who participated in the original project from which the book is drawn are from all across the United States and from several other countries as well. They shared their feelings and experiences with openness and honesty. They laughed and cried together, gave each other advice, and bonded with each other.

Ruth Peltason took those many and varied threads and wove them lovingly into this book. I Am Not My Breast Cancer is not a medical resource, it is a practical resource. It is not the story of one woman's breast cancer, it is the distillation of hundreds of women's experiences with breast cancer--young women, women in midlife, older women, women with early stage disease and women with metastatic disease. Ms. Peltason, herself a two time breast cancer survivor, treats each woman's experience with dignity and respect.

Any woman touched by breast cancer will find herself in the pages of this book, and it will help those around her understand a little better what she may be going through. Cancer centers and doctors' offices should be sure this volume is added to their libraries--it fills a void and meets a need like no other book out there. As a breast cancer survivor, I say, "Thank you, Ms. Peltason, for writing I Am Not My Breast Cancer!"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These ladies really get it! Feb. 10 2008
By Carol Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book should-WILL become a key resource for any woman (or man) who has recently been diagnosed with Breast cancer. It will also bring those who have lived with the disease in remission or hence eradicated, with a sense of comraderie that you rarely glimpse once you are "years out", as we say in the world of survivors. Anyone reading this collection of online dialogs will be able to relate to what is being said. Those who have "been there" will smile, laugh, cry and nod in agreement while reading through the hundreds of passages that have been included in this rich, compassionate and inspirational book. The author Ruth Peltason has also added her own notations peppered throughout, to share some of her own experience as a 2 time Breast Cancer survivor. These women GET IT! I believe this book will also aid those who have stood by watching helplessly as someone they love is effected by this horrendous disease. It allows others to see and feel what these women really went through. Buy this book for a friend, a co-worker, a loved one, or to share with a medical professional. The wisdom, the humor, the warmth that these women have shared online and now in book form is a personal journey that touches the soul. Highly Recommneded!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know how the women who've had it feel? July 11 2009
By SummerKy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book, along with four others, because I am writing a novel in which my character learns that she has breast cancer. I really wanted to know what she would be going through, and not just the medical side of it, but the emotional, the physical, the sexual and the psychological. It's all here and it comes directly from the women who experienced it. This is really a gem. I do not have breast cancer, thankfully, and I really hope I never have to endure these things that I've read about, however these women really shine in their honesty and their courage. I was shocked to learn how much they have to go through. They don't tell us these things. I had no idea that chemotherapy caused premature menopause. I knew it caused nausea, fatigue and hair loss but all of the other multitudes of difficulty, I just had no idea. Regardless if you have cancer or not, this book is something all women should read. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me feel not so alone.. Oct. 21 2011
By Mel_Cali - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was the closest thing to group therapy I was able to have years after my breast cancer. Seeing what all those women had to say helped me deal with the issues I have now and have had since losing both of my breasts at 30 yrs old. The weight gain while people look at you funny thinking "HOW do you gain weight on chemo... yea right" when they have no idea how easily it happens, having one arm twice the size of the other because of lymphedema, and looking at clothes I so wish I could wear but don't have anything to hold them up anymore are the things getting to me most. BUT.. I am alive and that makes all the difference - not everyone that wrote in this book is, and I hurt for each and every one of them that lost their battle. This book may or may not help you grasp what a gift being alive really is, but it did so for me and is well worth a read. Shame there are only 5 stars.

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