The Tender Bud is the moving story of one woman's journey through breast cancer. The woman in question happens to be a senior psychiatrist of broad learning and deep clinical insight. Madeleine Meldin weathered the crisis of breast cancer without the support of an immediate family and in the context of ongoing professional burdens. This book is the journal that she wrote for herself as an aid to coping with the personal upheaval of diagnosis, mastectomy, and the aftermath of treatment. It was written while these events unfolded. With arresting candor, Meldin chronicles her emotions at each stage of her odyssey - the recurrent cycles of denial, anxiety, and despair; the conflicting feelings engendered by her physicians, surgeons, and the treatment "establishment" in general; her struggle between resignation and emergent hopefulness.
Unique to Meldin's account is her ongoing juxtaposition of the different dimensions of "having cancer." Simply and gracefully, she chronicles the everyday dimension of cancer, with its obligation to proceed maturely and dispassionately with medical and surgical care, to meet one's professional responsibilities, to maintain the appearances that allow one to carry on with one's life. Meldin excels at showing how even the most mundane experiences of everyday life - conversations with friends and colleagues, the selection of clothes, a trip to the hairdresser - became saturated with her illness, with her sense of herself as a cancer patient.