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Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors [Paperback]

Barbara Delinsky
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20 2003
5th Anniversary Edition! Featuring a new Foreword by the author, as well as an additional chapter that follows up on the lives of the original contributors. With "Uplift," bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, whose life has been shaped by her mother's breast cancer as well as her own, created a resource she wished she'd had for herself during her own treatment: one that is filled with all the helpful advice that only the women who have already been there can tell us about -- from tips on even the smallest details of daily life to inspiring personal anecdotes that amuse, comfort, and instruct. Here, readers can find answers to all the questions they were afraid to -- or never even knew how to -- ask: What kind of deodorant can I use during radiation? Are there certain foods that really satisfy on treatment days? How do I address my surgery with my coworkers? Will I still feel feminine? And what about a sex life? Practical, warm, often funny, always reassuring, "Uplift" arms readers with the various means by which countless women diagnosed with breast cancer have faced their fears, survived their illness, and bravely gotten on with life and love, career and family.

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From Amazon

A book as uplifting as the disease it discusses is tragic, Uplift is an inspiring collection of voices of breast cancer survivors. Barbara Delinsky, author of The Woman Next Door and other novels, and herself a survivor of breast cancer, presents inspirational snippets from more than 300 women sharing breast cancer tips and experiences. Reading this book is like listening to the friendly hubbub of a crowd of women all offering advice and comments. They share practical tips about comfortable clothing after mastectomy, treatments for radiation burns, nausea remedies, wigs, advice for friends, and more. They share stories of supportive husbands, boyfriends, and family members who continue to love them. "I will love you till the day I die, whether you have one breast or none," says one husband. "Breasts don't laugh, smile, share brilliance, or give kindness," says another man. Every experience is positive and supportive, but not gushy. The humor chapter will make you laugh aloud.

Delinsky envisioned this book as "the support group that I had never joined but could have used, the one that offered all the practical little secrets of survival that have nothing to do with doctors, machines, or drugs and everything to do with women helping women." She succeeds. (Delinsky is donating all her earnings on this book to breast cancer research.) --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Delinsky (A Woman's Place), a prolific popular novelist, lost her mother to breast cancer and is herself a survivor of the disease. This practical guide is a worthy addition to recent literature about how individual women deal with this illness, like Jennie Nash's The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming (reviewed above). Delinsky has collected a compendium of survival secrets "that have nothing to do with doctors, machines or drugs and everything to do with women helping women" that she wished had been available to her when she was diagnosed in 1994. She offers short personal anecdotes contributed by breast cancer survivors of every age and background. They recount the strategies that helped them through all aspects of cancer, including diagnosis, treatment, support groups and how to best conduct relationships with family, friends and in the workplace. Upbeat in tone, the women share such tips as the types of deodorants that may be used during radiation, how to handle hair loss ("I called my hair dresser and had the remainder of my hair buzzed off.... My buzzed head represented strength and control"), what foods will lessen nausea and, in general, how to take charge of one's life and remain positive. Almost everyone will find something in this varied advice that applies to her particular situation. Several women, for example, thought that hiring a professional to clean for them was extremely beneficial during draining treatments, while another found the mindless "therapy" involved in weeding the garden helpful. Delinsky also contributes several reminiscences, e.g., of her determination to remain physically strong and emotionally healthy after her diagnosis.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars triumphant uplifting inspirational May 14 2003
By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Known for her strong dramas and her incredible publication rate, Barbara Delinsky has written her best work ever with this uplifting work of nonfiction. UPLIFT: SECRETS FROM THE SISTERHOOD OF BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS is a lot more than just a self-help guide though that is a major part of the book. Ms. Delinsky and friends provides "secrets that their respective doctors and others never told them about in their personal fight with breast cancer, a disease that played on the psyche of most of the participants. In the case of Ms. Delinsky she also had the haunting memory of her mom's death from this potential killer.
Part angst, part strategy, part belonging (an open invitation to join this courageous survivor's club) the book is loaded with anecdotal tales from survivors of the war. The optimistic tips will buoy the individual ready to do battle on how to take control of one's life instead of the physician, well meaning family members, or the illness running the show. Delinsky and the other veterans earn purple hearts as they furbish a triumphant uplifting inspirational tale that gives hope not just to breast cancer victims, but anyone facing the horrors of a devastating potentially deadly disease.
Harriet Klausner
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Format:Hardcover
If you have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, get this book. It has hundreds of tips and suggestions from those who have been through it. These are the things that your doctors can't tell you about, because few of them have actually experienced it. Author Barbara Delinsky invited breast cancer survivors to share their best tips and stories. Some of them are quite funny, but you'd have to be "one of the sisterhood" to understand. I first checked it out from the library, but decided I had to have my own copy. I will refer to it frequently during this next year, when I am under treatment for early-stage BC.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Memories Feb. 9 2002
Format:Hardcover
What a terrific and enlightening manual of information. The book helped me to remember my daughter's diagnoses, surgery and chemo back in March of '94. She was 38, a single Mom, had a huge faith in God and a sense of humor that wouldn't quit! Thank you Barbara for this book. Every woman should read it, whether she is a survivor, just diagnosed or a woman with empathy for what others think, feel and experience during their healing. Wouldn't hurt a bit for the men to read UPLIFT too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is very Uplifting! Oct. 25 2001
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book for anyone going through cancer treatments. If you have any questions, Barbara's book has the answers from diagnosis to end of treatments. I feel honored that I have comments in her book and all proceeds go to breast cancer research.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful book for those just diagnosed with breast cancer March 7 2002
By Diane S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, get this book. It has hundreds of tips and suggestions from those who have been through it. These are the things that your doctors can't tell you about, because few of them have actually experienced it. Author Barbara Delinsky invited breast cancer survivors to share their best tips and stories. Some of them are quite funny, but you'd have to be "one of the sisterhood" to understand. I first checked it out from the library, but decided I had to have my own copy. I will refer to it frequently during this next year, when I am under treatment for early-stage BC.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Secrets" from your healthcare team! Aug. 4 2004
By kris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As an oncology nurse I am constantly looking for resources that will be helpful to my patients. I came across this book and read it in my spare time...WOW!

This book has it all. When my patients say that they have seen so much on this subject and aren't sure what to read we give them this book. It's chapters are short, sweet and to the point. Exactly what my patients ask for. The practical suggestions and advice has been tested by our patients and they swear by this book, both as a resource and as an encouraging lift. These are the things that only other survivors know about. I am so glad it's out there.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars triumphant uplifting inspirational May 14 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Known for her strong dramas and her incredible publication rate, Barbara Delinsky has written her best work ever with this uplifting work of nonfiction. UPLIFT: SECRETS FROM THE SISTERHOOD OF BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS is a lot more than just a self-help guide though that is a major part of the book. Ms. Delinsky and friends provides "secrets that their respective doctors and others never told them about in their personal fight with breast cancer, a disease that played on the psyche of most of the participants. In the case of Ms. Delinsky she also had the haunting memory of her mom's death from this potential killer.
Part angst, part strategy, part belonging (an open invitation to join this courageous survivor's club) the book is loaded with anecdotal tales from survivors of the war. The optimistic tips will buoy the individual ready to do battle on how to take control of one's life instead of the physician, well meaning family members, or the illness running the show. Delinsky and the other veterans earn purple hearts as they furbish a triumphant uplifting inspirational tale that gives hope not just to breast cancer victims, but anyone facing the horrors of a devastating potentially deadly disease.
Harriet Klausner
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have heard the words "It's Malignant" buy this book fast! Sept. 14 2005
By Kasha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When a woman hears the words, "You have breast cancer" the next thing that should happen is that someone hands her a copy of this book. I bought this beautifully inspirational book as soon as I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Before I ever started learning about the disease or the treatments I needed to hear from women who had survived, and that is what this book is all about. My first question when I was diagnosed was "Am I going to die?" UPLIFT was the best medicine for me in the early days of diagnosis. I read every page within two days of my diagnosis, and only then was I able to face the challenge ahead of me. The stories of strength and courage infused me with a passion and energy to survive at a time when all I could see was darkness. This book is priceless. If you buy one inspirational book about dealing with breast cancer, make sure this is it, whether it's for yourself or for someone you know who has just been told, "It's malignant."
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for breast cancer victims and those who love them Oct. 8 2006
By M. L Lamendola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a "must read" for anyone who has a family history of breast cancer, is currently undergoing treatment for it, is a survivor, or is close to anyone who has breast cancer or has survived it.

Breast cancer, while predominantly a "female disease" does strike men (it also strikes transgendered individuals, especially those on female hormone regimens).

The need for a book with a title like "uplift" becomes apparent when we stop and think about the place of the female breast in modern culture. Mass media and many aspects of our culture fixate on breasts in such a way that many women feel defined by their breasts. Consequently, breast loss can have a profoundly diminishing effect on a woman's self image.

In some locations, the emphasis on breasts has become extreme. I live in Kansas City, which is second only to Hollywood for the number of breast augmentations done per year (both in actual numbers and per capita). In the late 1990s (while in KS), I had a girlfriend who was so striking that my buddies referred to her as "that goddess."

But she didn't see her incredible beauty. She agonized over the fact she was small-breasted (an A cup). Not only was she beautiful, she was intelligent, articulate, and entertaining. If you had a list of the 1,000 most desirable characteristics a woman could have, you could check off one after the other in her case.

Despite her looks, brains, and personality, she was immensely insecure. She even chewed her nails down to the quick. The problem, in my opinion, was she succumbed to false comparisons that left her feeling she was somehow deficient because she wasn't carrying around huge levels of silicone, saline, or adipose tissue on her chest.

One time, she asked, "What do you see in me?" I was so stunned by the question, and so incapable of knowing even where to begin, that I couldn't reply quickly. She took this as confirmation that she wasn't "woman enough" and said so. That's about on par with saying Lance Armstrong isn't "biker enough." Yet, this idea dominated her self-image. She typifies what many women go through, even without breast cancer. Imagine the feelings after losing a breast or two.

How could this woman, with so much going for her, become emotionally impoverished over what is basically a minor cosmetic attribute? Especially when, only a few generations ago, women in America bound their breasts in an effort to hide them? That's a good question. It's one to think about.

In the meantime, think about how devastating it must be for most women to lose a breast or both breasts. That is one of the many issues facing women with breast cancer. Men with breast cancer don't face that particular issue, but they share all of the other breast cancer issues with their female counterparts (including, for most men, the loss of hair).

Of course hearing "You have cancer" is devastating to anyone. While cure rates today for most cancers are high (if the cancer is caught early), we still think of it as "the deadly disease." Most of us want to survive, so we avail ourselves of modern medicine in an attempt--one that is usually successful--to beat the cancer. But the process is grueling, painful, scary, exhausting, and risky. With breast cancer, there are additional emotional pressures--especially for women.

Uplift takes us through every stage of the breast cancer victim's long ordeal, and it even follows up with survivors five years after. The book is essentially a well-organized collection of thoughts of people who made the journey, along with some thoughts contributed by those who traveled with them. Delinsky's commentary helps the reader keep those thoughts in perspective, and she does an excellent job of prefacing the material in each section.

I don't know how much material Delinsky actually sifted through. But the result of her labors is a mix that is variously uplifting, instructional, and insightful. There's nothing sappy or boring in any of it.

For example, how do you feel after reading this excerpt from a woman who talks about hiding her bald head from her husband of thirty five years. She'd let him see her only in a wig or turban (towel wrapped around her head after a shower). The pressure apparently got to her one day, after she let him in the bathroom:

"...but suddenly I decided to just take the stupid towel off my head, and I immediately started to cry. Mike held me, smiled right into my lashless eyes, and said, 'So what?' And I thought the best I'd ever heard was 'I love you.'"

Uplift brings real power to people who are fighting breast cancer, whether on the front lines or in a supporting role. Those who've read Uplift can stride into this ferocious battle, this fight to the death, with greater calm and a deeper well of reserve to draw from. Those who are in supporting roles will not have to clumsily grope their way through, but can instead understand how to be a powerful ally to the person they don't want to lose.

Most books have one or two strong chapters that stand above the rest. I can't say that about Uplift. It's all strong. It's all good. It's all worth reading again.

Unfortunately, I won't have the opportunity to re-read my copy any time soon, because it is going to a breast cancer survivor and then on to make its rounds. Yes, the borrowers will eventually buy a copy for their own bookshelves, but my copy will be gone for quite some time.

It looks like I'll have to pony up for a second or third copy, so I have one on hand. But that's not all bad, either: all of the author's proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.
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