Reading suggestions?

Hi All

A brief history for anyone who hasn’t seen me whinging elsewhere on these boards. Symptoms appeared just before Christmas - usual doc and hospital appts followed. Now know I have breast cancer plus lung secondaries. Plan is to start chemo in the next couple of weeks, have a CT scan after three rounds, if the chemo is working then there’ll be more chemo then possibly mx and radiotherapy and tamoxifen. If not working then different chemo.

To be honest I’m struggling with it all at the moment. I know that that is only to be expected, and people tell me once treatment starts I’ll feel better mentally, but right now the paralysing fear is pretty miserable. (In fact I can’t imagine feeling better once treatment starts, just terrified that the CT scan will reveal chemo not working).

I’d really like to have a more positive attitude (at best it would help my health and even if that turns out to be hooey, feeling more positive would definitely be more pleasant than being so relentlessly fearful).

I just wondered if anyone found any books or any other resources that helped them adopt a more postive/calm outlook. I’ve read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Breath (thanks L) which helped. Any other suggestions? (don’t have to be faith based).

Right Mrs (or Miss or Ms)… you have NOT been whinging, so let’s knock that on the head. You are reacting normally and naturally to the events of recent days/weeks and are very wisely seeking support and advice.

Anyway, reading wise, is it stuff about BC you are after, on the basis knowledge is power, and may make you feel calmer, or stuff on techniques for being calmer?

If the former, then the top recommendation is always Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book.

If the latter, I am less able to help, but wonder if there is, near where you live, a Maggie’s centre or other cancer support center/network, as they will have facilities that might help - including alternative therapies and groups (if you ‘do’ groups, I don’t, too much like work!). Also, don’t freak, many hospices have libraries and/or offer support services to people with cancer at any stage.

Hope you find something that helps.

Take care… and be kind to yourself.


For top tips on diet and just a good read: anti cancer (David Servan-Schreiber)

For everything BC from a BC sufferer: Anni’s Cancer Companion

Another from my A bit-Buddhist-but-applies-to-everyone library: Happiness. A guide to developing life’s most important skill (Matthieu Ricard)

It’s pretty natural and the only way I can get around it is to start by taking it minute by minute and then when I’m having a good day, I can go for most of the day (and sometimes days at a time) without having a meltdown. I don’t know if this is helpful but when I was having chemo, while I felt physically rubbish, mentally I was better because I thought, “At least I’m having something that’s stopping me from dying” Hmmm Helpful? Not helpful? Give it a go. Your CT scan is at least 9 weeks away and that is an awful lot of time to be living in a state of fear.

You have forgotten to mention the other possible outcome - What if it works? And if it doesn’t, there are lots of other chemos to try and other treatment options such as Hormones etc.

Accept that you will have good minutes and bad minutes and don’t beat yourself up when you feel bad or when you feel good (that last one is sneaky - you got to watch out for it).


Laurie x

cor, historygirl, talk about bring a bit harsh on yourself
2 suggestions:
the very complicated 'would i say this to / about a friend? technique - as it says on the tin, imagine a friend’s got everything on her plate you’ve got on yours, then imagine saying the beaty-uppy thing to / about her that you’re saying to / about yourself
'nuff said

  • if you want some good resources re ‘mindfulness’ (what revcat talked about a bit - getting good at being completely in the present rather than regretting things from the past or fearing things about the future) i reccomend breathworks -
    yjeir stuff in the ‘pain & illness’ section is particularly good for those of us with … pain & illness
    good luck with your treatment, hope learning to be just a tiny bit nicer to yourself isn’t too awful!

Hello and thank you Revcat, Laurie and Norberte

I’ve had (almost) a day away from the PC in an effort to try to get some ‘normality’ back into my life. Much as this forum has been an absolute life line, I think sitting around every day until the early afternoon, in my moth-eaten dressing gown checking emails and the forum every 5 mins is not entirely beneficial for my mental health (or my physical health for that matter as my dressing gown is in a revolting state. It’s held together by cat fur and toothpaste stains). Anyway, that’s a very long-winded way of saying sorry for not having responded to your kind and helpful messages earlier.

I suppose I’m after all sorts of reading info - BC and general calmness/living in the here and now stuff. So all the suggestions look useful and I’ll be looking into them later. That sounds like a cop-out, it isn’t, but right now I’m actually going to cook with VEGETABLES - I don’t think my recent diet of nothing/crumpets/sherry has been a recipe for happiness either.

Anyway, thanks again to all for the reading suggestions and the not-giving-myself-a-hard-time advice.

D x

Hello historygirl. I am not going to give you a list of books to read because we all have differing taste. I think BCC has a list somewhere. The Helpline would know.
You say you want to get back to normality. That is too hard a wish for it to happen all at once. One day in the distant future you will realise you haven’t thought about Breast Cancer for eight hours. It may take months but it WILL happen. I never thought I would be the sort of person that would need or want to post on these Forums. I was very aware of them and read them in connection with my work…but take part …ME never. Then I got Breast Cancer. I lurked tentatively on the outside reading various bits. The Dark Dark Wood and starting Chemo in August , both so different but both saying in public what I was feeling. One had Black Humour the other fear of the unknown being faced by a band of ladies together…, I became an addict. I found I would compose a long ramble try to press submit and nothing happened. I didn’t realise our slow country yokel broad band connection sometimes meant pressing two or three times. Impatient and cross i bit off my nose to spite my face and stoped trying for a few weeks. Then I took the bit between my teeth and asked the technical team to tell me what I was doing wrong. Bingo. I was off. Most of my waking hours were spent on my IPad to see if somebody had read and answered my postings . This went on all the way through Chemo…I didn’t look before surgery. ( big headed I thought I knew it all)
You too are heading for the "forum " addict role…FANTASTIC…It does help so much. You need it. Others are doing well in the same circumstances as you. There encouragement will be there in those dark hours.
If you want to read make it light. You will be bound up in all breast cancer all the way through. Don’t Google. Just stick to good sites Bcc! Macmillan, Cancer research, MD-Anderson, y- me , Susan Love is ok. …write your own book!!!
What a strange lecture for this time of the night. I will always remember an elderly lady with lung mets who was sent home by the medical team to end her days. I got the Oncologist involved through her Gp .It took me four months to get her out of bed. However five years later I saw her in Town bright breezy and healthy. She had been put on Tamoxifen and was given CMF. The chemo of the day. So the oncologist resurrected a lovely lady. That was in 1987, things have changed so much. It was almost a new art then to have Chemo. Control truely does occur tenses days.
Sleep well "addicted " Cackles xx

Cackles, I’m very glad you overcame all obstacles and became a poster here - you’ve given me some great responses already (it was fantastic to hear about the elderly lady with lung mets helped by chemo 25 years ago) and I’ve only been here a few weeks.

I’m sure the forums (and general BCC info and help line) will continue to give me help and support in the coming months.

In the meantime I’ve been book ordering and bookmarking the breathworks website - thanks all!