Well I got Speak the Language of Healing and have skim read it. In some ways better than I expected..its good challenging the battle metaphors used for dealing with cancere.
Basically the book is written by 4 women from different religious traditions. All have had breast cancer (intersting one Stage 1, one Stage 2, one Stage 3, one Stage 4.)
As I expected though the authors simply replace one lot of metaphor for another..all about spiritual healing and what can be learned from having cancer...not really my cup of tea, but it is quite well written and not the drivel that some of thsoe self help books are. Mrs Blue if you would like the book, please pm me and I'll send.
I'e ordered Gillian Rose's books...reviews look really interesting so looking forward to that..hope there isn't too much cosmic love in that.
Hiya. Oooh, I don't know what came over me when I wrote that - my only excuse was that it was first thing in the morning and I'd had several cups of coffee...! I shall say no more about it and just wait to hear what you think if and when you get round to reading it.
All the best, Naz
Hi Naz..I have just ordered this book after reading your posting..it sounds really interesting..and challanging..I hope my chemo brain can cope with it. Thank you for mentioning it here.
Forgive me for intruding, but if anyone is interested, I would recommend a book called 'Love's Work' by Gillian Rose. Don't be mistaken by the title - the love that she refers to is not easy - but also don't be mistaken either that it is 'simply' an autobiography of her life (and death) of advanced ovarian cancer - it isn't - although I wouldn't also suggest that you read her more academic writings, as much as I would argue strongly that they are equally - if not more - autobiographical than her authorised memoir - her academic work is not easy either, for all sorts of reasons, and would perhaps take more time and energy than any of us might want to expend. In particular, though, you might be interested to read her exposition of the dialectic between conventional and alternative medicine in chapter 6 of her memoir. For example, in acknowledging the failure of conventional medicine to engage her (she says, "We do not have enough command of each other's language for the exchange to be fruitful"), while she is released from its "disintegrating authority", her return to her "life affair", the "resumption of the revel", was not as straightforward as she expected: she is confronted with the "exoteric language of cosmic love", the "literature and liquids of alternative healing", that, she says, family and friends thrust upon her in an effort to field the "crisis of their own mortality".
Gillian Rose was a professor of social and political thought before she died in her late forties and I have a particular interest in her work. What I love most of all about her work, though, and the philosophy (Hegel, Kierkegaard...) that underpins it, is her recognition and acknowledgement of all the not so beautiful things in life such as difficulty, contradiction and hypocrisy, for example. Strangely, rather like the psychological concept of 'cognitive dissonance' I feel more comfortable with descriptions of the ugliness of things than I would do if I attempted to suppress them.
Another plug for Musa Meyer...I think her book on Living with Advanced Breast Cancer (or similar title..) is just brillliant. I wish they were a UK equivalent.
Jane..I'd be very interested to hear what you think of the book..must admit my heart sank when I read of spiritual journeys. Actually the one review on Amazon UK is quite irritating too.
It's good to hear about these books Mrs Blue. Even if they are not always our cup of tea. Have you read the Musa Meyer book? There are excerpts from the book on the AdvancedBC website.
I've ordered the book Mrs Blue! If its too awful yu can have it for free, but I tend to keep such things in my cancer library...sad person that I am!
Thanks Jane, if you get the book but subsequently decide you want to sell it on, I'll buy it off you!
I'm with you on this one Jane. We don't mythologise the common cold so why do this to cancer? It should be treated as a disease (or many diseases, since cancer is a process associated with many varieties of disease) that could be prevented if understood better.
We shouldn't be diverted from this. I look forward to another blog episode.
I also looked this up on amazon. Apparently the authors want to replace the metaphors of battling and fighting breast cancer with a different metaphor: that of a spiritual jourrney through cancer in which cancer is seen as part of an encounter with our deeper selves. The authors see living with cancer as one of those staged journeys...this time from fear through to acceptance.
Oh please...help...help..help....more bullshit. I think most of the contemporary metaphors for living with cancer serve only to mythologise and romanticise this disease and do nothing to clearly keep on the agenda the need for something otehr than a highly individualised repsonse to cancer...and the need for collective action to prevent the disease and find a cure.
Jouney metaphors might possibily be worse than the battling metaphors though I dislike both. But I may well get this book because I am fascinated by the ways in whcih cancer is talked of and books like this provide me with plenty of material for my sometimes neglected blog.
Thanks for the reference Mrs Blue.
Hi Mrs Blue..I was curious so just had a look on Amazon UK..perhaps you've already done this but you can read a few pages there...it mentions ''embracing the journey'' (which puts me off a little) but if you do read the book I'd be very interested to hear what you thought of it.
Belinda...x..a PS edit..I've just done some more googling on the book and one of the authors (Karen Stroup) is described as 'terminal' so I would think, hope, the book covers secondaries and primaries.
On another (US) bc website I've just seen a book title, "Speak the Language of Healing: Living with Breast Cancer Without Going to War". There's one review of it on Amazon but it's by someone who has not had cancer. Has anyone read this book, and would you recommend it or not? For primary bc, secondary, both...?