July 2001


By Joanie Willis
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Staying on track At first glance it looks something like a proud parent’s “Baby Book.” But appearances can be deceiving The Cancer Patient’s Workbook: Everything You Need to Stay Organized and Informed by Joanie Willis is actually an excellent resource for the cancer patient who prefers a hands-on approach to dealing with illness. Well illustrated (it even has cartoons) and thoughtfully designed, the workbook supplies readers with information on treatments, healthful eating and more questions to ask oncology, radiation and surgery experts than one would ever think of on one’s own, not to mention a place to record the answers. Some cancer writers counsel developing a spirit of detachment and observation. The Cancer Patient’s Workbook (complete with a cover that can be removed along with any outer reference to cancer, so you can carry it anywhere) certainly offers the wherewithal to achieve some measure of objectivity. It also provides inspirational material, even jokes (unrelated to cancer) to lift the spirit. However, be warned, this workbook skips nothing! It also has sections on writing obituaries and wills, planning funerals and bequeathing one’s precious things to others. Still, the overall air of the book is hopeful, courageous and enabling and by the end even the little cartoons that seem incongruous at the start have turned into familiar icons for doing what must be done to survive trouble with grace and dignity.

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