When Wayne Cooke came up to me after church to offer a manuscript about his cancer treatment, my heart sank. Oh no. Not a would-be author. How could I let him down gently? Then I read his manuscript, in fact, I couldn’t put it down. It laced funny and poignant personal experiences with practical tips on how to be a patient and survivor.
I turned it over to my boss, Rich Rein, editor/publisher of U.S. 1 Newspaper, who declared it a compelling story. He made it the cover story of our end-of-year issue in 2007, entitled “Strength Renewed,” and Craig Terry did the photos. This 5,000 word first-person story may seem like an unlikely topic for a newspaper, but Rein has made other surprising choices.
So encouraged, Cooke reworked his material and has just published his book under the title “On the Far Side of the Curve: a stage IV Cancer Survivor’s Journey.” It’s available with excerpts at Amazon.com .
The first version, sans photos, is online in the archives of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
Even if you are not a patient, it’s a good read. If you know a patient, the tips in this book (“Lessons Learned”) could help them.
Please also consider encouraging your patient (or the caregiver) to become an informed “e-patient” and/or a believer in participatory medicine. A good way to start is with the blog “The New Life of e-Patient Dave,” who also finds himself “on the far side of the curve.” For instance, he just published “Advice to a Cancer Patient Facing News He Didn’t Want.”
Another excellent resource: Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR). Pick your diagnosis — there’s an ongoing conversation about every form of cancer and just “lurk” or ask questions. Five years ago ACOR was my lifeline. I recommend it.