Book Club / Honor Roll

My very early New Year’s Resolution is to get more organized.  A good start on our Being Cancer Book Club bogged down this fall with bouts of H1Ni and other viral invasions, a trip to Ireland, and holiday preparations.  Today I am publishing a list of the next five books, taking us into the summer.  I think you will enjoy the selections, as they go from humorous to intensely probing, from inspirational to practical.  And they include one book from a fellow blogger, Kris Carr.  You can put them on your Christmas list.  If you order through the Amazon links on this site, I get 4% commission.

New on the site is an Honor Roll for Excellence in Cancer Writing.  Right now this consists of bloggers whose have been printed here as Guest Posts.  Honor Rolls blogs are designated on our Cancer Blogs page with  ** .  They are also listed on a new page entitled “Honor Roll”

Bookshop in  , Ireland

Bookshop in Kinsale, Ireland

~ January 2010 selection: ” Cancer on $5 a Day ” by Robert Schimmel

Schimmel already had a hit HBO stand-up comedy special and a Stand-Up of the Year title from the American Comedy Awards when, in the spring of 2000, he was diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His world changed instantly; success in the raunchy joke trade-he also had an edgy FOX series in development-was replaced by the struggle for survival, the rigors of chemotherapy and all the fear and uncertainty that goes with it. Schimmel also looks back on his son, whom he lost not long before to brain cancer. Among a crowded field of inspiring and straight-talking personal survival stories, Schimmel’s conversational account is particularly ribald, emphasizing the importance a sense of humor can play in coping, learning and healing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Order from Amazon: Cancer on Five Dollars a Day (chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life

~ February 2010 selection: “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan

Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who’d already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan’s story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn’t just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone’s child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan’s feisty memoir.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Order from Amazon: The Middle Place

~ March 2010 selection: ” Called Away ” by Mary Cappello

In her intensely personal and insightful memoir, Mary Cappello wonders aloud for us what breast cancer awareness really makes us aware of, and responds as if for the first time to the deceivingly simple command: “tell me what you’re feeling.” Unable to eat on chemotherapy, Cappello feasts on the paintings of Marsden Hartley, yearns in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein, keeps company with Marcel Proust, and lets queer artists tease her back to life. Called Back looks through the lens of cancer to discover—often with humor—new truths about intimacy and essential solitude, eroticism, the fact of the body, and the impossibility of turning away.

Order from Amazon: Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life

~ April 2010 selection:  “Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tipsby Kris Carr

CRAZY SEXY CANCER TIPS gathers the lessons learned and advice offered from Carr’s own journey, as well as the experiences of her cancer posse. Full-color photos accompany personal stories and candid revelations in this scrapbook of advice, warnings, and resources for the cancer patient. Chapters cover your changing social life, dating, sex, and appearance; essential health tips on how to boost your immune system; recipes; medical and holistic resources; and information on young survivor support groups. The resulting book is a warm, yet informative tool for any woman newly diagnosed with the disease and for those who love them.

Order from Amazon: Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips

~ May 2010 selection:  “It’s Not About the Bike:  My Journey Back to Lifeby Lance Armstrong

People around the world have found inspiration in the story of Lance Armstrong–a world-class athlete nearly struck down by cancer, only to recover and win the Tour de France, the multiday bicycle race famous for its grueling intensity. Armstrong is a thoroughgoing Texan jock, and the changes brought to his life by his illness are startling and powerful, but he’s just not interested in wearing a hero suit. While his vocabulary is a bit on the he-man side (highest compliment to his wife: “she’s a stud”), his actions will melt the most hard-bitten souls: a cancer foundation and benefit bike ride, his astonishing commitment to training that got him past countless hurdles, loyalty to the people and corporations that never gave up on him. There’s serious medical detail here, which may not be for the faint of heart; from chemo to surgical procedures to his wife’s in vitro fertilization, you won’t be spared a single x-ray, IV drip, or unfortunate side effect. Athletes and coaches everywhere will benefit from the same extraordinary detail provided about his training sessions–every aching tendon, every rainy afternoon, and every small triumph during his long recovery is here in living color. It’s Not About the Bike is the perfect title for this book about life, death, illness, family, setbacks, and triumphs, but not especially about the bike. –Jill Lightner

Order from Amazon: It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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