The book blurb was good, so I took this book out of the library. Tamoxifen hot flashes, mastectomy, reconstruction, breast cancer etiquette, Frankenboobs, bras with special attachments—Margaret Lesh shares all in her funny, heartfelt collection of essays, anecdotes, and life lessons from the perspective of a two-time breast cancer survivor. She’ll tell you when it’s okay to play the cancer card, what you should take to the hospital, and gives suggestions on how to cope in those dark moments of the soul. With practical tips sprinkled throughout, LET ME GET THIS OFF MY CHEST explores how breast cancer changed her outlook on life, offering honest insights, humor, and sensitivity as she looks for the silver lining in a not-so-great situation. Whether you are a woman diagnosed with breast cancer or whether you know someone with breast cancer, this book was written for you.
Ms. Lesh takes a sensitive subject and shares from her personal experience with sincerity and lots of humor. I appreciated her attitude which seeks the “silver linings” while dealing with the stark realities of diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Ms. Lesh was only 34 in 1999, with a two year old son, when she felt a lump and they discovered cancer. She had a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. Because the cancer was stage 1A, chemotherapy was not recommended at that time. After the radiation treatments she was prescribed medication for five years and celebrated when she could throw those bottles away. Although many years passed successfully, Ms. Lesh was one of the unfortunates who had a recurrence after 11 years so her story continues with more aggressive treatment. The second time around she had to make more difficult decisions and treatment that included chemotherapy so she shares those experiences as well.
This book has wonderfully upbeat quotes at each chapter which I find encouraging. There are many good resources shared and specific tips that I have already used and know I will be referring to as my own treatment proceeds. The chapters are short and focus on specific events, decisions or treatments so it is easy to look up certain sections to refer back to. Cancer, like most diseases, impacts upon close family and friends as well as the individual. There are chapters in the book that give insight to friends and family on the fears and emotions that are being experienced and shared. This is a quick, informative and easy read. It is comforting even though there is anxiety and sadness shared. I think a big part of cancer treatment focuses on faith and hope which Ms. Lesh conveys throughout, even through the stumbles of fear and depression that are natural. The book confirms something I have quickly learned through friends and on-line cancer boards. The diagnosis and treatment are unique for each individual, but we all share a common bond and can be helpful and supportive to others as well as accepting help and support graciously for ourselves. I recommend this book to any woman facing their own cancer journey and to those who wish to be supportive and understand more clearly what the patient is going through.