Picks and Pans Review: In the Company of Others
by Jory Graham
Graham, a Chicago author-columnist, writes: "Denial and refusal of the right to talk about one's own life-threatening disease is the ultimate cruelty. It is solitary confinement, as bleak and unremitting as in any prison." Graham, first diagnosed as having breast cancer in 1975, has had two mastectomies and is now undergoing chemotherapy. She argues, as have others, that cancer patients should be immediately informed of the extent of their disease, as well as be consulted in decisions concerning their treatment. Graham writes movingly about cancer patients' coping with pain, love and sex—a subject that she charges is neglected by physicians. This is, despite its theme, not a sad book but one about courage. "I have lived almost seven years with chronic and irreversible cancer," Graham, 55, writes. "I have been extremely ill several times. I have felt I was dying several times. I have made a comeback each time. My life is not depressing; it is invigorating." Her book should be required reading for cancer patients, their families and the health professionals who treat them. (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $10.95)
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