You couldn't pretend any longer.
The lump was there, no doubt about it. You noticed during your once-a-month self-exam, but you brushed it off then, sure it was nothing. Three weeks later, scared witless, you wore a brave face to mammogram, and hoped.
Now it happened so fast you're trying to learn how to live life with cancer. To help you, and because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are two books you need to keep around.
At 270 pages, “Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls” by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kierderer retails for $14.95.
At 256 pages, “Stand By Her” by John W. Anderson retails for $18.95.
You already know there'll be days when you'll feel really crummy, and days when you'll feel so good that you almost forget you've got cancer. Take advantage of both kinds of days with "Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls" by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kiederer, with foreword by Betsey Johnson.
"Cancer has an impact on more than our outer shell," the authors write. "It strikes at the heart of our being. Once healthy and strong, we're now sick and scared."
But about 20 years ago, doctors realized that women with cancer responded better to treatment if they felt better about their appearance. With that in mind, this book gives you tips on looking your best, even when you feel your worst.
The first, most important looking-good advice: ask your local American Cancer Society about The Look Good, Feel Better Foundation. Second piece of advice: Buy a wig as soon as you know you'll need one.
In this book, you'll learn how to tie a classy turban (and how to make one from an old T-shirt), how to protect your skin and deal with rashes, how to disguise lost eyelashes, what to do about weight gain (or loss), how to deal with sudden menopause, decreased libido and more.
Written by women who've "been there," this book doesn't candy-coat anything, but it's not harsh. It also gives pros and cons for each idea, which makes for good balance.
'Stand By Her'
So we've taken care of you. Now, how about taking care of the guy who cares for you by handing him "Stand By Her" by John W. Anderson.
Beneath that masculine exterior, beats the heart of a softie. When you say you've got breast cancer, he's as scared as you are. From diagnosis to that celebratory five-year anniversary, this book addresses everything a man needs to know about helping the woman in his life beat this disease.
What I like about his book is, first, that it's an anomaly. You won't find many books for men on this subject. Secondly, it's not just about the nuts-and-bolts of chemotherapy and surgery (although they're in there) or how to physically care for a mastectomy patient or chemo recipient. This book includes some powerful pampering ideas that will help him help you.
Interestingly enough, this book isn't just for husbands. Author John W. Anderson also includes information for brothers, fathers, and beloved uncles, too.
This October, do Breast Cancer Awareness Month right: learn BSE. Get a mammogram. Look for these books. And take good care of yourself.
Because if you find a lump, you can't pretend any longer.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.