Monday 18 June 2007

Now That I Have Cancer I Am Whole: Reflections on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them by John Robert McFarland

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Now That I have Cancer I am Whole is a refreshing and greatly inspirational book. John Robert McFarland shares with the reader, his experiences with Cancer which are vast. As a survivor himself, McFarland has many thoughts and opinions on the struggle with this disease. In the latter part of the book, he also shares brief accounts of his experiences as a loved one, supporting his Father, Mother, Wife, Daughter, and Grandson through their own battles.

The book is in two parts. In part one we are given meditations from the author on the subjects of diagnosis, surgery and recovery, gearing up (to fight), treatment, thinking about death, taking responsibility, counting blessings, attitude adjustment, action adjustment, dealing with others (saying no), dealing with others (saying yes), dealing with our feelings, looking for answers, hitting stride (moving forward) and lastly, exams.

In this part, we witness parts of John's journey. His hopes, strengths and what seems like an unfailing optimistic outlook. I say seems, as John is also courageous enough to share his fears and weaknesses, his vulnerability. It is a frank and honest account, spoken from the heart, and at times sprinkled with humour which catches the reader offguard. I didn't imagine I could ever hold a book with such a title, and find myself laughing out loud but that is exactly what happened. He takes the subject of Cancer and splashes positivity and light onto it, making it just a little bit less scary.

In the second part, the author directs the content at those who love Cancer patients. He deals with the subjects of long-term surviving, when a parent or sibling is the patient, when a spouse is the patient, and when a child or grandchild is the patient. Throughout the book the author has a way of putting the reader at ease and sharing his experience in a non-frightening, not-patronizing way. Along with his personal thoughts and feelings, he shares anecdotes and jokes which really made the book a captivating read.

What I had expected with this book, was an account of the cancer experience, a dark read, even maybe at times technical. What I got was one man's personal message for hope. John Robert McFarland was given 1-2 years to live at the time of his diagnosis. He decided to take control of his life, not just co-operating with the medical system, but actively fighting the disease on another level and eventually beating it. It was a truly touching read and if I highly recommend it for anyone who has had cancer touch their lives.

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