By ALI BEATRICE CLARK
This clear, concise book helps you to understand what chemotherapy may be doing to your body, your mind and your life. It gives you useful tips and information, practical advice and reassurance, and it reminds you that you are not alone.
Part 1 is a brief GUIDE to the time before, during and after chemotherapy. It includes planning and preparation, common side effects, your thoughts and feelings, food and exercise, work and money issues, how you might feel after treatment, and where to find further help and support. Part 2 is a collection of STORIES based on true, real-life experiences of chemotherapy. Each one is candid and honest and shared in the spirit of kindness and friendship. Including an overly complicated salad, finding long lost relatives, flying paper aeroplanes, writing to new online pen-pals, and tips for friends who don’t know what to say.
Writing under a pen-name, I ran a crowdfunding campaign to enable me to research, write and publish this book, and give away 400 free copies to cancer care units, hospitals, charities and libraries. The free copies were given to:
Maggie’s Centres — There are over 20 Maggie’s Centres around the UK, welcoming and comfortable places for cancer patients to go, within the grounds of NHS hospitals. The charity offers practical, emotional and social support to people affected by cancer. It has an excellent online centre that offers professional advice and a friendly community.
Chemo Gift Bags — A charity that gives big goody bags full of donated products to people in the Thames Valley undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Each bag is created especially for the recipient, and contains things like a soft blanket, cosy socks, a head scarf, some puzzle books, a thermos flask, toiletries and a pill box.
Cancer Champions — A new charity in Wokingham that supports people with cancer. Volunteers in the community do home visits, help with chores or driving, and offer practical support or just a listening ear. The charity organises meet-ups, runs a closed Facebook group and signposts cancer patients to other organisations.
My Cancer My Choices — This charity offers complementary therapies to cancer patients in a calm and safe environment. Therapies include reflexology, mindfulness, acupuncture, massage and tai chi. Clinics are held at Bracknell Cancer Centre Outpatients and Bracknell Healthspace. The free books were placed in the charity’s library.
Macmillan Cancer Information Centre — A hub of information and support at the heart of the Berkshire Cancer Centre in Reading’s Royal Berks Hospital.
Spire Dunedin Hospital — a friendly chemo ward within the Oncology department of this hospital in Reading.