Book Club: Planet Cancer, Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Welcome to the comments and discussion of Chapter 5: Staying Sane of the book, Planet Cancer!  Catch up on Chapter 1: DiagnosisChapter 2: Getting Your C-Legs, Chapter 3: Treatment, and Chapter 4: Side Effects!

Let’s get started!  Chapter 5!

Carly:

An excerpt from the first page of this chapter: “We on the Planet firmly believe in acknowledging both the ups and downs – the fear and anger is just as much a part of this as the joy and laughter. It’s called the human experience.”

AMEN.

Staying sane (with or without cancer) can be a challenge. Work, friends, family, and general life stuff. Add cancer to the mix and things can get wacky. You. People around you. That’s why this chapter was so fun to read – some of the crazy things I did to stay sane (especially while waiting for test results) were also the ideas of others. Whew.

I’m glad a large part of the chapter talked about sex. I really expected this to be addressed in side effects, the previous chapter, but alas – here it is! Info and tips for males, females, couples, and singles – it’s there. K-Y and all.

Several stories in the religion section reminded me about the awkward things people said to me or things I have heard said to others. Yeah, I totally get it – it’s sometimes hard to find the words (I find myself struggling in various situations). If you need some help, try these cards made by Emily McDowell, a cancer survivor. She has some real gems.

The bottom line: do what you need to do to keep yourself together. Wear what you want (that’s practical for your treatment, of course), seek professional help if you feel the need, ask questions about sex and communicate your feelings to your partner, wear a wig, don’t wear a wig. Just do you.

Cheryl:

“Cancer touches you in every way: mental, physical, social, spiritual, environmental.”

This quote really resonated with me and this chapter is full of tips on how to cope with the changes that cancer brings to all facets of your life. We all know by now that exercise is good for us – and even though there are days when you feel like you can’t even get up off the couch (and that’s okay!), there will also be days when you do have the energy to move and even something as simple as going for a short walk can help you feel better. Same goes for nutrition – food is fuel and it’s important to eat healthy (of course there’s no reason to totally deprive yourself!).

There’s a lot of sex talk in this chapter; I’m pretty sure all ‘bases’ are covered! 😉 Other topics touched on are fashion/wigs, religion, and complementary/alternative medicine (I’m a big fan of both reiki and healing touch).

Last but certainly not least there is info about reaching out to mental health professionals – you should definitely consider adding a mental health specialist to your medical team. It’s hard to stay sane sometimes when dealing with the curve balls normal life throws your way – add cancer in and the equation will usually result in a mix of depression and anxiety. There’s no shame in seeking help. It’s important to take steps to help yourself feel better and learn coping strategies to help you as you deal with the added stress cancer brings to your life.

Thanks for joining us for our first book club of Planet Cancer! To see what you’ve missed, check out Chapter 1: Diagnosis, Chapter 2: Getting Your C-Legs, Chapter 3: Treatment, and Chapter 4: Side Effects.  Join in us on Monday, August 24th for Chapter 6: People.

If you’re just joining us, here are some logistics:

We will talk about a chapter each Monday until the book is done.  Then, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss.  We’ll also have a great “meet the author” post coming up!  Join in, in the comments every week!  Also, there will probably be spoilers.  Read along with us!

How are you enjoying our young adult cancer book club?