A women’s health journalist chronicles her two bouts with breast cancer.
“I knew a thing or two about breast lumps,” writes Guthrie early on. “I was a magazine journalist, and women’s health was my specialty. Writing about breast cancer was my bread and butter: how to prevent it, how to detect it, how to survive it, how to talk to your best friend about it. Risk factors, statistics, and treatment options rattled off my tongue at the slightest provocation.” So it felt unreal when she discovered a jagged lump on her breast, just above a small mole. A mammogram and biopsy revealed cancer, plunging Guthrie into the unexpected role of patient. Even though she had observed numerous women in this scenario, she was totally unprepared for her own entry into the world of breast cancer. With honesty and a touch of humor, the author shares her experiences, tracing the many contours of her struggles, from her diagnosis to double mastectomy to her decision about reconstructive surgery. She details the horror at having the actual lump missed during surgery, her anger at the surgeon, and how her drug treatment failed her as well. She shares the fears, disappointments, and confusion she felt, despite her knowledge about this particular form of cancer, and how she eventually embraced her new body. She includes touching moments with her partner and how, together, they navigated the often confusing medical world and the transition from healthy to sick and back. In a world where 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, Guthrie’s memoir is useful, instructive reading for anyone entering this sisterhood or caretaking a friend or family member with this disease.
Filled with great openness and sincerity, the book adds an original and colorful layer to the pink-ribbon world of breast cancer.