A two-year ordeal with breast cancer conveyed with frank prose and stunning photography.
A Southern California–based palliative care nurse, Jacobs’ blog, The Silver Pen, evolved into an online diary immortalizing her thoughts and feelings after a grim diagnosis in 2010. Originally begun as a way to avoid personal interaction yet still update concerned friends, the blog went viral. It also reiterated the hard truth that cancer is an equal-opportunity affliction, since the author considered herself a “healthy, happy, vegan-eating, marathon-running thirty-nine-year-old with no family history of breast cancer.” As a caregiver and social worker, Jacobs unexpectedly found herself “on the opposite side of the bed,” and her candid chronicle doesn’t spare or sugarcoat the details about how blindsiding cancer proved to be, with numerous biopsies, surgeries, grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and their attendant side effects. Jacobs’ narrative voice is firm, gently authoritative, yet comfortably good-natured as she addresses the challenges of delivering the news to children, post-treatment reintroduction to everyday life, vital nutrition advice, and the unlimited virtues of having levelheaded, supportive friends and family throughout the process. Her compassionate guidebook—something Jacobs admits she longed for during her own treatment—provides perhaps the most important advice in sections called “Practical Matters,” which address key clinical details about managing the entire patient experience. Award-winning photographer Messina beautifully captures the essence of Jacobs’ journey, delivering mood and emotion through gorgeous imagery. Throughout it all, Jacobs remained resilient, buoyed by a holistic approach to wellness. This is a wise investment for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer or simply interested in how the process works. Unfailingly optimistic, Jacobs compassionately offers proof positive that even a terrifying, arduous disease like cancer can have a silver lining.
A dignified, intensely personal journey of survival.