the bookshelf

By admin
September 18, 2013

Thriving after Breast Cancer: Essential Healing and Exercises for Body and Mind

By Sherry Lebed Davis with Stephanie Gunning

Sherry Lebed Davis noticed that her mom, once a professional ballroom dancer, could not lift her arm after her mastectomy. As time passed, even simple tasks in the kitchen remained too difficult. Sherry soon realized that her mother’s mobility was so limited that the success of her treatment was lost. So Sherry got on the phone with her two brothers, both gynecological surgeons, to develop a plan to get her moving.

After first helping her mom, this plan resulted in the “Focus on Healing” program and Sherry was able to help many survivors of breast cancer in her community. However, the real test came when Sherry was diagnosed with breast cancer and she gained hard-earned insight into the difference her program could make. Eventually, this dance and movement therapy program was offered in conjunction with breast cancer programs nationwide. Eventually, the publication of Thriving after Breast Cancer: Essential Healing and Exercises for Body and Mind allowed even more widespread access for breast cancer survivors.

Thriving after Breast Cancer provides emotional support, knowledge and exercise photos in a step-by-step format. Exercise and dance movements address the following concerns: flexibility, pain, fatigue, emotional recovery, lymphedema, balance, menopause, and femininity, plus warm-ups for sports activities and considerations for post-treatment care. Thriving after Breast Cancer is a sensitive and empowering handbook for every woman who has survived breast cancer and wants to stay strong and healthy for years to come.

Reviewed by Lisa Newman

Eating Well through Cancer

By Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello

And The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors

By Edward Bauman and Helayne Waldman

Good nutrition is essential for all breast cancer survivors. It is also a tool for reducing breast cancer recurrence that can be found right in your own home. Two books that come highly recommended are The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors and Eating Well through Cancer.

The Whole-Food Guide provides a thorough knowledge base of chemical contaminants to avoid as well nutrients to enjoy in abundance. Chapters also provide support on glucose, weight and insulin control. While authors Bauman and Waldman are culinary and nutrition experts, the book is also balanced with easy recipes, menu plans and cancer survivor anecdotes.

If you’re looking to get into the kitchen immediately, Eating Well may appeal to you more. The recipes are attractively organized into sections according to various stages of treatment and each recipe is complete with a nutritional breakdown and doctor commentary. Recipes are also cross referenced with regard to which are best tolerated during various unpleasant cancer treatment side effects.

While the cancer patient and survivor certainly will benefit from both of these nutrition guides, caregivers are also given a proactive way to help loved ones through this difficult time.

Reviewed by Lisa Newman

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

By Paul Tough

What are we doing to help children born into poverty get through school, the elusive first steppingstone to success? Every variation of this question seems to have been asked before, but Paul Tough’s new book dives straight into answers. His message is grounded in clear argument, while providing appealing anecdotes that deconstruct society’s assumptions about education. He details the subtlety of defining “success,” examines the real predictors of success, and questions our reliance on measures such as ACT scores. This book offers a new way of seeing education – in good, page-turning nonfiction.

Since the groundbreaking documentary about education, Waiting for Superman, came out in 2010, for me, this book is the crucial next step in the conversation about education. Rather than focusing on structural changes that could, in theory, work, Paul Tough details stories of schools, motivated students, and charismatic educators with whom he has spent time firsthand. Using his background in journalism, he weaves in supplemental evidence from a myriad of fields, along with the analysis of his own fieldwork.

Tough argues convincingly that character traits, and not test results, are “how children succeed.” These traits are grit, curiosity, confidence, resourcefulness and optimism. The message is hopeful. He shows that skills such as these can be developed in schools, even for children who missed out on basic nurturing and attention at home.

Reviewed by Whitney Gilchrist

Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide on How to Prepare for a Healthy Preconception

By Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., and Dr. Liza Mazzullo, M.D.

Amy Ogle and Liza Mazzullo compile the latest research on preconception and pregnancy in a rigorous yet digestible format, that is now in a revised and updated edition. Before Your Pregnancy is designed to give you and your partner 90 days to prepare for conception for a couple of reasons. It takes about that long for sperm to reach maturity and it gives the prospective mother enough to time to change habits or adopt new ones to ensure that the womb is as healthy as possible.

Before Your Pregnancy covers the areas of nutrition, personal readiness – emotional, physical and financial, choosing a doctor and hospital, environment and travel, men’s health, infertility, questionnaires and charts. The authors note that preconception care is relatively new in comparison to prenatal care and that individuals who follow preconception care might be met with skepticism from family and even health care providers. A common question might be: “Haven’t people been making babies for thousands of years without even thinking about it?” Whatever your surroundings regarding culture, religion, family, and health care, Before Your Pregnancy provides a sensitive guide for preconception with consideration for couples who are ready for the fast track and those who want to take a more laid back approach to conception.

Reviewed by Lisa Newman

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