Excerpt of Mind, Body and Soul by Nancy H. Dahm
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"I feel I know you very well. You dont know me, but I have watched you. I have walked your journey many times before. You dont know me, yet I was there
Mind, Body, and Soul".
I have dealt with the entire spectrum of cancer and its effects on the minds, bodies and souls of hundreds of cancer patients and their families. I wrote this book so that you can benefit from the knowledge and experience I have acquired over the years. It contains everything you need to know about living with cancer. It is a guide for everyone: all patients, beginning with the newly diagnosed, and all family members. It is for the cancer patients who will recover and survive, and for those who will survive in another way.
For the newly diagnosed cancer patient, I know you have a host of questions you want answered, starting with the most basic: will you get the support you need? Can you trust your doctor to "be there" for you? Will your insurer impose restrictions on your treatment? How will you be able to control your anxiety, stress, and fears? What about the pain? Can it be eliminated or controlled? And what about the bigger picture who are you, deep down? Is there really a soul that is eternal?
Mind, Body, and Soul is an encompassing approach to cancer that will help all of you find the answers to the crucial questions. Just as importantly, it will help you deal with immense difficulties you face. You will learn what can be done to make your lives better. I will answer your questions, discuss choices, and give you the information needed to empower yourself in making decisions that are right for you. I will cover the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of cancer and provide solutions that are practical and at times philosophical in nature.
You and your family will journey with me through what lies ahead. I am going to show you how it is to live with cancer for most people, and how much better it can be for you. Knowledge is strength, after all. I promise I will make you strong.
Paul Browde, M.D. Psychiatrist,
Faculty, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Imagine that at a moment, on some day, at no particular time, you or I or someone we love is diagnosed with cancer. This moment changes your or my life forever. Our world is turned upside down as we hurtle through space, disoriented with fear, unable to think clearly. What are we to do first? Who do we turn to? How do we cope?
Imagine now a nurse who has worked with hundreds of people in this situation. A nurse who loves her patients, and has learned from their experiences. A nurse who takes us by the hand and leads us on a journey of discovery, about cancer, what it is, how to live with it, and if necessary, how to die from it. Mind, Body, and Soul is such a journey, and Nancy Hassett Dahm is that very nurse. It is a personal journey, informed by her life and her work, enriched by the stories of the people whose lives have touched her. Ultimately it is an inspiring, comforting, and important journey for all of us, no matter who we are or what we do.
For some of us, a cancer diagnosis will mean a series of long and sometimes difficult treatments. It may require having to negotiate systems, and redefining the way that we see ourselves: accepting help from others in ways we never have; being more assertive than we are used to; dealing with changes in our bodies; and coping with feelings of need, embarrassment, and even humiliation.
Some of us will have great success with the treatment, and will continue to live healthy and happy lives for many years to come, while others of us will die. If it becomes clear that we are going to die, how do we do so free of pain, with dignity and love?
Copyright Nancy Hassett Dahm October 2000. All rights reserved.