Review by C. G. A. Keywood

“Having performed in the ring at the cancer circus myself, Dr Thompson’s book strikes a perfect chord. Being caught in the maelstrom of diagnosis and treatment, the emotional hiatus that surrounds it and having your life hijacked “for your own good” by the myriad well-meaning dramatis personae, is immensely confusing and lonely. This book written with clarity, compassion and lovely touches of humour, brings a sense of calm and order to the mayhem. Each carefully crafted chapter provides practical guidance and useful internet links for further reading, entwined with a compelling personal account of what it was like to go through “the system”.

Step by step we are walked through what all the medical stuff means, what might be expected from hospital visits and treatments, what might go wrong, and what to do if anxious about or unsatisfied with medical care. All aspects are thoroughly covered including suggestions on how to optimise well being (and even possibly outcome) using complimentary approaches and embracing a healthy (but not boring) lifestyle.

In her own story, Dr Thompson recounts her challenges in a non-judgmental and positive way, even at times when the NHS appears to have been distinctly lacking. By being so frank and eloquent about her own experience, she shows us that it is quite normal to feel sensitive, vulnerable and irrational at times, but that one can get through it. Her calm reassurance gives us all the encouragement needed to face whatever may be ahead.

For healthcare personnel, this is a valuable insight into the good and the bad of practice by someone who knows and understands your daily challenges.

For patients, if you keep Dr Thompson at your side, you will not be so lonely.“

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