The phone rang too early one morning. I heard the voice of a far-away but dear friend. She was spending the first day after her mastectomy calling all of her friends to urge, no beg, them to get mammograms. And soon.
I thought of that call as I read Fran Padgett's Breast Cancer: No One Chose This Journey. Padgett fights breast cancer every way she can. After diagnosis of her own, she sought not only the most advanced medical care but also emotional support through a hospital-sponsored group. This was only the beginning. She wrote a book about her experience. As a result, she began to meet more and more people who had shared or were sharing her experiences. One woman wrote to her, "...I need a lending ear." Padgett has that ear, and she has lent it to many women and not a few men.
This book shares some of these stories. They are not always easy to read. Many do not have fairy tale endings. Some do. Others are filled with pain. But all resound with love, with hope, and with sharing. For the reader, whatever her own experiences with breast cancer, there await added insights and a deepened understanding.
Padgett is not only a writer; she is also a gifted artist. She shared her talent with many of the women in the book, offering works reflecting not only the individual but her point in the journey. These works illustrating the volume brighten and deepen the stories.
I have never experienced breast cancer, although I've had a couple of scares. Many of my friends and a niece have. I found the stories personally broadening as I believe most women will. Many of those who have experienced it will be enriched by reading the book. Some, however, may find it distressing. Before giving it as a gift, I would read it carefully and consider the recipient's own feelings and place on her journey.
Houstonian Fran Padgett both writes and paints. She is founder and Executive Director of The Weathervane Foundation which is dedicated to research on breast cancer. She is also the author of Breast Cancer Recovery: No One Wrote a Manual. Her motto is "live, love, laugh." Padgett shares more about herself on her website.
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