Beating Our Breasts
Twenty New Zealand Women Tell Their Breast Cancer Stories (Special Edition 2001/2002)
Compiled and Edited by Margaret Clark
Published (NZ) 2000
By Cape Catley Limited
Reviewed by Robyn Yousef
I wish this book had been available when I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1995. The New Zealand Herald review described it as "surely a must-read for those who discover the cancer and those who love them" and I agree.
It is interesting and often inspiring to read the different ways these 20 different women including personalities such as Shona McFarlane, Marti Friedlander and Lois Muir who are already well-known to many of us handle their diagnosis and recovery from the disease. I think any woman who has been through breast cancer can relate to each story.
Each tale is so individual, different and very readable. I thought Jan Bolwells story was beautifully crafted and inspirational, while Marti Friedlander encapsulated hers in a letter to her husband that had me reaching for the tissues. I was also very interested in Tricia Laings account of her treatment at the Lukas Klinik in Arlesheim,
Switzerland, part of the network of clinics that treat cancer patients according to Rudolf Steiner methods. Tricia summarised her stay there as "an experience of western medicine that is comfortable with lavender, everyday rhythms and spiritual things."
Published with the support of the Wellington division of the Cancer Society, the book will be provided to newly diagnosed women in that region. It is well presented, laced with lots of practical information and down-to-earth humour. Margaret Clark writes in the foreword: "We hope that it helps you through the experience and tells you that you are not alone." Beating Our Breasts will do just that.