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Death and Dying

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis, treatment or long-term survival issues can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing. If you're an adult patient or the caregiver of an adult patient, there are books that can help you find ways to better manage your new responsibilities. Browse the list below for books that can help you cope.

Suggested Reading - Cycle of Lives

Cycle of Lives: 15 People's Stories, 5,000 Miles, and a Journey Through the Emotional Chaos of Cancer by David Richman
River Grove Books, 2020, 376 Pages
ISBN 978-1-63299-299-4 Paperback
ISBN 978-1-63299-300-7 eBook

Cycle of Lives chronicles the lives of 15 people affected by cancer, including patients, doctors, researchers, and caregivers.  These moving stories cover many aspects of a cancer diagnosis.  Readers are able to examine a wide range of experiences and viewpoints to help them grow in empathy, and to better understand how issues affect the way people deal with the traumas that shape their lives.

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Suggested Reading - A Beginner’s Guide to the End

A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death
By Dr. BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
Simon & Schuster, 2019, 544 pages
ISBN 978-1-5011-5716-5
ISBN 978-1-5011-5722-6 (ebook)

“There is nothing wrong with you for dying,” hospice physician B.J. Miller and journalist and caregiver Shoshana Berger write in A Beginner’s Guide to the End. “Our ultimate purpose here isn’t so much to help you die as it is to free up as much life as possible until you do.”

Theirs is a clear-eyed and big-hearted action plan for approaching the end of life, written to help readers feel more in control of an experience that so often seems anything but controllable. Their book offers everything from step-by-step instructions for how to do your paperwork and navigate the healthcare system to answers to questions you might be afraid to ask your doctor, like whether or not sex is still okay when you’re sick. Get advice for how to break the news to your employer, whether to share old secrets with your family, how to face friends who might not be as empathetic as you’d hoped, and how to talk to your children about your will. There are also lessons for survivors, like how to shut down a loved one’s social media accounts, clean out the house, and write a great eulogy.

Suggested Reading - Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond

Jane Brody's guide to the Great Beyond by Jane Brody
The Random House Publishing Group, 2009, 287 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6654-4

From the beloved columnist, trusted authority on health, and bestselling author comes this complete guide to everything you need to know-emotionally, spiritually, and practically-to prepare for the end of life. An invaluable road map to putting your affairs in order-or helping your loved ones do the same-book will answer virtually every question you might have about what does and does not help smooth the transition between life and the Great Beyond. Wise, sensible, and characteristically straightforward throughout, Brody advises on: the intricacies of a well-thought-out (and fully spelled-out) living will that health care practitioners readily understand-and how to designate a health care proxy planning a funeral or memorial to ensure that your wishes are followed, including tips on how to reduce expenses discussing prognoses and treatments with doctors. your options for controlling pain, shortness of breath, bed sores, and other physical symptoms-plus the facts on feeding tubes receiving the support you need through hospice care-and suggestions for loved ones and friends who want to help lightening and enlightening your trials by incorporating spirituality into your life understanding what happens, physically and mentally, when death is imminent, and recognizing when hand-holding and reassurance, not food or drink or an oxygen mask or CPR, is the proper course of action easing your way through the journey of grief by admitting the reality of the loss, showing your emotions, and allowing yourself the time you feel you need No matter your age or current health, preparing for the inevitable when you are still fully in control of your faculties ensures that you?ll be in a far better position to enjoy the time you have left. As Brody notes, "From the start, consider the finish."

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Suggested Reading - Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of The Dying

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of The Dying By Maggie Callanan, Patricia Kelley
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, 1997, 231 pages
ISBN: 0553378767

When someone we love is terminally ill, we are often unprepared to deal with the experience. But the dying have much to tell us and give to us. Final Gifts is a deeply moving, groundbreaking book that teaches us how to recognize and "decode" the often symbolic communications of those on the verge of death. In this humane, compassionate and insightful approach to helping the dying, Callanan and Kelley show families, friends and other caregivers how to listen to the dying, how to understand and accept what they wish or need to share and how to learn from this awesome life event in ways that bring understanding, comfort, intimacy and peace.