REVIEWED BY PAMELA SCHAEFFER, Ph.D.
IF WE MUST DANCE, THEN I WILL LEAD
iUniverse, Inc., 2010
This poignant and well-told tale by Jane Rudden, subtitled "a memoir of breast cancer survival," is worth reading by anyone who has ever had breast cancer, who could be at risk of developing breast cancer, who has ever been a caregiver for a cancer patient — professionally or otherwise — or who has known someone with breast cancer. Which means: This book has something to offer just about all of us. With the possible exception of the unlucky women who have personally experienced this dreadful disease, it would be hard to imagine that someone could read Rudden's account without being in some way changed.
She writes frankly, and with flashes of humor, of her "dance with the beast," giving an account of her experiences with medical providers, some far from positive; of her growing determination to advocate for herself; of her reactions to the shattering physical and psychological effects of her illness. She survived, but barely, when reconstructive surgery resulted in a massive infection that might have taken her life.
She writes, too, of support and love — from her 10 siblings, her friends, and a "significant other," a man she invited more than once post-diagnosis to make his escape, but who shines here as a model of maturity and hope.
Rudden is a professor of education whose career was stalled and ultimately limited by her disease, but who learned in her time of darkness to dance free of the beast and feed her soul.
Copyright © 2010 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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