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Help Me Live
Cover of Help Me Live
Help Me Live
20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know
by Lori Hope
Borrow Borrow
Almost all of us know someone with cancer.
 
And, of course, we want nothing more than to offer comfort and support, and foster hope. But we don’t always know how—and may feel uncomfortable asking. Following her own treatment for cancer, Lori Hope created a survey for cancer survivors addressing issues they wanted their families, friends, and caregivers to understand. The results of the newly expanded survey are presented with honesty, insight, and humor, and complemented by scores of compelling personal stories from survivors of diverse ages and backgrounds. 
 
If you are a caregiver, Help Me Live will help you communicate more effectively and respond more compassionately. And if you are a survivor, it will help you feel validated, empowered, and, ultimately, hopeful.
Almost all of us know someone with cancer.
 
And, of course, we want nothing more than to offer comfort and support, and foster hope. But we don’t always know how—and may feel uncomfortable asking. Following her own treatment for cancer, Lori Hope created a survey for cancer survivors addressing issues they wanted their families, friends, and caregivers to understand. The results of the newly expanded survey are presented with honesty, insight, and humor, and complemented by scores of compelling personal stories from survivors of diverse ages and backgrounds. 
 
If you are a caregiver, Help Me Live will help you communicate more effectively and respond more compassionately. And if you are a survivor, it will help you feel validated, empowered, and, ultimately, hopeful.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book introduction 
     
    What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? —George Eliot 
     
    I AWAKEN IN MY DORMITORY-SIZE room and can hardly wait to peek outside at the young, thin-limbed maple tree silhouetted against the 6 a.m. lilac-gray sky. What a thrill to be on my own, poised to finish the final chapter of this book, a book about cancer. No, a book about hope—about listening—about being there. 
     
    On a private writing retreat at a wooded monastery in northwest Washington, named for St. Placid, a monk rescued from drowning by a fellow monk, I feel happier than I can remember. Having survived cancer, I just returned from Cancer as a Turning Point, a free conference that freshened my heart with hope. My nineteen-year-old son, Brett, recently called my cell phone to ask if I know anyone who needs a newspaper subscription which he wants to purchase out of compassion for the salesman outside Safeway. And, finally, my husband left a voicemail saying with love rich as fudge, “I miss you so much.” It doesn’t get much better than this. 
     
    As I move through the hallway in my slippers, I step gingerly to avoid disturbing the other retreatants sleeping behind doors labeled for Benedictines such as Heloise and Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. In the fluorescent-lit communal kitchen that still smells of popcorn from the night before, I turn a stainless steel knob next to the faucet, pumping 190-degree water into a plastic cone to brew my go-juice, and leave the kitchen, quietly shutting the door behind me. 
     
    Laptop cradled tightly against my left ribs—ribs split apart two years ago so a lobe of my lung could be removed—I walk through the propped-open door labeled, “Parlor,” eight feet across the hall from Hadewijch, named for the Benedictine who coined “Love conquers all things.” I gently place my computer on the loveseat and bend to lift the brass doorstop. I close the door so I can rustle papers, tap the keyboard, and talk to myself without disturbing the man in Hadewijch, an egg-shaped man with silver eyebrows and plaid shirt, a Leprechaun-lumberjack hybrid who told me the night before that he recently lost his wife of fifty years. Five decades. Can you imagine?
     
    Safe in the well-insulated parlor, my fingers type with impunity. Deep in thought, calm and focused, a loud KAPLUNK! shoots my pulse from 60 to 100. The door, which I had closed so gently, had apparently not closed completely. Natural law had asserted its rule to complete the action. 
     
    If it had been able to speak, this is what the heavy hunk of wood might have declared: “The road to hell is paved with the best intentions. Due to circumstances both within and beyond your control, you have and may continue to unintentionally disturb people you wish to avoid hurting at all cost.”
     
    I relax into a quiet laugh and ask myself, “So what is the point of writing a book about supporting people with cancer, since you will likely hurt them anyway—since they may hear words differently than you intended them, or attach a different or distorted meaning to your actions?”
     
     
    The Point
     
    In deciding how to act or what to say to the ill, infirm, or suffering, we rely on advice or examples presented by role models from childhood on. Real-life people and events, fairy tales and stories, entertainment, and popular and news media show us what works and fails, teaching right from wrong. The problem is, we do not live in a world of immutable right and wrong, black and white; rather, we...
About the Author-
  • Lori Hope is a journalist, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, and speaker. A tireless advocate for those struggling with the social and interpersonal challenges that come with cancer, she has served on the board of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, has volunteered for The Lung Cancer Alliance and the National Lung Cancer Partnership, and has spoken before the American Cancer Society, the Oncology Nursing Society, and Tulane Medical School. Her commitment to cancer survivors will continue until this book is no longer needed. Visit www.lorihope.com.
Reviews-
  • Susan Love, MD, author of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, President, The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation "The perfect book for family and friends."
  • Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S., NBC News Chief Medical Editor, Associate Professor Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania "This book is a gift to anyone who has been touched by cancer."
  • Greg Anderson, author of Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do, Founder and CEO, Cancer Recovery Foundation Group "Lori Hope writes with an eloquence and authenticity that inspires all her readers. If you or a loved one have been touched by cancer, Help Me Live is required reading."
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bright–Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining Americaand Nickel and Dimed "Lori Hope offers guidance that is always sensitive and often deeply illuminating. Please, please, read this book!"
  • Kathryn Joosten, actress, The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, and Scrubs "This is a book every cancer survivor, as well as those who share our world, need to read. She says the words that none of us wants to say out loud and offers realistic explanations of how we all need to relate to our disease. This book can offer a great deal of comfort to those starting on the path of living with cancer."
  • Regina Vidaver, PhD, Executive Director, The National Lung Cancer Partnership "In Help Me Live, Lori Hope has created a masterpiece of compelling and heartfelt words of heal-
    ing that should be required reading for doctors, family, and friends of anyone traversing the cancer landscape."
  • Kathy La Tour, Editor-at-Large, Cure magazine "Even though I am a twenty-year survivor, I needed to be reminded about what people in the throes of cancer need, and Lori Hope's book is perfect."
  • Win Boerckel, LCSW, MSW, Director of Social Service, CancerCare of Long Island "In working over fifteen years as an oncology social worker, it seemed as if Lori Hope had been sitting alongside me catching the rich insights and poignant narratives of our clients and then beautifully crafted Help Me Live to assist the world in truly understanding how one best helps the cancer patient."
  • Wendy Harpham, MD, author of Happiness in a Storm, Diagnosis: Cancer, and Only 10 Seconds to Care: Help and Hope for Busy Clinicians "Lori Hope's masterful storytelling and clear explanations are invaluable."
  • Peggy McGuire, Executive Director, Women's Cancer Resource Center "Always compassionate and pragmatic, Help Me Live breaks new ground with sections on children and young adults and cultural considerations--truly a wonderful resource for all of us."
  • Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO, Lung Cancer Alliance "Help Me Live is beautifully written and offers extraordinary pearls of wisdom on love, on hope, on survivorship, on friendship."
  • Laura Marquez, ABC News correspondent "As a two-time survivor of breast cancer and a journalist, I found Help Me Live to be informative, touching, and even funny--and when it comes to cancer, you need a sense of humor. The author certainly lives up to her name."
  • Patricia Reilly, California State University School of Nursing "[Hope] writes exquisitely of the emotions and the roller-coaster ride of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. As a nurse educator, I plan to share this book with my students to try and give them some insight into the common experiences that many cancer patients have, as well as the uncommon ones."
  • Marc Silver, author of Breast Cancer Husband: Help Your Wife (and Yourself) during Diagnosis, Treatment, and Beyond "This book is invaluable for anyone diagnosed with cancer and for anyone who has a family member or friend battling the disease. Lori Hope, a lung cancer survivor, writes intimately, poignantly, poetically, and humorously."
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    Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
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20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know
Lori Hope
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