October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month here in the U.S., and as a survivor myself I’d like to share a couple of books that many have found informative and comforting. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, in the thick of the fight, or trying to support a friend or loved one through this very demanding and challenging time, these books will provide insight and first-hand accounts from survivors.
The Pink Moon Lovelies are members of the Facebook group Beyond the Pink Moon, named after Nicki Boscia Durlester’s memoir that intimately chronicles her journey after a breast cancer diagnosis. Nicki created the group to provide an active forum for discussion to raise awareness about the BRCA gene and breast and ovarian cancer.
She never dreamed her homespun story would travel around the globe and Beyond the Pink Moon would become a support group for people from all walks of life coming together to lift each other up with inspiration, humor, faith and love. With Lovelies in Australia, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Tasmania and the USA, Nicki, a BRCA2 survivor, and fellow moderator, Melissa Johnson Voight, a BRCA1 previvor, whose journey of steadfast faith and courage of conviction is included in this book, have encouraged their members to tell their stories with one goal in mind, to save lives.
With a Foreword written by renowned breast surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk, this riveting collection of 50 stories includes:
The unflinching account of Barbie Ritzco, a United States Marine who kept silent about discovering a lump in her breast in order to deploy with her unit to Afghanistan, putting her country before her health.
The moving story of Ally Durlester, Nicki’s daughter, a 25 year old BRCA2 previvor who will undergo prophylactic surgery to try to avoid the same fate as her mother, grandmother and six great-aunts who all had breast, ovarian or fallopian tube cancer.
The frustrating story of Erika Grogin Lange, an Israeli Lovely and mother of five whose nagging symptoms of fatigue, nausea and bloating went undiagnosed for months until she heard the shocking news that she had Stage III ovarian cancer.
And the unpredictable journey of Susan Long Martucci, a two-time breast cancer survivor, disease free for 13 years, blindsided by another diagnosis. She is the beacon of hope who coined the term Pink Moon Lovelies.
Each story is compelling and has an important message to impart. The Pink Moon Lovelies, Empowering Stories of Survival concludes with the story of the incomparable May Smith, the 32 year old South African Lovely who left a legacy of extraordinary courage, grace and love. Hers was a life well lived. When May sadly passed away on July 22, 2012 from breast cancer she left the Pink Moon Lovelies with one final message filled with wisdom and advice beyond her years. Her emotional eulogy written by Nicki Boscia Durlester is also included. Two women who never met in person but whose love transcended time and space. The power of the Pink Moon!
n this touching, frank and informative memoir, Nicki Boscia Durlester intimately chronicles her transformational journey after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her story begins with her mother, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1962: a time when breast cancer was only discussed behind closed doors, and long before women took an active role in their diagnosis and treatment.
Nicki provides unique insight into being part of a large Italian-American family afflicted with the BRCA2 gene, and shares poignant stories about her mother and aunts who faced breast and ovarian cancer with extraordinary grace and courage.
Nicki writes candidly about her frustration in finding the right team of doctors as well as the highs and lows of her journey, sharing humor and heart along the way. She puts a human face on statistics ranking breast cancer as the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.
This deeply moving story of legacy, loss and ultimately survival is told through the eyes of a daughter who shared an unbreakable bond with her mother. As she travels the scary, unpredictable road through her own diagnosis, treatment and recovery, Nicki discovers the most difficult challenge she faces becomes the most spiritually transcendent experience of her life.
This Special Edition of Beyond the Pink Moon includes an Afterword by the author.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to breast cancer research.
LETTERS TO DOCTORS combines the perspective of a practicing obstetrics/gynecologist, Dr. Jonathan D. Herman, with a BRCA1-positive patient, Teri Smieja. Dr. Herman and Teri met online, and through their mutual desire to help patients who live with the threat or actuality of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC), they have become leading advocates in the BRCA community. They inform, educate, and empower patients faced with these hereditary cancers.
Merging the dynamics of a doctor and a patient, who share a common goal of educating patients, family members and healthcare professionals, the result is LETTERS TO DOCTORS, an easy-to-read, hard-to-put down, compelling book that is like no other in the HBOC/BRCA realm.
It is Teri and Dr. Herman’s belief that physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and most of those working in the healthcare industry welcome education and criticism that is well-intended and presented in a positive and engaging manner. Another goal is to help patients, their caregivers, family and friends, to feel less alone while they navigate the complex paths of diagnosis and treatment. By merging both a physician’s perspective and a patient’s perspective, and drawing upon the BRCA community-at-large, LETTERS TO DOCTORS meets both of these goals in a unique and dynamic way.
If you are concerned that the cancer in your family is hereditary, you face difficult choices. Should you have a blood test that may reveal whether you have a high likelihood of disease? Do you preemptively treat a disease that may never develop? How do you make decisions now that will affect the rest of your life? This helpful, informative guide answers your questions as you confront hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
Developed by Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, this book stands alone among breast and ovarian cancer resources. Equal parts health guide and memoir, it defines complex issues facing previvors and survivors and provides solutions with a fresh, authoritative voice.
Written by three passionate advocates for the hereditary cancer community who are themselves breast cancer survivors, Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer dispels myths and misinformation and presents practical risk-reducing alternatives and decision-making tools. Including information about genetic counseling and testing, preventive surgery, and fertility and family planning, as well as explanations of health insurance coverage and laws protecting genetic privacy, this resource tackles head-on the challenges of living in a high-risk body.
Confronting hereditary cancer is a complex, confusing, and highly individual journey. With its unique combination of the latest research, expert advice, and compelling personal stories, this book gives previvors, survivors, and their family members the guidance they need to face the unique challenges of hereditary cancer.