Reading Corner


The Healing Journey
Author: Dr. Alastair Cunningham

A Canadian scientist and former bowel cancer patient has written a challenging story about coping with cancer in "The Healing Journey," published by Key Porter Books. Dr. Alastair Cunningham has been working with cancer patients and their families for over ten years at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, a facility devoted to treating cancer. He is a pioneer in developing a program to teach specific coping skills at a time when patients often feel the most helpless. His book deals with a clear description of how cancers form and what treatment options are open to residents.

Encouraging patients to become more involved in their own care is critical to his philosophy.

Dr. Cunningham describes how patients can do exactly that by learning taped and musically-accompanied relaxation exercises; keeping a diary to record thoughts and emotions; and reducing stress through positive personal images. Support from other patients with cancer is another way to lessen the feelings of isolation which may occur despite the best intentions of loved ones. Families often need guidance in learning how to accept the changes brought on by a diagnosis of cancer. Dr. Cunningham reminds us that we can learn how to understand the social and spiritual changes in the life of anyone facing cancer.

Wellness Workbook
Authors: Dr. John Travis and Regina Ryan

The "Wellness Workbook" by Dr. John Travis and Regina Ryan, published by Ten Speed Press, offers insights about our attitudes toward our own health. Instead of concentrating on what is wrong when we become ill, the authors focus on preventing future problems. Ideas about personal health and well-being are explored in different pen-and-paper exercises which cause us to think about what it means to be sick. What happens after the symptoms of any disease are treated? Being healthy is described as an everchanging state and focuses on what is possible, starting at any point in one's life. Appendices include a music bibliography for relaxation or meditation and a wellness journal for creativity. Suggested readings accompany each of 12 sections which cover the senses; movement; communication; food; work and recreation.