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By Heather Jose
Before we even begin discussing Heather Joseâ€™s book, Every Day We Are Killing Cancer, please ask yourself this question: If I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer (cancer that has metastasized and spread to distant organs) how long do I think I would live?
Because the very crux of what Heather Jose has done is to provide women receiving this diagnosis something more valuable than the latest drug or treatment: sheâ€™s given them hope. Why? Because Heather Jose received a Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis 16 years ago.
From the onset, Heather faced the challenge head-on. She realized it was going to be important to have a support team comprised of friends and family, and she also knew she would have to call upon her own inner strength. Although she may have been young, she fully appreciated theÂ importance of having a top-notch medical team by her side.
Just 26 at the time, one of her major concerns was making sure she left her infant daughter something to remember her by, just in case her efforts to survive didnâ€™t pan out as she hoped. It was this desire that fueled the letters that would eventually create the backbone for Every Day We Are Killing Cancer.
This is a wonderful resource for those facing cancer because Heather reminds her readers with breast cancer to push back, ask questions, challenge their doctor (and find another if they donâ€™t feel itâ€™s a good fit).
It is also useful for anyone finding themselves in the role of caregiver. Heather stresses how important their role is and how crucial it is for them to show up emotionally as well as physically. She shares just why their support is so vital, whether they realize it or not.
Those in healthcare will also find value because she cautions them to remember that how they act is just as important as what they say (yes, sometimes a patient can hear what you are discussing in the next room). She urges them to at least appear to empathize since someone in crisis is apt to be searching desperately for clues, including body language.
Women with metastatic breast cancer have long lamented how left out they often feel when it comes to resources directed to their population and its needs. Heather is a strong voice helping to change the conversation and challenge the misconceptions (even the women dealing with a Stage IV diagnosis may have internalized some myths and inaccuracies). Although she still faces the challenges someone with bone mets is subject to, her survivor and breast cancer thriver status mean Heather continues focusing on a bright future while never forgetting where sheâ€™s been. Her dedication to help others is evident every step of the way.
More information about her book, now in its new edition, is available at the publisher’s website.