Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer: One Illness, Two Women, Four Seasons

breast cancerby Mary Ellen Havard and Mary Openlander

In the spring of the year 2000, Mary Ellen Havard was diagnosed with breast cancer. She writes that, on hearing those words, “my world flew apart. I was pulled in opposing directions, living in two worlds. There was the one of curling up in a ball and crying, refusing to eat, refusing to sleep, refusing to think. There was the other of facing the issues and making a plan. I had a job to do, and that job was survival.” As part of the job of survival, she kept a journal of her experience. The act of journalizing, suggested by Mary Openlander, a Trager® practitioner who became part of Mary Ellen’s cancer treatment team, began as a way to rein in fear and uncertainty and became part of the healing process. Simultaneously, Mary maintained her own written record of their treatment sessions. After independently documenting their thoughts and impressions for more than a year, Mary Ellen and Mary combined their separate journal entries to create Breast Cancer: One Illness, Two Women, Four Seasons. Not a “how-to” book, Breast Cancer is the account of one woman’s experience through which we come to see how illness can be transformative providing opportunities for growth and how empathic care can help to redefine what it means to “get well.”

Copyright © 2005.

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