Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

Coping with the Big C: Compassion by Jack and Colleen Pelar

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 11, 2012


Coping with the Big C: Compassion by Jack and Colleen Pelar

I agreed to read this book because I believe in the importance of the individual experience of cancer. From the moment cancer is diagnosed to the end of treatment and beyond truly is a journey. We are changed. Just as you forget you have a thumb until you hit it, you forget you have a life until it is seriously threatened. And Jack and Colleen make this a particularly interesting journey because it is a dialogue between the two of them. The journey is not the same journey for Colleen as it is for Jack – it may be his cancer, but he is her husband.
What comes out of the book for me is the strength of their relationship – rock solid, despite the enormous differences between them. But what is interesting is how they are aware of these differences and work with them, around them even through them.
And then, of course, there are the details of how the cancer is treated by their doctors. There is nothing about ‘alternative therapies’ or diets or any of that stuff. The doctors are the experts and Jack and Colleen are unquestioningly committed to this route – and at the end of the book Jack has just finished a gruelling course of radiotherapy. So the book ends on a note of hopefulness about the future – and I do hope that hopefulness is justified (just as I hope Jack doesn’t just say: “Done that, Got the t-shirt” and go back to his sugary cereals and coca colas but does start to take an interest in diet and supplements and herbs)
What I particularly like about this book is how open Jack and Colleen are about their inner thoughts – so by the end of the book they are friends and we care about them.
This is a thoughtful, wry, funny and painful account of a year that Jack and Colleen will not want to revisit. Reading this book is very educative. This is a report from the front of a very personal war.

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