Nursing Book Club
The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer and Care by Anne Boyer
An unflinching look at breast cancer
Anne Boyer, author of The Undying, is an essayist, a published poet, and one of the more than 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year.
Although there are many books about illness, Boyer notes that there are comparatively few about people who are ill. Her goal in publishing this book is “writing the truth for those who can use it.”
When a screening detected her breast cancer, Boyer’s life changed in the blink of an eye. Beforehand, she had not thought of herself as at all sick, but once her cancer was diagnosed, she had to immediately learn a new vocabulary and a new set of rules.
One of her first discoveries was a problem many nurses have railed against in this era of electronic medical records: Healthcare providers are often more preoccupied with computer screens and data than with people.
Becoming (Literally) Toxic
Actual hands-on caregivers are few and far between. If you’re a single mom and can’t afford to hire someone to help you at home, you may have to rely on friends for support.
Without caregivers, Boyer explains, you will have days when you are unable to care for yourself. You may be too sick and exhausted to drive, cook or bathe, which can have a big economic impact.