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The Cancer Survivor Handbook

Your Guide to Building a Life After Cancer, by Beth Leibson

In the introduction to The Cancer Survivor Handbook, author Beth Leibson tells her readers this book is about her journey back from cancer. She informs us her intent was to write the book she wished she could have found while attempting to redefine her own life after Hodgkin’s Disease.

Beth has not only hit her intended mark, she has written a thoughtful, sensitive and probably most important, useful guide for anyone trying to figure out where do I go from here?

In the seven years since Leibson completed her treatment, she not only reinvented her own life, she paid close attention to the obstacles, emotions, fears, challenges, humor and hope it takes for anyone to discover who they are after a cancer diagnosis.

Throughout the book, other survivors candidly share their stories. These glimpses into other people’s thoughts and feelings serve not only to help educate and reassure the reader, but provide a sort of shared template to help them better understand how to navigate the journey ahead.

The Cancer Survivor Handbook is skillfully divided into three sections addressing emotions (touching on, among other topics: fear of recurrence, depression and sexuality); career (discussing the hot buttons so many survivors share, like looking for a new job and/or switching careers); and wellness (developing a care plan and the importance of exercise and nutrition are just a sample of the topics discussed).

While a cancer diagnosis, with the resulting treatment and uncertainty, definitely brings enormous challenges to anyone’s life, perhaps an even bigger hurdle is what to do with that life once it is supposed to be back to “normal.”

Beth Leibson has created a terrific guide for not only finding your new normal, but also having the tools, resources and courage to create an examined and fulfilling life. Just as every cancer diagnosis is unique, so is the path one must take to navigate his or her journey. Leibson doesn’t preach, she educates, and in so doing, she has created a safe haven for anyone hoping to make what they have endured a positive life lesson -- the first step toward crafting a life-affirming future.