Angela's Decision: Outsmarting My Cancer Genes and Determining My Fate

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One woman’s brave journey to take control of her life, health, and future.

After a routine pap smear in 2009, Angela Schmidt Fishbaugh discovered that she had tested positive for BRCA1, a genetic trait that predisposed her to breast and ovarian cancer. After her initial shock—and subsequent to consulting with medical professionals, friends, and family—the proactive mother and teacher embarked on a mission to nip the issue at the bud.

Angela’s story is one of personal fortitude. During her journey, she contended with a lack of understanding from those around her, as well as the impending loss of her most feminine qualities. However, as is made abundantly clear in Angela’s Decision, she persevered and came out a stronger woman, immensely proud of the decisions she made. The roots of her immense personal strength become evident as Angela offers flashbacks to her past. She shows us the great difficulties she faced while caring for her ailing father and, later, her ailing mother.

Written with unbridled candor and lively prose, Angela’s Decision follows Angela’s yearlong journey through a myriad of clinics, hospitals, and numerous operations. It is a story of struggle and trial, highlighting the challenges both she and her family faced in her crusade against her genetic condition, and the great courage she showed in ensuring the mistakes of her parents did not become her own.
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About the author

Angela Schmidt Fishbaugh is a mother, teacher, and the author of Seeking Balance in an Unbalanced World: A Teacher’s Journey and Celebrate Nature! She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education, and she lives in Dundee, New York, with her three children and husband.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 28, 2015
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781632207401
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Women
Body, Mind & Spirit / Inspiration & Personal Growth
Health & Fitness / Diseases / Cancer
Health & Fitness / Women's Health
Medical / Oncology
Self-Help / Motivational & Inspirational
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Suzy and Nancy Goodman were more than sisters. They were best friends, confidantes, and partners in the grand adventure of life. For three decades, nothing could separate them. Not college, not marriage, not miles. Then Suzy got sick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977; three agonizing years later, at thirty-six, she died.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Goodman girls were raised in postwar Peoria, Illinois, by parents who believed that small acts of charity could change the world. Suzy was the big sister—the homecoming queen with an infectious enthusiasm and a generous heart. Nancy was the little sister—the tomboy with an outsized sense of justice who wanted to right all wrongs. The sisters shared makeup tips, dating secrets, plans for glamorous fantasy careers. They spent one memorable summer in Europe discovering a big world far from Peoria. They imagined a long life together—one in which they’d grow old together surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Suzy’s diagnosis shattered that dream.

In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . .  Even if it takes the rest of my life.

Suzy’s death—both shocking and senseless—created a deep pain in Nancy that never fully went away. But she soon found a useful outlet for her grief and outrage. Armed only with a shoebox filled with the names of potential donors, Nancy put her formidable fund-raising talents to work and quickly discovered a groundswell of grassroots support. She was aided in her mission by the loving tutelage of her husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, whose dynamic approach to entrepreneurship became Nancy’s model for running her foundation. Her account of how she and Norman met, fell in love, and managed to achieve the elusive “true marriage of equals” is one of the great grown-up love stories among recent memoirs. 

Nancy’s mission to change the way the world talked about and treated breast cancer took on added urgency when she was herself diagnosed with the disease in 1984, a terrifying chapter in her life that she had long feared. Unlike her sister, Nancy survived and went on to make Susan G. Komen for the Cure into the most influential health charity in the country and arguably the world. A pioneering force in cause-related marketing, SGK turned the pink ribbon into a symbol of hope everywhere. Each year, millions of people worldwide take part in SGK Race for the Cure events. And thanks to the more than $1.5 billion spent by SGK for cutting-edge research and community programs, a breast cancer diagnosis today is no longer a death sentence. In fact, in the time since Suzy’s death, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer has risen from 74 percent to 98 percent.

Promise Me is a deeply moving story of family and sisterhood, the dramatic “30,000-foot view” of the democratization of a disease, and a soaring affirmative to the question: Can one person truly make a difference?
The bestselling author and cancer survivor delivers “an optimistic instruction manual . . . [for] anyone struggling with self-care in a time of trouble” (Story Circle Book Reviews).

Survival Lessons provides a road map of how to reclaim your life from this day forward, with ways to reenvision everything—from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself. As Alice Hoffman says, “In many ways I wrote Survival Lessons to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss . . . I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other . . . I wrote to remind myself that . . . despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.”

Wise, gentle, and wry, Alice Hoffman teaches all of us how to choose what matters most.

“In this gem of a book, Alice Hoffman acknowledges the sorrows of life, while reminding us of its joys. Survival Lessons is filled with love, insight, and lots of practical advice—including a crazy-good brownie recipe.” —Will Schwalbe, New York Times–bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.” —Booklist

“Full of smart intentions and kind reminders . . . Uplifting advice we’ll gladly take.” —Better Homes & Gardens

“The book is not about her breast cancer per se but about making choices that will improve readers’ lives and relationships and remind them ‘of the beauty of life.’” —Library Journal
"A darn good read.” —Christiane Northrup, M.D., ob/gyn physician and New York Times bestselling author

A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body.

As a young, queer woman, Catherine Guthrie had worked hard to feel at home in her body. However, after years writing about women’s health and breast cancer, Guthrie is thrust into the role of the patient after a devastating diagnosis at age thirty-eight. At least, she thinks, I know what I'm up against.

She was wrong. In one horrifying moment after another, everything that could go wrong does—the surgeon gives her a double mastectomy but misses the cancerous lump, one of the most effective drug treatments fails, and a doctor's error may have unleashed millions of breast cancer cells into her body.

Flat is Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Ultimately, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with Mary, her partner, revealing—in the midst of crisis—a love story.

Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative and offers a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flat is a story about how she found the strength to forge an unconventional path—one of listening to her body—that she’d been on all along.
The revolutionary, New York Times bestselling guide to the powerful lifestyle changes that fight and prevent cancer—an integrative approach based on the latest scientific research
 
“A common-sense blueprint for healthy living.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Resonating with cancer support communities and recommended nationwide.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Life affirming . . . filled with practical advice.” —The Seattle Times
 
David Servan-Schreiber was a rising neuroscientist with his own brain imaging laboratory when, in the middle of an equipment test, he discovered a tumor the size of a walnut in his own brain. Forced to confront what medicine knows about cancer, and all that we still do not know, Servan-Schreiber marshaled his will to live and set out to understand the complex inner workings of the body’s natural cancer-fighting capabilities. He soon found himself on a decades-long journey from disease and relapse into scientific exploration and, finally, a new view of health.
 
Anticancer is at once the moving story of one doctor’s inner and outer search for wellness and a radical exposition of the roles that lifestyle, environment, and trauma play in our health. Drawing on the latest research in integrative medicine that blends conventional and alternative approaches, Servan-Schreiber concisely explains what makes cancer cells thrive, what inhibits them, and how we can empower ourselves to prevent their growth. His advice details how to develop a science-based anticancer diet (and the small changes that can make a big difference); how to reap the benefits of exercise, yoga, and meditation; which toxic, unsafe products to replace in your home; and how to stave off the effects of helplessness and unhealed wounds to regain balance.
 
Anticancer’s synthesis of science and personal experience marks a transformation in the way we understand and confront cancer. A long-running bestseller that has changed the lives of millions around the world, Anticancer remains a pioneering and peerless resource, an inspirational and revolutionary guide to “a new way of life.”
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