by Janice Post-White
book review by Michelle Jacobs
“Cancer was my job, my career. Cancer was only supposed to happen to other people’s kids.”
When Janice Post-White’s son is diagnosed with leukemia at four years old, a journey begins for her family through the difficult years of treatment and the ensuing ones of post-treatment. As a cancer nurse, researcher, and educator, Post-White is uniquely prepared to wade through the clinical side of her son’s ordeal. She tackles the consultations and treatment plans with analytical precision. But as a mother, she is wholly unprepared for the fear, stress, and suffering that cancer creates in its wake as it attacks her son’s small body. She explores the turmoil that illness brings to her family’s life with her detailed account of hospital stays, her son’s emotional outbursts, and the different ways each family member copes. Post-White is a steady voice of resolve through this transformative memoir so full of wisdom gained in the fire of experience.
Grappling with a life interrupted is a powerful theme that is brilliantly and beautifully captured through the life of a family in the fight of their life. Well-crafted and deeply reflective, Post-White’s book offers insights about living with uncertainty, focusing on love and joy instead of fear, and defining the nature of care and connection with a loved one. Her scientific mind responds to the crisis first, but her heart follows closely behind as she seeks an “equilibrium between thinking and feeling” through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. The result is a well-balanced account of the exterior forces at work and the author’s interior life. She writes with honesty and the searing knowledge that comes from feeling death’s shadow hovering too close to her four-year-old son. This life-affirming account will move readers to accept the darkness that comes with life, make room for joy, and design a new normal when life takes unexpected turns.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review