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The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

September 15, 2013

Tags: cancer, cancer chronicles, george johnson

Since 2008 my husband has been fighting bouts of oral cancer so I could relate to much in this book. George Johnson's wife came down with metastatic cancer and it took over their lives. The writer traveled through the USA gathering every piece of information he could find on the disease. The book is packed with information on the current research. Cancer tumors have been discovered attached to dinosaur bones. Is this a disease that our own bodies produce? Is this a genetic flaw in our healing process? How much of a role does our enviroment play in the developing of cancers?

He also touches on how relationships change and evolve during the difficult treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He and his wife split up after she completes her treatments. It was his wife who made this choice.

The book is an intelligent and sensitive investigation of a dreaded disease.

It is difficult watching one's partner, child, loved one suffer through the disfiguring surgeries and treatments. In my husband's case he has lost half his tongue and all his teeth on one side of his mouth. They have removed lymph nodes and muscles from his neck taking his away the ability to drive. He can no longer eat normal food. He must puree his food and he has a tube that goes directly into his stomach through which he feeds himself. Life has drastically changed for both of us. We loved eating out but now it is impossible unless he limits himself to pureed soups and ice cream. The food he takes orally must be supplemented by prescriptions from the pharmacy, which can be injected via syringe into the tube in his stomach.

We are blessed by the fact that we have grown closer and still need and seek each other's company. However, I can understand how some relationships fall apart under the constant threat of this disease and the need to evaluate the life one is living.