Hearing about breast cancer, Susan G. Komen and the ‘Race for the Cure’ are commonplace in our fast-paced world of information. However, do we really know what it means to endure this diagnosis? To play waiting games with medical tests or paperwork games with insurance companies? What about the physical, mental, and emotional battles which go along with chemotherapy? Author and cancer survivor Marci A. Schmitt spells it all out in her book, “March Forth: My Journey through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery from Breast Cancer.”
“March Forth” is an eye-opening personal account of one brave woman’s life-changing experiences with breast cancer. Told from the first person, Schmitt includes every step in her journey toward freedom. After having to watch her mother die of the same disease, she ‘marches forth’ at each chapter’s end as obstacle after obstacle seem to line up and obstruct her path to good health. After two mastectomies – and not even at the same time – Schmitt maintains a playful wit while looking the unimaginable in the eyes and holding on where most of us would think we would surely fail. Her vivid descriptions of chemotherapy horrors brought many tears to my eyes and helped me better understand how debilitating these treatments can be on the human body. Thankfully, the book ends on a positive note with Schmitt alive and doing extremely well.
“March Forth” is a beautifully inspirational read for anyone having to go through cancer themselves as well as those hoping to be a supportive and understanding friend for someone else. It gives the down and dirty on what someone might expect when dealing with this disease but it also presents advice on how you could effectively help someone going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. These recommendations can potentially assist in lessening any awkward or uncomfortable moments where someone may not really know what to do or say to be empathetic.
Schmitt is exceptional in recounting her story, describing her situations with detailed clarity, organizing her thoughts, and letting her strength and faith shine through her words. She describes ‘chemo brain’ towards the end of her story but I didn’t find anything random or foggy about her.
March Forth: My Journey through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery from Breast Cancer
Marci A. Schmitt
Outskirts Press (2011)
Reviewed by Vicki Liston for Reader Views (12/11)