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10/12/13

Page Turner: Coping comes one page at a time through the power of the pen

If laughter is often the best medicine, reading could easily be a close second.
But what if you could just as easily combine the two?
The result is a plethora of powerful, humorous pieces written by acclaimed authors or simply those suffering from illness, who just happen to have an intriguing, unique take on the trials and tribulations of their journey.
The idea of humor and the written word coming together as somewhat of a cure all isn't as far fetched as it may appear. Humor and laughter is directly linked to reducing stress and helping to do anything from lowering blood pressure to supporting a strong immune system and fighting off depression.
In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, those empowered to fight any form of cancer with fervor and bravery certainly come across moments, whether fleeting or weeks at a time, where their mettle is truly tested.

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For that, there's the magic of making people laugh, coupled with a realistic sense that every day should be lived to its fullest.
Author Jane Schwartzberg adopts that concept wholeheartedly in her book, "Naked Jane Bares All," where she explains her tug of war between not only dealing with breast cancer but trying to find some humility, humor and candor in the process.
In "Naked Jane Bares All," Schwartzberg delves into her condition but also sprinkles in some helpful hints that enabled her to power through even the most trying of times.
A book such as the one penned by Schwartzberg is the opposite end of the reading spectrum, one that comes from a patient and not from an expert doctor. The more meticulous, "nuts and bolts" type books from a doctor's point of view undoubtedly appreciates the art of laughter but may want to sprinkle in a little more specificity into their daily regimen.
For that, doctors who double as authors fit the bill quite nicely, such as Gerald Chodak, a physician and expert in prostate cancer. Much like breast cancer when detected early, prostate cancer is treatable and has an encouraging survival rate. Chodak's "Winning the Battle Against Prostate Cancer" combines medical advice and a sense of purpose for men as they deal with prostate cancer openly, while also taking into consideration the patient's job and family.
In addition to taking a less than cantankerous approach to cancer, other afflictions or diseases shouldn't be overlooked, and patients should also take the laughter over languish approach on a daily basis.
Such chronic, life long diseases such as Crohn's Disease or Hepatitis C carry with them a routine that includes medications or surgeries to the point that even the most diligent and positive patient find themselves in a daunting, difficult place.
Books such as "Hepatitis C Treatment One Step at a Time" or "Crohn's Disease: The First Year" encompass a day by day mentality to the tone and voice of the writing that assures patients plenty of better days lie ahead.
Naturally, all of these aforementioned books brave the elements of each respective disease but do so in a way that puts patients in a better place, knowing they're not the only ones in this particular situation.
And, along the way, help even the most distressed individual crack a smile from time to time.

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