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Tamoxifen hot flashes mastectomy reconstruction breast cancer etiuette Frankenboobs bras with special attachments—Margaret Lesh shares all in her funny heartfelt collection of essays anecdotes and life lessons from the perspective of a two time breast cancer survivor She’ll tell you when it’s okay to play the cancer card what you should take to the hospital and gives suggestions on how to cope in those dark moments of the soul With practical tips sprinkled throughout Let Me Get This Off My Chest explores how breast cancer changed her outlook on life offering honest insights humor and sensitivity as she looks for the silver lining in a not so great situation Whether you are a woman diagnosed with breast cancer or whether you know someone with breast cancer this book was written for you


10 thoughts on “Let Me Get This Off My Chest

  1. says:

    Let Me Get This Off My Chest is the book I wrote in the months following my bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction During the months long process I noticed that some people especially men seemed uncomfortable with the topic of mastectomy which is one of the reasons I wrote this book to hopefully remove some of the stigma and further the conversation Also when I first learned of my recurrence I wrote a diary piece for the website Daily Kos and it seemed to touch a nerve with people—many of whom were cancer survivors or had close friends and family fighting cancer My Cancer Diary became a series of updates on my blog which turned into this book when my good friend Laura innocently asked me one day “So are you going to write about your experiences?”I learned so much during and after my first experience with breast cancer in 1999 2000 as a mother with a very young son and then with my recurrence thirteen years later It is my hope that other women may gain something from my experiencesIf I can help just one woman then this book will have achieved my goal Hopefully it will be many than oneThis book was made possible by the monetary and moral support of my Kickstarter backers who believed in me and in my project; by Ellen Brock my excellent editor on my YA novel Normalish who lent her talents to this book; and also my husband Steve who is the most knowledgeable and talented graphic designer I’ve ever known And I’m totally not biasedSo that is the story of how this book came to bePS If anyone who reads this would like a copy but can’t afford to pay please send me a note and I will send you an e copy when the book is ready which should be towards the end of June 2013PPS If anyone would like an ARC please send me a message and I will send an e copy when they are available


  2. says:

    I read this book in one sitting You will too This not a literary memoir There aren't many extravagant sentences few flashy 25 words The author herself professes she uses profanity when no one else is around but abstains from using it in the memoir which I felt was oddly refreshing The writing style isn't stuffy but very conversational Chances are if you've read this book Margaret Lesh isn't in your circle of friends But you'll feel like she isThis is the single most important memoir I've read in my life It belongs on every woman's shelf Period It's a beautiful book for men too because no matter your sexual orientation there's a chance you know or will know someone with cancer Lesh spares nothing The book is beautiful wrought with many important tips and anecdotes; links to websites and other books for better no further understanding of The Big C Want to know what it's like to hear you have cancer; the awful sickening fate that may await you? It's in here You want to know every detail of what you may go through including possible side effects of every treatment? It's in here As a former science major I've been through the hub dub of the cancer research and cure debates Ladies and gents the CURE is PREVENTION If you feel a lump in your breasts or testes it isn't NOT something Get it checked and yesterday Read this book Learn from this woman You now have a book a guide a beautiful friend to learn from There's no excuse


  3. says:

    In this memoir Margaret Lesh a breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with hot flashes from Tamoxifen mastectomy reconstruction surgery dealing with mastectomy bras and other things that go along with a breast cancer diagnosisHer style is funny and heartfelt without resorting to platitudes and also informative; I wish I would have had this book for my first diagnosis of breast cancer I really related to the chapters on what it feels like to be told you have cancer going through a bilateral mastectomy though unlike the author I never had reconstructive surgery what it was like going through radiation and dealing with some of the stupid things people say to you when you have breast cancer I love the section on breast cancer ettiuette; what to say and what NOT to say to someone with breast cancer I also really liked the chapter on when to play the cancer cardThis book was a pretty uick read but the information is right to the point without any superfluous filler authors sometimes use to stretch out their storiesI would recommend this book to anyone newly diagnosed with breast cancer or for loved ones of breast cancer patients who want to know the best way to support their loved ones I would love to see a book like this written by someone with stage IV breast cancer which is what I am living with


  4. says:

    This book is a great read not just for those going through cancer treatment but also for their family members and loved ones With honesty and humor Lesh guides us through the emotional rollercoaster after the initial diagnosis to the follow up care I gifted this to a friend currently going through cancer treatment but was a little concerned it could come across as commiseration which I know she abhors So I downloaded a copy for myself and started reading While the book does open your eyes to the emotional struggle it will also help you see the light at the end of the tunnel Whether you have gotten the dreaded diagnosis or someone close to you has do yourself and them a favor and pick up a copy of Let me get this off my chest


  5. says:

    Let Me Get This Off My Chest by Margaret LeshThis is a good straightforward account of one woman's breast cancer journey Lesh had a lumpectomy and radiation in 2000 followed by a bilateral mastectomy when her cancer returned 12 years later Having been on my own cancer journey several times I was looking for a personal account and this accessible memoir is written in a very conversational styleRecommended for all who want a uick but complete synopsis of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment


  6. says:

    What to say what not to say; I'm baffledIt touched my heartYes People are precious not things


  7. says:

    I only have one problem with this book It wasn’t published soon enough I have you see gone through Breast Cancer myself Not like Margaret’s – hers was Stage IA a very mild form of Breast Cancer while mine was Stage IIIB the last stage before becoming metastatic spreading to other parts of the body such as the liver lungs etcThis is not to say that I in any way am belittling Margaret’s mild cancer Rather I applaud her for her strength Other than a very few friends I had no family She on the other hand has a loving husband and at the time of her first bout with cancer a two year old son She had a lot to lose than I And that is what matters in all cases isn’t it? Our loss as it affects our families It felt as if I were walking to the gas chamber or gallows In December of 1999 when her son was two Margaret had her first bout with breast cancer The terror must have been horrific even if she bore it well and doesn’t make a big deal of it in her book She had a lumpectomy and radiation and then lived a normal life enjoying her husband and child and life itself until 2012 when a ‘possible’ lump showed up again in the same breast that had given her trouble before Now things were different Now some serious issues would have to be addressed and things would be different It was time for the breasts to vacate the premises And so begins her story of her diagnosis treatment and reconstruction Sometimes the only way to deal with horrific things in life is through a dark sense of humor – Margaret Cho The thing I truly admire about Margaret’s story is how she lays it out in a humourous manner Oh believe me this story is not a funny one The fear pain and nausea the surgeries and drains and pain oh and did I mention pain? is terrifying At times it is horrifying and at others simply humiliating I am right there with her on the nurse who looks at you like you are a bug to be suished on the floor for asking for a bedpan when you are too drugged and too agonized to make it to the bathroom I was fortunate – I had the services of some of the best doctors and nurses in the world at Littleton Adventist Hospital in Littleton Colorado for my chemo treatments and multiple hospital visits nothing like internal bleeding and constant vomiting and fainting to land you into a bed with multiple wires and tubes sticking out I never had a single nurse or doctor treat me with anything less than compassion and respect well except for one doctor and I think he was just a jerk no matter what Well he was the one sticking the tubes up my bum and down my throat to find the bleeds I suppose if I worked with people’s bums all day I would be bad tempered too Sometimes I say the medication is even tougher than the illness – Sanya Richards Ross While some parts of cancer treatments can be different interesting and ‘cocktail party worthy’ take baldness now I found that funny in and of itself and never wore a wig Hey might as well laugh at yourself right? what isn’t funny or fun or anything even remotely pleasant is the chemotherapy Sitting in a lounger for hours at a time while poison was being pumped into my veins was sure to send me into a full blown panic attack even at my weakest Bring out the knock out drugs I told you I had the Best Chemo Nurse EVER Chemo is not fun It leaves you weak sick tired unable to eat or drink without having it come right back up again Margaret covers the issue with her usual kindness and panache pointing out the problems but refusing to let it drive her down into the dark lands of her psyche I admire that I mostly just slept For days and daysAnd that whole “you are going to go into menopause at the speed of the Shinkansen the Japanese High Speed Train System” complete with hot flashes and weight fluctuations? So not fun Margaret didn’t say how much weight she lost – I lost 60 lbs Now if I could have kept off about 30 of those LOL One of her nipples was lying on the bathroom tile The part that Margaret went through that I didn’t was the reconstruction I was 53 at the time and hadn’t had a lover for over 20 years – why did I care? We could get all up in the childhood and later sexual abuse etc but that doesn’t fit here The point is I have to admit – the double mastectomy in my case was much easier than her reconstruction I still had the pain and the drains but she went five months getting doses of saline injected to ‘stretch out’ her tissue building new breasts Nah I will take my ‘barely there’ scar the occasional odd look and some ongoing tenderness across the chest Hey I can at least sleep on my stomach these days When I was a D cup that was so not happening Her story of the reconstruction was sort of creepily fascinating to me as I didn’t have it done And of course hearing the story of her friend who had reconstruction and then one of her nipples fell off when she was toweling after a shower? You have to read the book just for that part of the storyOverall if you have the slightest interest in what your friend family member coworker etc is going through you have to read this book If you have the possibility of Breast Cancer yourself are going through treatment or have had cancer previously you have to read this book It is by turns scary and funny but always compassionateHighly recommendedhttpwwwbreastcancerorgsymptoms To learn about the stages of Breast Cancerhttpwwwbreastcancerorg The main site this is the be all and know all site for Breast Cancer informationhttpwwwcancergov The home site for the National Cancer Institute a part of the National Institutes of Health There is Breast Cancer information here but also research and information regarding a large number of different types of cancerhttpwwwcancergovcancertopicsdr Another segment of the NCI website you can find information about different chemotherapy medications Margaret was on Tamoxifen I on the other hand had ATC therapy A combination of Doxorubicin Adriamycin Taxol paclitaxel and Cyclophosphamide Cytoxan You can find additional information on any of these drugs at A great site for info on cancer and cancer treatments


  8. says:

    Margaret Lesh strikes the right note here in her account of the floating year she spent going through diagnosis surgery for a bilateral mastectomy implantation surgery and recovery This charming little book with the funny title could have been a lot of things but the author who's a Southern California novelist and freelance court reporter doesn't overshare despite the subtitleLesh writes that she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 when she was only 34 and had a lumpectomy Then in 2012 she made the alarming discovery of another lump in the same breast I'd been warned that if there was a recurrence mastectomy was the only option no cutting she writes She then had to make the decision whether to have her noncancerous right breast removed as well and she opted for thatLesh has also blogged about cancer and the book is a sort of cancer journal of her year; it's made of of short chapters that are like little meditations Skilfully formatted with wonderful uotes beginning each chapter Lesh dwells just enough on each physical ordeal she has to go through and touches slightly on the emotional part as well but not enough to overwhelm the reader The tips that she ends each chapter with are super informative I would call it a sort of Breast Reconstruction for Dummies except that Lesh's sweet sincere funny yet somehow uite private personality imbues the book with a real sense of intimacy like she is telling secrets over the dinner tableAs one of her uotes from Erma Bombeck says There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain comedy and tragedy humor and hurtI felt myself rooting for the author and glad that she is in a happy marriage which clearly sustains her and keeps her the balanced and kind person that she is despite having to go through what some might consider a tragic ordeal And in fact Lesh admits that the cancer has been life changing it's helped her appreciate life she cries much easily she laughs easily tooShe gives the reader permission to chuckle along too with phrases like Frankenboobs A few years ago reading this I might have thought Lesh was too much in denial not angry enough about what happened to her and so on Now I can feel her bravery and optimism shining through and that's just what women who've been diagnosed with breast cancer and face scary choices need Good jobCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest review


  9. says:

    This book does memoir right Perfectly paced and deliciously readable Let Me Get This Off My Chest combines self help education humor and reflection The book is so beautifully human personal without being over done funny without being distracting Have you read memoirs or non fiction where you skip chunks because the author trails off into filler? Gunk that makes the book longer but not better? There is no gunk here except the gunk left behind by surgical tape no filler except the saline in the post mastectomy frankenboobs The author chose to organize the book in a VERY useful entertaining way and though you might have to finish the book in one sitting if you do read a few pages and have to set it down you'll be able to pick right back up as though you never left That's a well told storyThe book's themes are very universally applicable Anyone whose life has been touched by illness injury loss can relate to it without that exhausting feeling of being emotionally dragged back through the hard time The book's tone balances a difficult subject with lovely precision never overly painful never like opening a wound this was like having a cup of coffee with a friend whose been there The author is both a thoughtful person and a skilled writer those ualities are reflected in the various scenarios she shares the wig party LOVED THIS is a scene I will remember for years to come; the loss of women in her life going through the same thing when their paths diverge Support groups spouses work money all the good stuff is there but told in a way that hasn't been done to death and I don't think has been done this well until nowIf you think reading a book about cancer will scare you or make you sad don't be afraid This book won't hurt I promise unless belly laughs cause you pain But even then it's worth it


  10. says:

    Margaret Lesh has done a fantastic job of writing about a subject so many people can barely bring themselves to talk about Cancer Yup the big C word And she has done so in a brilliant down to earth and yes even funny way Sharing her story will help so many people grapple with this difficult subject But make no mistake this is an enjoyable read in itself It's a beautifully designed book and a pleasure to navigate And Margaret Lesh besides being a very brave woman is a kick ass author