This welcome addition to cancer literature is an honest, sensitive, and open treatment of an incredibly difficult topic.
In I Lost My Child to Cancer, Shelly Dubois traces the trajectory of her daughter’s illness and death, and shares her own journey through profound grief to acceptance and, eventually, to the inner healing that enables her to help other families suffering the loss of a child to cancer.
Just as she was about to graduate from high school, Chantal Dubois began experiencing headaches and blurred vision that her mother thought must be due to migraines, from which she herself suffered. But the radiant, talented young woman’s diagnosis was devastating: she was found to have the most aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, stage IV astrocytoma, in a location that made it inoperable.
The book shows how the Dubois family pulled together to support Chantal as best they could while struggling to navigate through Canada’s health-care system. From sheer panic upon receiving the diagnosis, through the roller-coaster ride of hope and despair as Chantal underwent painful, costly, and ultimately futile treatments, the book gives an intimate and heartbreaking look at how this much-feared disease destroys lives and at the love, courage, and resilience of those who battle it daily. The vital role of community support is highlighted, as relatives and friends visit, host fund-raisers, and do their best to aid and encourage the family.
Engaging, coherent, and heartfelt, the book helps meet the need for information on the topic of losing a child to cancer. It reveals how the health-care system’s weaknesses led to the need to travel long distances for treatment when it was readily available nearby, and how families do not always understand the side effects, costs, and limited success rates of various available drugs. Parents hoping for a cure face a dilemma when new drugs are offered that have not been widely tested and have serious side effects and a survival rate of zero, especially when they are not clearly informed of these facts. The book also details the ways in which a family’s financial security is destroyed when treatment costs are astronomical and caregiving makes continuing to work impossible.
Though the book is generally well written, it does contain some errors in word usage, grammar, and syntax. The cover art is sensitive and attractive, and the interior layout and design are pleasant and easy on the eye. A helpful reference section lists the drugs and other means used to treat Chantal’s cancer, together with resources for more information.
I Lost My Child to Cancer is a welcome addition to cancer literature for its honest, sensitive, and open treatment of what is possibly the most difficult topic of all to address, and for its strong affirmation that death is not the end of the love between a mother and her child.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.