Books on the Personal Side of Lymphoma

On this site it is emphasized that lymphoma is not just a disease - it is people, real people with lives and stories and hope. Now, in association with, there is web access to books written by others in the struggle. Below are listed titles which may help you know the personal side of lymphoma:

Personal Stories

Cancer: Messages To and From a Survivor by Gail VanHecke, 2005 - written by a B-cell lymphoma survivor, it chronicles Gail's story from life before, to diagnosis, treatment and through remission. It is written in an easy to read style and rather comforting. One thing about this book that sets it apart are Gail's references to her faith, with Scripture quotes, poems, and personal messages of healing. If you know someone facing lymphoma who would be comforted by such words, I can highly recommend this book. In Paperback.

The Patient From Hell by Stephen Schneider, 2005 - If you're going to read one survivors book, pick this one. Schneider is an accomplished author and scientist in climatology and his book shows professionalism and caring. How patients can be advocates for proper treatment. Please consider reading this book.

The Roller Coaster Chronicles by Betsy de Parry, 2005 - This powerful book provides a goldmine of insights into the experience of healing from the perspective of a lymphoma patient and survivor. Betsy's story is both humorous and compassionate as she takes an intimate look back at her medical journey and the effect it had on her marriage, self-identity and life perspective. For patients, caregivers and physicians, this book is a significant contribution to the field of illness narratives.

Tapestry by Laurel Lee, 2005 - the biography of Laurel Lee, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's in 1975 at age 29. The first part of her journey is chronicled in the book Walking Through the Fire later made into a CBS television movie. Tapestry starts in the 1960's with Laurel hitchhiking to Alaska and winds its way through the 70's, 80's, and 90's with humor and grace. The story is bittersweet - although she survived her lymphoma, her story comes to a conclusion when she was diagnosed with late stage Pancreatic cancer, surviving ten months when given three. An accomplished writer, Laurel's account is a good read and recommended.

Magical Story: A Teenager's Inspiring Battle with Hodgkin's Disease, Leslie & Brian Bowden, 2002. A great account of a teen - like many Hodgkin's people, the medical community failed to diagnose Brian at first - the symptoms are not specific. After finally finding a doctor who knows his stuff, Brian undergoes treatment. Although a battle, he reaches remission with the help of family and friends. Available in paperback.

The Cancer War by Anthony Herrera, 2005 - Herrera is a well known Soap Opera star on As the World Turns as well as a playwright, producer and poet. Straight and to the point, he took responsibility for his own medical care. He found the best doctors and the best facilities. Personal and very readable. Should be read for an account of the trials of a strong, funny, and intelligent human being who decided to continue living and living large.

Racing to a Cure by Neil P. Ruzic, 2003 - Ruzic was diagnosed with mantle-cell lymphoma, a lymphoma with no established treatment at the time. Instead of following suggested courses of chemotherapy and radiation, he took control of his treatment by investigating cures being developed in the nation's cancer-research laboratories. Worth reading as an inspiring account.

Cancer Happens by Rebecca Gifford, Capital Books, 2003 - A good read on the trials and tribulations of a twenty three year old and how Non-hodgkin's lymphoma affects her life. A pleasant read and great insights, highly recommended. Available in hardback from Amazon.

Bald in the Land of Big Hair by Joni Rodgers, HarperCollins, 2001 - Joni is a successful author and actress and it shows in the quality, humor, and insight in this recent book. Highly recommended. Order the hardback and paperback from Amazon.

Only When I Sleep : My Family's Journey Through Cancer by Lisa Shaw-Brawley, Health Communications, 2000 - the story of a young woman diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. A candid account of her journey and that of her family. Available in paperback from Amazon.

Living in the Lightning - A Cancer Journal by Natalie Robins, Rutgers University Press 1999 - Having read several cancer journals I must say this is the most clear and insightful of the lot. Not just a collection of experiences, Ms. Robins gets to the true feelings of a lymphoma survivor. Highly recommended. Available at a discount from Amazon in Paperback

Just Carole by Marianne Hancock, Hochland & Hockland, Ltd. 1996 - A well written story about a British wife and mother who struggles with being diagnosed while living in Eastern Africa. Available from

Cancer, What's It Doing in My Life? A Personal Journal of the First Two Years of Chemotherapy in the Career of a Cancer Patient by Mary Alice Geier, 1985. This book follows the progress of a lymphoma survivor. Amazon has the book for a low price in Paperback

A Reason for Optimism: Treating Cancer with a Bone Marrow Transplant by Barbara Munson, 1996. The true story of a NHL patient who underwent an autologous bone marrow transplant. Amazon carries the softcover at a good price.

The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung: An Inspiring Story of Love, Hope, and Triumph by Mary Walker, 1995. The true story of a woman's fight against lymphoma, finding humor in the most unlikely situations. She writes in a breezy, upbeat style. Amazon has the paperback at a good price.

Cancer: A Different Trip. By Anene Ristow, a retired nurse. A detailed account of a six-year journey with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's a story of the "ups and downs" along the way, and there are glimpses of Glen's irrepressible sense of humor and how it made a difference in how he and his family coped.

It's an easy reading, moving story that will touch your heart, as you travel along with them. Read it and find ways to cope, or to help someone else. Cost: $10.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling.

Anene Ristow, 403 Gillette St. Apt. 301 La Crosse, WI 54603

[email protected]

Silver Linings: The Other Side of Cancer - Shirley Gullo and Elaine Glass, ed. 1997 Oncology Nursing Press (501 Holiday Drive, Pittsburg, PA 15220-2749 USA). A beautifully illustrated account of the personal side of the cancer experience. My story is in the book as well as passages by Wendy Harpham and other lymphoma survivors.

Hopp to Hope by Marian Hopp. 1996, Oliver Press. Marion is a survivor of recurrent NHL and has a good book about her struggle including many inspirational passages. For more information, you can write to [email protected]


Thank God It's Only Cancer by Steve Gould. 1995, Mondays. Shows the lighter side of cancer from a lymphoma survivor. Laughter certainly is the best medicine. Order the paperback from Amazon.

A Lighter Look at the "C" Word: More Cartoons and Comments on Cancer by Steve Gould, 1997. From the author of Thank God It's Only Cancer comes a new collection of cartoons and insight. Humor is potent medicine in treatment and healing. Available from Mondays PO Box 162605, Miami, FL 33116 USA

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