cover image Bald Is Better with Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer

Bald Is Better with Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer

Andrea Hutton. HarperWave, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-237565-0

Breast cancer survivor Hutton offers a wealth of insider knowledge on exactly what to expect of the “emotional and physical roller coaster” involved in battling the disease. Hutton offers both serious and lighthearted suggestions for getting through early testing, advising readers to “never go to a mammogram alone” and rating the flavors of pre-PET/CT scan barium milk (“mocha is the best”). She provides tips for choosing the appropriate surgery and information on breast prostheses, noting wryly that the proprietors of stores selling these tend to be well-endowed women, evidence of a possible “conspiracy.” A chapter on chemotherapy covers preliminaries, aftercare, and side effects before delving into the big conundrum: “how and when to shave your head.” Hutton explains basic care for synthetic and real-hair wigs and compassionately addresses potential feelings of a loss of femininity. She illuminates some less-discussed treatment side effects like “steroid rage,” fingernail breakage, loss of eyelashes, and radiation fatigue. On the interpersonal level, Hutton discusses best practices for telling your family your diagnosis and categorizes different reactions loved ones tend to have, while giving permission to “lash out appropriately.” Finally, Hutton reflects on the ongoing stress of continued screening, noting, “Once you’ve crossed the street, you’re stuck on this side forever.” While there is no universal cancer experience, Hutton covers the most likely scenarios in detailed fashion with grace, empathy, and humor. (July)