After years of dispensing diagnoses to his patients, a family doctor finds himself hit by the illness that takes your breath away, the one that can’t be cured. This book is his story and that of thirty-nine of his patients facing the same disease, people finding themselves at the margins: of existence, of society, of life. Both clinical and personal, Dr Morhaf Al Achkar’s collection of testimonies is engaging, revealing, inspiring. Because facing death is life-changing.
ROADS TO MEANING AND RESILIENCE WITH CANCER: Forty Stories of Coping, Finding Meaning, and Building Resilience While Living with Incurable Lung Cancer by Morhaf Al Achkar
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The book tells the stories of 39 patients with incurable lung cancer. It aims to help patients, families, and healthcare providers understand the experience of living with cancer. It also invites reflections on the essential questions of meaning, resilience, and coping with adversity in life. The author is a family doctor, teacher, and researcher who is also a stage 4 lung cancer patient himself. He is patient #40.
Patients with cancer often have an urgency to find meaning in life. They struggle with the illness, its emotional impact, and the consequences of treatments. However, with time, reflection, and support from others, they develop resilience. Cancer patients often are not passive. Instead, they choose different strategies to maintain and restore their health. They also leverage a variety of approaches to cope better with their struggle.
The book is for cancer patients who are tarrying at the limits of time. It is also for those who live around patients with cancer: caregivers, families and friends, and health care providers. People who struggle with other illnesses will also find aspects of their story reflected here. Also, the ones who have experienced a crisis of identity will discover elements of their story here as well. By sharing the experiences of the forty authentic individuals, the book opens the space for them to teach others. This book is about the essence of the human experience at its limits. It is for every reader.