Professor sought to be boring
Publishing a book called “The Boring Patient” was Syracuse University professor R. David Lankes’ way of summing up his experience with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the white blood cells.
He was diagnosed in 2010 after doctors first thought he had bronchitis, then trans ischemic attacks and then a seizure disorder. Lankes, a professor in SU’s School of Information Studies, underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and writes candidly about the ordeal in 17 chapters. Doctors and nurses go unnamed as Lankes tells it like it was.
He chronicles his thoughts and feelings (often wryly) as well as his treatment details. Lankes said he decided not to wallow in negative thoughts and to instead adopt a cheery outlook, even on days when he had to fake it. That helped. He also aimed to be the boring patient. He did not want to be interesting because that meant complications that would draw more attention and demand more treatment. He just wanted to quickly and quietly go through his treatment and have it be successful.
So far, the cancer has not recurred.
Hear an interview with Lankes about his book
She chronicled her year with breast cancer
Shelly Straub of Cicero shares the story, and photos, of her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in a book she calls, “A Tale of Two Boobies: One Year with Cancer.”
Her diagnosis came in October 2013, followed by a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “It was one year of hell,” she said. “It was difficult. It was very hard to get through. Everything in my life changed.”
Because the experience seemed so surreal, Straub wanted to write a book in order to remember her story. She included graphic photos – and a parental advisory on the book cover – in order to be instructional. Also included are her monthly calendars, which show the activities of everyday life (Thanksgiving, the start of winter) mixed with medical appointments (biopsy results, surgery for port installation.)
Hear an interview with Straub about her book