Over the more than two decades I’ve known Deborah Cornwall through the American Cancer Society, her insights, perspective, facilitation skills, and consultative expertise have been enormously valuable. Now she uses her talents to help those who battle for their lives by coaching their caregivers. Her book makes a very important contribution. It is a gift to anyone facing cancer, or helping a loved one on the journey.
Don Gudaitis, Chief Executive Officer
American Cancer Society, New England Division
As a practicing radiation oncologist and cancer center director, I see many examples daily of cancer patients, caregivers, and family needing information and support as they seek optimal treatment. Cornwall provides a tested road map of options and considerations to help guide those on a cancer journey. Her cogent advice covers a host of logistical, practical, medical, psychosocial, spiritual, and financial domains. These suggestions should help empower patients and caregivers to actively participate in information seeking and decision making, thereby enhancing their role on their own multidisciplinary team. My patients and families would find it invaluable.
Andrew L. Salner, MD FACR
Director, Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT
Associate Clinical Professor, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
What a great book! I couldn't put it down. It's chock full of heartfelt stories reflecting caregiver experiences and learnings from which both cancer caregivers and their patients/loved ones may, and I predict WILL, benefit. The author paints a coherent picture re the often long and typically arduous journey required of people with cancer. Even as I am a recurrent brain tumor patient myself, past caregiver to my prostate cancer husband, as well as for my own breast and colon cancer patient Mom, I am also an RN, health care executive, hospital administrator, and author. My 5-star rating for this new book is weighted heavily with my own personal and professional credibility. You'd think, with my background, I would know enough, already?!? Some things, YES. But, fellow caregivers, we know we need more help. And, how I truly wish I had read this book, earlier.
Why? Like an arm around a shivering (with fear) loved one's shoulder, the book's nuanced writing simplifies handling even the most complex of challenges confronted by Cancer Caregivers, including relevant websites and other resources. After the reader becomes involved a great number of caregiver stories from the earliest emotional reactions to the very words "you have cancer," to managing communications with partners, to managing a loved one's pain and coping with one's own helplessness, to how the Social Worker role is so integral to the caregiver mix, to exercising the greatest care to research alternative treatments before beginning them, and even to managing life after death, we know this author is the "real deal."
This book is so current, relevant and well done, I believe it will attract the attention of many. Read it and KEEP it. Close by!! I know I will!
Ellen Menard, Author of The Not So Patient Advocate:
How to Get the Health Care You Need Without Fear or Frustration
Caregiving is now acknowledged as an essential support for people with cancer. Deborah Cornwall takes you through all the steps involved, from diagnosis and treatment to normalcy or life’s end, with keen insights and a loving heart. This book is a treasure and will become the caregiver’s bible.
Barbara Davis, Boston AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center Advisory Board
Once I started reading, I could not put down this powerful book. The stories of the patients and their families are inspiring, encouraging, informative, and comforting, all at once. This work has given me new insights about how I should look at our patients, their families, and their caregivers. Cornwall completely hits the ball out of the park; this book will have immeasurable impact on its readers.
Paula Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Freeman Health System (Joplin, MO )
Things I Wish I’d Known is like a luncheon with a group of dear old friends: Caregivers share their personal stories, successes, challenges, joys, and worries. Warm, intimate, and reassuring, the book is unique, educational, and engaging in how it explores the cancer caregiver‘s journey.
Connie R. Curran, Ed.D., RN, FAAN
President of Curran Associates; Founding Executive Director of C-Change;
National Healthcare Leader, Speaker, Board Member, and Consultant
In Things I Wish I’d Known, Cornwall does a masterful job presenting the landscape of the caregiving experience at every stage of the cancer journey in the words of those who have lived it. In the context of relevant, hands-on information and resources that help guide the way, the poignant personal narratives become a true gift and radiate the truth that there really is hope and a path through it all.
Bryan Harter, LICSW, MBA
Senior Director, Hope Lodge Program,
New England Division, American Cancer Society
Cornwall’s book addresses everything a caregiver would want to know about. It represents a wonderful balance of compelling first-hand stories and the hard information that new caregivers need to be thinking about early in their journeys. This book provides a tremendous service for anyone facing the challenge of cancer caregiving.
Mary Totten, National Healthcare Governance Consultant; President, Best On Board; Hospital Board Member and Cancer Caregiver (Samantha’s mom)
Finally a book that deals with all aspects of caregiving for cancer patients. From the nuts and bolts of patient care and communication with the medical team to the larger emotional issues of keeping one’s spirits up, sustaining hope, and grieving when necessary, Deborah Cornwall’s book is always to the point, sensitive, and informative. Things I Wish I’d Known should be among the must-reads of every caregiver.
Karla Wheeler, Founder and President of Quality of Life Publishing Co.
publishers of the hospice quarterly, Quality of Life Matters®
As a three-time cancer survivor, I can tell you that the information and wisdom in Things I Wish I'd Known is real and true. Deborah Cornwall has gathered her insight, research, and affecting personal stories to provide a book which itself serves as a comforting companion. It lightens the load of caregivers so they can minister more attentively and tenderly to those who must travel the dark and unknown road of a cancer diagnosis.
Joyce Kulhawik, Emmy Award Winning Arts and Entertainment Critic /
JoycesChoices.com; President of the Boston Theater Critics Association
I love this book! It is so practical and real that I know many will be tremendously helped by it.
Cornwall addressed every conceivable subject, no matter how sensitive. The two words I would
use to describe it are Honest and Caring.
Stephen Swanson, Immediate Past National Board Chair, American Cancer Society,
and President of Swanson Consulting LLC
From the first time you hear the “C” word, through the myriad of emotional and physical changes that arise after the cancer crisis, Deborah Cornwall has shared caregivers' experiences with compassion and honesty. This book helps support the caregiver in ways that are often overlooked. It is an honest and must-read book for all caregivers, irrespective of age, race, or economic status.
Markos W. Samos, MA, LPC; Board of Directors, Connecticut Cancer Partnership; Advisory Board, Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut ; Board of Directors, American Cancer Society New England Division
I wish I’d had this book while we were fighting my wife's appendiceal cancer. The information that Cornwall shares is helpful for both caregivers and their patients in anticipating the lay of the land for fighting cancer and taking charge of the experience. There’s no better way to learn about dealing with cancer as a caregiver than hearing other people’s stories. She offers not just a collection of stories, but a compelling book that weaves the stories together into a value-added resource. It's a must early read at the outset of a cancer experience. The stories she shares are gripping, but the real value of her work lies in the interaction between the stories and her narrative. They're the ying and the yang of cancer care.
Rid Bullerjahn, retired investment banker; caregiver (Debbie’s husband)
Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out is a valuable guidebook written for the lay person caregiver who must confront the complexity of the American health care system as an advocate for a cancer patient who is, almost always, a loved one. Deborah Cornwall provides a thoughtful and practical guide through the full range of issues likely to be raised and the problems to be confronted in these difficult and complicated circumstances. Through interviews with a wide variety of individuals who have already navigated these unchartered waters, she offers a step by step map to ease the trip for those just beginning the journey. Each chapter addresses a particular stage in the process with the insights of experienced interviewees and directions to a plethora of useful resources. I think this wonderful handbook will alleviate substantially the stress experienced by cancer patient caregivers as they approach their tasks. It's a little jewel!
Patricia A. Cahill, Esq., Chair of the Board of Hospice and Palliative Care of Cape Cod
Things I wish I'd Known would have quickly and efficiently given me the information I needed to know 12 years ago when we learned that my husband had pancreatic cancer. It took me two years to figure it out myself. This book would have been an anchor and a compass when our world spun out of control. Just reading the table of contents would have been reassuring, The book is well organized and Deborah Cornwall has hit just the right balance between hard information and personal experiences. The information is clear and well organized, and the quotes personalize the experience upon which her readers are embarking.
When you learn that someone you know has heard, "You have cancer," make sure their family and friends hear about Things I Wish I'd Known. This book is an outstanding contribution to making this "cancer walk" easier for patients and their families.
Mike S’s Wife
Everybody alive today needs to read this book, because three out of four of us will either get cancer or become a caregiver. It is a must read filled with important insights, even for the most knowledgeable of us.
I have read through your book and am grateful for it's timely release. My family has had a tough year and a half dealing with a loved one who had cancer. All is well, but the residual emotions of such a traumatic experience are still very raw. I appreciated reading how other caregivers felt during and after this life changing experience.
This is one of the most comprehensive works that a caregiver, patient, or other supporter could hope to find when faced with those words that none of us ever wants to hear. Things I wish I'd Known should be on the short list of key information resources for anyone who hears the words, “you have cancer.”
Michael S's Father
The stories in this book are poignant and timely for those who are caretakers of a loved one with cancer. . .and for those of us who have not yet been faced with this role. Every reader will learn something about compassion, listening, and presence from the vignettes and examples that Deborah Cornwall skillfully examines. I will keep this book as a reference that I can return to again and again.
Deborah Cornwall has created a tremendous resource for cancer patients, caregivers, and anyone involved with a fight against cancer, which includes ultimately anyone you might meet. The mix of fact, resources, and real-world advice ― along with the associated quotes ― is a brilliant way to discuss and address the cancer journey. It brought me to tears and had me saying "great point" or "great resource" more often than you might expect.
This is a wonderful resource for anyone living the caregiver's role. Two years ago I spoke with Deborah when my husband was receiving radiation treatment for his rare form of cancer. I instantly felt that the book she was creating would be of huge value for caregivers facing major illness. As a young parent and caregiver for my husband, during our ordeal I often felt that my role was inconsequential to what he was battling. Yet Things I Wish I'd Known acknowledges all the uncertainty, worry and stress that caregivers face and guides them through the steps of the journey with words and encouragement from others who have lived the same experiences. This book gives the caregiver's role a voice, and sometimes that is all that is needed to get through the day when you are facing serious illness.
This is a caregiver's bible. Keep it by your bedside. If you are giving care to someone with cancer, this book will become your bible. I wish I had it twenty-something years ago when my wife was going through her operations and chemo. Caregivers can become as emotionally spent as cancer patients become physically spent. Those were lonely days and reading a caring and understanding book like this would have been invaluable, in both supportive and suggestive roles. Deborah Cornwall shows you how to navigate these currents in a clear and empathetic way. You don't have to feel alone any more.
This book by Deborah Cornwall is very timely and I wish I had it four years ago when my wife was first diagonosed with stage 4 colon cancer. The process of helping a loved one through some extremely difficult times can simply overwhelm a caregiver. It is an often long road to understanding the situation, processing the options for treatment, and making good decisions in the midst of personal turmoil and potential grief. Caregivers need access to many areas of assistance from friends, family, and professionals. This book provides a great overview of the numerous issues that can confront people and provides a variety of ways one can keep one's sanity, provide care, and be there for their loved one. Hearing how others struggle and adapt can provides insight and comfort.
I met with Deborah and shared my wife's and my story. She is an excellent listener and presented some of our challenges well in the book . I found it moving to read other stories; we did not talk to very many people struggling with the same issues. To have this type of book gives one a much more rounded sense of what they are likely in for, and how to get through. I highly recommend this book.
This book offers real world advice that shatters misconceptions. If you've ever been a caregiver for a loved one who is ill, whether it is cancer, parkinsons or dementia, this book brings new understanding to the role of caregiver. Often hidden in the background, the caregiver is really the lifeline to the real world. Cornwall has so much good advice based on her interviews and her own illness, this is a must read. There's no fluff in this book. Just real people, facts and strategies to help one cope and come out the other side with a full appreciation of how much life has given us and how much we can affect outcomes.
This book is wonderfully helpful and encouraging. Having just lost my husband to lung cancer, I read this book with real interest and admiration. The author knows what she's writing about and provides tons of helpful information to families facing cancer diagnoses. It is written clearly, non-judgmentally, and impartially. Good advice is offered but alternatives are noted and fairly evaluated. It should be a great help to families and friends of people who have cancer.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to verbalize some things that I probably had never admitted, much less said, before. I think talking with you was a healing moment. Thank you too for writing a tool that hopefully many, many, people will be able to gain insight from. The journey is both different and similar for all, and all of us will have to take the journey sometime during our life.
I love the way this book tackles specific topics in a concise and meaningful fashion, intertwined with our personal stories. It should surely help anyone attempting to navigate the treacherous waters of caregiving. Cornwall shares the anger and the pain, the humor and the anxiety in a way that conveys a true picture of what the journey is like.
As an inside look into the cancer caregiver's role, Things I Wish I'd Known by Deborah Cornwall says it all. This unique collection of many voices and many lives affected by cancer brings to the forefront a true look into the role of the cancer caregiver. The many insights presented in this book illustrate the complexity of taking on a new role and relationship. Throughout this well organized compendium of personal experiences, parents, children, friends and many others describe giving up the normal/comfortable place in a relationship to become the "caregiver," while longing for that return to "normal." This book is at once thought-provoking and sad, yet it is filled with very helpful ideas that others may choose to incorporate should they become cancer caregivers.
I wish I had had this book before I needed to face Ned’s battle and decline. It would have been a terrific resource.
I've had a number of family members and friends battle cancer. I've also been involved in volunteer work to fight this disease. And I'm a cancer survivor myself. I found Debbie's book both moving and informative. I especially like the juxtaposition of hard, practical information with moving, first-person accounts of what caregivers went through. Caregivers will find this book a valuable companion as they travel the cancer road with their loved one. I think the book will be extremely helpful.
This book is amazingly thorough but is an easy read. Deborah Cornwall incorporated personal experiences with informative helpful data that allow caregivers to have a fantastic reference and resource.
Thank you for writing this. It's interesting, helpful, informative, sensitive and such an important contribution to the field.
Physicians who treat serious illnesses know they alone cannot provide all that a person needs to relieve the stresses, pain, and fears that are part of lengthy illness. A family member or friend eager to help care for someone is as valuable as the medical team and treatment. There is no instruction manual for the unknown and often frightening parts of the complex job that a caregiver assumes, and oncologists, in particular, wish that new caregivers had access to people who already discovered ways to help them through. Deborah Cornwall has provided the voices of people of different ages and backgrounds who learned to work through the unknowns and the stress points of lengthy illness and who want to help others navigate through them. Though illnesses vary, as do their prognoses, there are common stresses for all patients, and they and the people who care for them should feel less alone and more knowledgeable after hearing from the many people speaking in this useful new book.
I. Cunningham, MD, Hematologist/Oncologist
I'm a librarian in a public library, and I just finished cataloging your new book. What a wonderful book you have given us. My Dad had esophogeal cancer, and I cared for him in my home during his ordeal. I eventually brought hospice in, and he died at home. I am grateful that I was able to do this for him. I am a single woman, and some family members essentially abandoned us, not wanting to be there for him. I also had two very close friends who completely wrote me off when Dad was terminal. I continue to be baffled at these behaviors. As a result of my experience, I think your book is very necessary, and it will help a lot of people. I just wanted to applaud you for writing it. Thanks so much!