Shortly after her thirty-seventh birthday, Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Laura Landro was told that she had chronic myelogenous leukemia. Survivor is the remarkable account of her battle against this devastating, potentially fatal cancer -- and her successful struggle to take control of her own case.
At first almost paralyzed with fear when diagnosed with this form of blood cancer, Laura Landro resolved to use her journalistic training to seek out the treatment that would give her the best shot at surviving. Noting that most Americans spend more time researching what kind of car to buy than they do their health care, she shows how and why all patients can -- and must -- arm themselves with the facts, learn to understand medical jargon, get doctors to answer all their questions in layman's terms, weigh conflicting medical opinions, and make the difficult choice among the options open to them.
Survivor is a moving, deeply personal account of a life-and-death experience. In it, Laura Landro tells of a fight to live that brought her to the brink of death -- and to a despair that at times made her wonder if the struggle was worth it. Her inspiring story offers all readers hope and the know-how to navigate the terrifying and bewildering world of medicine, even when they are very ill and at their most vulnerable.
Laura Landro has written a book that is must reading for everyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, and for everyone who has a cancer patient in the family. It will rank beside such classics as Norman Cousins's Anatomy Of an Illnes As Perceived by the Patient, Cornelius Ryan's A Private Battle, and John Gunther's Death Be Not Proud, at once a work of literature and a manifesto for every cancer patient.
Although the subtitle is given in second person, only the opening and closing sections of this volume speak directly to the reader. The rest is a first-person account of the author's battle with leukemia more than six years ago. Landro, entertainment editor for the Wall Street Journal, describes in graphic terms the hell she went through during treatment. Intensive chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant made her lose all her hair, enter menopause at age 37 and rendered her unable to stomach even a lemon drop. But Landro's was a well-padded hell: her mother is an expert nurse, both brothers had compatible bone marrow (a rarity), the Journal's extensive resources were at her fingertips and she had the means to fly around the country to investigate treatment options and rent a deluxe apartment in Seattle for her year of treatment there. Readers will, as she does, appreciate the value of a supportive family, plenty of income and connections to medical communities. For those without these advantages, however, Landro offers plenty of encouragement and worthwhile information. Her story also emphasizes the importance of what money and position can't buy: an indomitable will to survive.