About Patient-Centered Guides
Patient-Centered Guides are a mix of medical, practical and emotional
information, grounded in Western medicine, told by people who have been there.
As with our other publishing programs, this series grew out of
recognizing a need for a particular kind of information. The writers
and editors in this series have encountered illnesses that have
threatened or changed their lives.
When your life is turned upside down, your need for information is
great. You have to make critical medical decisions, often with what
seems little to go on. Plus you have to break the news to family, quiet
your own fears, cope with side effects, figure out how you're going to
pay for things, and sometimes still get to work and get dinner on the table.
For help during this time--if you're like us--you turn to experts, other
people in your lives, and books. When we were looking, we couldn't find
exactly the kinds of books we wanted. Overview books give you a
perspective. But how can a single book on cancer begin to address the
needs of patients with pancreatic and skin cancers, with primary
cancers and metastatic cancers, or pediatric and adult cancers?
Books written by doctors give you some information. They describe a
body part or system and particular surgeries or drugs in detail.
But what about the rest of you? Memoirs written by a single patient are
informative. They describe how one person responded to an illness, its
impact on her emotions and family, her own healing. But it's just
one story and might not be very representative of the stories of others.
Because we couldn't find what we were looking for, we've written
books that contain the information that we would want to know in a
particular situation. We mix:
- Medical background for treatment decisions. There's no way a
book can tell you the best treatment for you. However, we can
give you information that can help you to intelligently
work with your doctor to come to a treatment decision. We
start from the viewpoint that Western medicine has much to
offer, particularly in treatment of acute conditions. Where
applicable, we discuss treatments that complement Western medicine,
such as psychologic pain relief, acupuncture, or nutrition.
When there are treatment controversies we present differing
points of view.
- Practical information. Once you've decided what to do about your
illness, you still have to deal with treatments and changes to
your life. We cover the kind of day-to-day practicalities that
you find out from good nurses, knowledgable support groups, or
hard-won experience. Things like how to get relief from nausea and
get good nutrition during chemotherapy. Or how to deal with insurance
claims or employment discrimination.
- Emotional support. It's normal to have emotional reactions to
a condition or illness that threatens your life or changes how
you live. It's normal that the whole family is affected. We cover
issues like the shock of diagnosis, living with uncertainty, and
communicating with loved ones. Emotional issues are not only a
quality of life issue. Many studies have shown that emotional
support--whether participation in an expressive support group,
belonging to a church or tight-knit community, having a close
marriage or family--extends patients' lives.
Throughout the books are woven stories of patients who've been in
the particular position you're in now. That way, you get more than
one person's point of view. Although each person who speaks is
different, there emerge threads of commonly shared experiences.
Each book is a little different in outlook, depending on whether
the disease is chronic or acute, usually curable or incurable,
life-threatening or life-changing, and so on. But for each topic,
we have tried to write the book that we would want to read as a
patient coming to the experience: the whole story.
It is our hope that in each of these books you will find both the
information you're looking for and support for your journey.