excerpted from No One Wrote a Manual by Fran Padgett

Across the polished wood table my surgeon's face was calm and concerned. His hands were on the open file of pathology reports. His eyes looked directly into mine. I found the sight of his skilled and gentle hands reassuring as I uttered the words that would change my body forever.

He had patiently heard my questions and quietly answered them, as I knew he had answered many, many breast cancer patients. But for those few minutes, it was as though I were the only patient in the world to have ever said, "I have decided on the mastectomy option." ................

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Breast Cancer Recovery: No One Wrote a Manual, published by Bayou Publishing, was the winner of six literary awards in 2007: the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award in Health, the Independent Publishers Press Silver Award in “Most Life Changing” Category, the National Indie Excellence Award in the Art Category, Book of the Year Award Finalist in both Art and Health Categories, and “Most Memorable” Award in Women’s Issues by ForeWord Magazine