Book Review: Rise – Surviving and Thriving after Trauma by Sian Williams

ISBN: 978 1 474 60268 6

Surviving and thriving after trauma

The hard back book copy of the cover photograph. Rise – surviving and thriving after trauma

Much of Sian William’s story is my story; Rise – surviving and thriving after trauma is about surviving the trauma of and treatment for breast cancer and rediscovering how to thrive afterwards. Surviving is the glass half full adage, whereas thriving is that glass over flowing.

In 2011, I too was diagnosed with DCIS, three tumours (as an A cup on a “fat day” I wondered how we missed them until they hurt). The treatment plan was a mastectomy, 25 doses of radiotherapy followed up with 5 years of Tamoxifen and 2 years of Megesterol. It was an emotional roller coaster. Every twinge caused a panic – was it back? Was it secondary’s?   Last week I was drug free for a year; discharged from medical care; permitted to rediscover my life; for now at least. A relief, to live again. It is important to remember, to note, that thriving is at a higher level than surviving.

Post cancer Sian and I have our lives back. They are different lives from what they were. We are on a new journey, and ought to enjoy the ride. But everything has changed, everything we were, everything we knew and understood has gone. Our lives, our loves, our priorities are different.

Like Sian and I you progress from the trauma of the diagnosis and treatment, through to surviving – a numbed existence, a going through the motions. Slowly we move to the “other side” wherever that is. We rediscover our voice, our identity, our compassion; we find new words and coping strategies and get back to actual personal growth. We relearn how to breathe, to be happy and to laugh again, to write and talk, to sleep and eat, even to move. We finally get to pull it all together and live again.

Sian brings in some excellent biographical stories of others’ trauma, including PTSD and their journey through to living again. She draws on her knowledge of psychology (she is working on her Masters degree) and her work experiences with journalists and film crews in war zones at the BBC. Reading Sian’s story I related, I understood and I finally felt understood.

If you want to know what it’s like to survive and thrive after breast cancer or what it might be like to thrive after a trauma, and what resilience is and how it might help you and can be bolstered to support your through then this book is definitely for you. If you have been there and done that and are wondering about getting your life grounded again, then this book is also for you.

If you are just plain curious what it’s like for those who’ve been there and come through that or if you need to understand for counselling or therapy training, then this book is also for you.

Thank you Sian for your honesty and frankness in writing this book, it is liberating to at last know that I was not and am not alone.

The paperback copy can be obtained here.

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