Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Don't buy its terror tactics
Diana Newcomb
Olive Branch Publishing $30
This past weekend I attended the launch of this startlingly titled book. I guess over my 40+ years in the book industry I must have attended close to a thousand book launches but somehow this one seemed different to all the others. It was special and today I am pondering what it was that made it that way, that made it stand out from many others.

I guess it was a combinations of factors. First off it was held in a private home whereas most are held in bookshops or libraries or halls. And it was no ordinary home either. It belonged to friends of the author and was located in a rural coastal area an hour north of Auckland. It was a magnificent home with gorgeous ocean and country views, built of stone and recycled timber from a century ago, wonderfully designed by noted Auckland architect Noel Lane.
Then there was the author and her wonderful speech delivered without a note and with great sincerity to the hundred or so guests, whom I might add were treated to the most beautiful finger food made by the talented Annie Guiness from Leigh's Sawmill Cafe, all washed down with most pleasant local wines.
I guess though the biggest factor in making the launch so special was is the book itself.

This book is two things - it is the open , frank and inspiring memoir of Diana Newcomb, a remarkable woman, a cancer survivor who was dignosed with bowel cancer when she was 36 years of age, a diagnosis that came very shortly after her husband left her with two school aged children.
The book is also an encouraging and highly readable, straightforward outline of the philosophy and techniques that the author has developed since that fateful day 19 years ago, balancing the latest advances in technology with ageless wisdom.
It is a book that defuses the fear that follows a diagnosis of cancer, it offers solutions for dealing with the emotional trauma of cancer.
It is a book that should be read by everone diagnosed with cancer, and by their families and friends wishing to support them.
It is a book full of valuable advice, it is a book full of encouragement and inspiration.

The author, (pic right signing copies after the event), has kindly supplied me with her speech notes, unused on the day (!), and they follow as I reckon they will serve to tell you a lot about the author and the book.


The death from cancer, of the most famous Charlie’s Angel, Farrah Fawcett Majors, was overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson in the same week; therefore her comment shortly before she died was probably missed by many. She said: ‘This cancer feels like I have a terrorist in my body.’
I thought her words very interesting and synchronistic, and a good introduction to my book entitled Cancer: Don’t buy its terror tactics.
Prior to being diagnosed with bowel cancer I thought I had already experienced some pretty tough life lessons, but they paled in significance when I was confronted with my own mortality and the potential impact this could have on my two young children.
Without a doubt it was the defining moment in my life - as although I was very relieved and grateful for a positive prognosis after my surgery – I was also incredibly fearful that the cancer would recur.
I had reached a crossroad, because I realised there was no way I could deal with this fear alone. And as so often happens when you put your hand up for help, it comes in the most unexpected ways. My lifeline came in the form of a counsellor called Dawn.
A very profound journey of self-discovery followed where I learned some amazing things. Information and skills that not only ultimately helped me to stay well, but also dramatically improved the quality of my life.

That was almost 20 years ago now, and since then I have studied, worked as a counsellor and travelled the world researching and observing the conclusions I draw in my book.
I would however like to stress: my book does not promise false hope or miracle cures. It is designed as a handbook to be used in conjunction, and in support of any medical procedure.
I work from the principle that with cancer it is not enough to merely attempt to heal the physical body; for the simple reason that there is a very high level of psychological and emotional stress associated with the disease. Furthermore I believe that if this is not addressed or adequately dealt with, it will be very hard for healing to be sustained over a prolonged period.
Obviously I am not alone in this theory, and neither is it particularly new – and here I draw your attention to an ancient Greek philosopher Euripides, who wrote: ‘Man’s griefs are often the cause of his diseases.’
However I found it strange that in the course of my research I couldn’t find any books that dealt comprehensively with the subject of the emotional component of cancer. Therefore it has been my challenge to produce a concise and informative book to fill this gap.

And, as the book project continued, I became aware that even though a self-help book may be clear and inspire some people to follow my healing program, others were inevitably going to have questions, and need help to implement this. With this in mind I have developed an interactive website - and anyone who googles Diana Newcomb Counselling will easily be able to access this.

To conclude: There is not one person in this room who has not been affected in some way by cancer. My greatest hope is that I have presented a simple blueprint for dealing with the terror and (often unconscious) self-destructive behaviour that can sabotage healing. Thank you.
The book is available at the Village Bookshop, Matakana who attended to sales at the launch,
and from the publisher Olive Branch Publishing.

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