"Almost a Princess" eloquently captures the emotional journey of a cancer survivor. Author and survivor Jane Rubin courageously opens her heart as she takes us beyond the disease and helps us feel hope, strength, peace and healing.
Trisha Meili, Best Selling Author "I Am The Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility"
Jane Rubin has written a memoir that is wonderfully inspiring and full of insights about her cancer experience within the context of a very full and meaningful life. "Almost a Princess" invites the reader to experience the courage, humor, and coping strategies of a woman determined to drink from a glass half full.
David M. Gershenson, MD
Chairman, Foundation for Women's Cancer
J. Taylor Wharton, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Gynecologic Oncology
Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, Unit 1362
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
The powerful essays in "Almost a Princess" describe the hope and courage of a survivor of two deadly diseases. Cancer patients, their families and their friends will read Jane's stories and appreciate the importance of coping and thriving through these horrible diseases. As a clinician/investigator, I am humbled by the bravery that our patients display.
Brian M. Slomovitz, MD, MS, Director of Research, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center and Associate Director, Women's Cancer Center, Atlantic Health, NJ
In the introduction to her book, "Almost a Princess", Jane Rubin writes, "At this point, I am feeling a bit possessive about my life and need to tell my story in my own words." And yet, in telling her own story in a voice so intimately first person, her "possessiveness" results in a generous sharing of her life, her battles, her fear, her vulnerability, her perseverance, and her ever deepened humanity as she faces life's imperfections. Divorce, the loss of her younger brother, not one but two cancer diagnoses, and so much more could have left her broken, cynical, hopeless and afraid of loving in the face of inevitable loss. But she is anything but. This book is overflowing with her joy of simply being alive, her boundless love and her hard-earned wisdom that no moment, great or small, can be taken for granted.
With humor, with grace and with wisdom, she takes us along on her journey of "self discovery" and it becomes our own. Reading of her hope gives us hope. Learning of her healing helps us with our own and gives us insight into the inner world of the patient as person. Reflected in Jane's words, I saw my own experiences of love and loss clarified and illuminated. And for this, I am ever so grateful.
Jane Rubin is my hero — and I know she will be yours as well!
Rabbi Donald B. Rossoff
Temple B'nai Or
ForeWord Clarion Review
MEMOIR: MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT
Almost a Princess
: My Life as a Two-Time Cancer Survivor
Jane Loeb Rubin
Four Stars (out of Five)
People who have endured life-threatening illnesses often say the suffering they experienced taught them to cherish life more fully. Jane Loeb Rubin faced two separate diagnoses of cancer that led her to this life-enhancing truth.
The essays included in Almost a Princess: My Life as a Two-Time Cancer Survivor detail Rubin's family history, her past and present personal relationships, and the emotional nuances she experienced while ill. She admits to being in denial about the seriousness of her initial breast cancer. Blood tests showed that she carried a gene mutation that made her vulnerable to cancers of the reproductive system, so she underwent removal of both breasts, reconstructive surgery, and a full hysterectomy. Almost ten years later, during a second course of treatment for peritoneal cancer, she more fully confronted her own mortality.
Currently director of neuroscience for Atlantic Health System, Rubin relied on her professional background when facing her own health crisis. A week before the peritoneal surgery, she decided to enliven a routine work day by wearing the diamond earrings she usually kept secure in a home safe. Midway through the day, she discovered that one of the expensive studs was about to fall out. A wave of fear overtook her, just as it did when she was first confronted with a diagnosis of cancer. Rubin explains, "The thought of losing a precious stone evoked the exact same reaction."
Rubin also explores discrimination, which she first experienced when her fourth-grade teacher singled her out as a Jew and, as a result, she was the target of teasing from her classmates.Years later she would come to realize the broader implications of discrimination as it relates to health. The genetic mutation that causes reproductive system cancers afflicts a large
number of Jewish women, she writes, perhaps because "many centuries of forced clans or shtetls that Jews lived in would also define our heritage through the slow evolution of fragile cells carrying a heightened risk of cancer."
While still in the hospital after peritoneal surgery, Rubin often lost patience with well-meaning family members who crowded around her bed each evening to share the meal with her. Recognizing that her outbursts were evidence of the emotional ups and downs common in post-surgery patients, she says, "The emotional side of healing can never be underestimated."
These essays reveal a survivor who cherishes her connections with people and searches deeply for the meaning of suffering, while trying to maintain the normal patterns of her life. Rubin's practical sensibility allows her to write cogently about the medical complexities of her situation while also remaining attuned to the needs of those around her. On occasion, her convoluted sentences tend to confuse her intended meaning.
This book serves as an inspiring memoir that many will appreciate. The author conveys valuable information for readers who face serious illness, as well as those wanting to support family and friends through life-threatening health challenges.
Half of the book's royalties will be donated to the Mathilda Fund, supporting ovarian cancer research. The fund honors the author's paternal great grandmother who died from an unknown "woman's disease."
"I often quote a 4 line poem
titled "Thin Margin" by nurse Linda Battaglia "The only thing/ that
separates us/is that I have not/yet been diagnosed." So Jane's book has
something for everyone especially when it comes to family ties and
power of connection. Jane writes as she lives- fully, with gratitude and
with eyes wide open....
What started as a way for Jane to make sense of the chaos that her illness brought to
her life, then became a love letter to her parents, Gilda and deceased
Robert, to her siblings Anne and deceased Leo, to her children, Carrie,
Laura, Ben, Jordan and Max, and to her David and baby Lilly. And
then it became a book of advocacy — one that she envisioned might
make a difference in fighting cancer. What began as an expression of
vulnerability has become an expression of strength and resolve. "Almost
a Princess" is an ode to life and lives well lived.
Nancy Gross, Palliative Care Community Liaison and Humanities Scholar,
Atlantic Health Systems
Almost a Princess will certainly evoke your own memories and reflections. This memoir is so much more than a journal of illness and hope. It is comprised of all those universal stories, that every family has, yet she has captured through an engaging and sometimes hilarious depiction of life's little episodes.
Jane Loeb Rubin writes a series of interconnected essays. As a 2 time cancer survivor many of the essays describe strength and knowledge synthesized through the process of writing. Writing short, loosely connected essays about her family and incidents from childhood through adulthood, including "killing" her wig, she is able to bring the reader to laughter and tears as she writes about the ordinary and extraordinary in a way that is tender and real. This book is uplifting, enchanting and hopeful. It is a reminder to hit the pause button, reflect, rejoice and celebrate the life that you are living--and look beyond the moment for the next ordinary/extraordinary moment in a life.
Laurie Kalb Kasswiner, Amazon.com review - April, 2011