Victoria Hallerman, Health Activist and Author
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How We Survived Prostate Cancer has a life of its own. What do I mean by this? While it was only in galleys I received, through my publisher, an email from a woman in Pennsylvania who’d seen a reviewer’s copy:

To Whom It May Concern:
As the wife of a prostate cancer patient, I am convinced that this book should be in every urologist's office in the country. I started reading and could not put it down...


A week after the book was released, another email came in via my own website:

...I was drawn to your book, sitting on the book store shelf, because I have three close friends whose husbands have all had prostate cancer. I also love well-written memoirs and when I saw you were a poet...I was hooked!

A friend’s brother, a young man in his mid-thirties, lives in the Pacific Northwest; I don’t know him well, although we’ve spent a few evenings together when he’s been on this coast. At any rate, Karen had sent each member of her family, including Jake, a copy of How We Survived..., and I thought, “Well thatís nice.” At best, I assumed that he would pass the book on to older relatives or neighbors. I was surprised to receive the following email:

...I read most of it in the last few evenings — very personal and vulnerable stuff! Great job!

... I laughed and I cried. I honestly did not know a lot of that was even going on these past years. What a scary ride.

You both are troopers of the toughest sort. Thanks for sharing — you are doing a major service to others who face this, of course. I hope I don't, but odds are I will, and I will be that much better prepared thanks to you.

How We Survived Prostate Cancer is a cautionary tale; Dean and I did it all wrong, but we’re hoping to pass our hard-earned knowledge on to others.

In the wake of recent media controversy concerning PSA screening (see below) with so many men and women confused, frightened or angry, it is important to get the word out about how to approach treatment in a sane way.

The New York Times, March 19, 2009:
Studies Show Prostate Test Saves Few Lives

 

   


Reviews and Articles...

Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer Bulletin
Spring 2011

Victoria Hallerman on Women
and Prostate Cancer, page 18.

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WebMD Magazine review by Eve Pearlman
"When Victoria Hallerman's husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer six years ago, the couple didn't seek a second opinion, and they didn't research treatment alternatives.  Instead, writes Hallerman regretfully in How We Survived Prostate Cancer:  What We Did and What We Should Have Done, "we were passive in response to a distant and well-connected doctor who seemed to be telling us that everything would be just fine after a certain amount of unpleasantness."  In short, she says, they "just went along."  But doing so left them nowhere close to fine. 

Side effects billed as minor were major.  The treatment was perhaps not the most appropriate.  And the impact on the couple's relationship was greater than they ever imagined. 

Hallerman, a poet and writing teacher in New York, describes the discomforts that came with the hormone treatments designed to shrink her husband's prostate (hot flashes, nausea, weight gain, loss of libido) and with the radioactive "seeds" implanted to further shrink the tumor (extremely painful urination).  Sidebars written by Hallerman's husband, Dean, lend his frank voice to the narrative and help paint a vivid portrait of the toll the disease took on both their lives.

Born of wishing she'd asked more questions and delved more deeply into what to expect, Hallerman's book is an essential primer for others to chart a better course through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
—September, 2008

From Phillippe E. Spiess, MD, MS, FRCS(C), from a book review in Cancer Control, Journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center:
"This book provides an insightful view of the emotions
and psychosocial issues facing a patient and his family when newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. The experience of the author and her husband serves as an example on how we as health care professionals can optimize the care and minimize the distress of cancer for our patients." Book Review >

From Amy Zavatto, co-author of Miscarriage, Medicine & Miracles:
"When any of us walk out of a doctor's office with bad news, we are given a pile of facts but not much else. We are mostly left in the woods as to how we are to grapple with, and survive through, a core-shaking diagnosis like Vicki's husband's. Books like hers are too few and far between...."

A starred review from Publisher’s Weekly
"More than just a personal memoir, this tour of duty from the wife of a prostate cancer survivor is packed with critical information...Hallerman is blunt and unflinching regarding their mortal and marital crises, and explicit in her advice to avoid despair, self-blame and isolation. Thorough, clearly written glossary and appendices cover treatments, side effects, resources for information and support, current research and a checklist of "must do's." Moving and highly useful...." Read this entire review >
—February 23, 2009

Featured new release at 250 Barnes & Nobles

How We Survived Prostate Cancer was a featured new-release title at 250 Barnes & Nobles stores nationwide.
—February 9, 2009

Featured article in the Staten Island Advance Health Section
"In her new book, a Staten Island author writes about how her husband's diagnosis affected them as as a couple."
Andrea Boyarsky, February 9, 2009

 


Letters From Readers...

Dear Victoria,

I just finished reading your new book How We Survived Prostate Cancer. Thank you for a wonderful read, but also, a terrific resource! I am a retired hospice
nurse, and also a poet and writer, and once I started, I couldn't put it down.

I was drawn to your book, sitting on the book store shelf, because I have three close friends whose husbands have all had prostate cancer. I also love well-written memoirs and when I saw you were also a poet...I was hooked!

I've already made my friends aware of your book and think, even though their husbands are all a year or more post treatment, (and doing well) I know they will find your work most helpful!

Thank you (and Dean) for having the courage to write this book. It will make a difference in many lives.

Sharon Dardis
St. Paul, Minnesota

To Whom It May Concern:

As the wife of a prostate cancer patient, I am convinced that this book should be in every urologist's office in the country. I started reading and could not put it down. Hallerman discusses every nuance of the situation the women in these men's lives deal with. The doctors, on the other hand, usually dismiss the whole hormone after effect by saying, "just don't even expect him to think about sex for at least two years." No advice, no recommended support group, no information about the psychological change this can wreak in a relationship, nothing about the fact that it is more than sexual activity that falls by the wayside...

...Hallerman has provided that net. I encourage you to make sure that this book gets circulated in cancer centers and doctor's offices.

Sincerely,
Beverly Green, Elkins Park PA