Chemo Muscles: Lessons Learned from Being a Psycho-Oncologist and Cancer Patient
by Dr. Renee Exelbert
Dr. Renee Exelbert was working as a psychologist in a pediatric cancer center in Long Island, New York, before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. The news came as a devastating shock to her and her family. She found herself on a path she had explored many times before as a doctor, only this time, she was the patient.
Dr. Exelbert reflects upon her experience when confronting her own cancer diagnosis in Chemo Muscles. With deep candor, she shares her intimate struggles with identity and vulnerability; the interactions she had with healthcare professionals throughout her journey; and, what it was like to regain a sense of control over her own body by becoming a student of diet and exercise, ultimately becoming a bodybuilding figure competitor and certified personal trainer.
Pairing her own illuminating story with psychological theory, Dr. Exelbert offers researched coping skills to help both individuals and their families take on cancer, as well as guidance to aid healthcare professionals to treat their patients with greater understanding, dignity, and respect.