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The importance of breathing freely

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Mayo Clinic, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Statistics show that lung cancer doesn't discriminate between the genders, and of course those that smoke or have smoked are at greater risk. Most surprising is that lung cancer claims more lives than colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers do- combined. Two of our newer library items on the topic are highlighted below.

"When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi.

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. "When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a naïve medical student "possessed," as he wrote, "by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life" into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

"Changing Normal: How I Helped My Husband Beat Cancer," by Marilu Henner.

Marilu Henner was moving on with her life after a divorce when her old college classmate Michael Brown, whom she had not seen in over 20 years, called her out of nowhere. Within days of their first meeting in 2003, they were planning a life together, and soon they were inseparable, as Michael became ever more integrated into Marilu's family. But after only months they were thrown the ultimate curveball: Michael was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and then lung cancer.

Marilu refused to lose the love of her life so easily. With the knowledge she had gained on her own health journey, chronicled in several of her bestselling books, Marilu set about finding a path for Michael that would use the best of Eastern and Western medicine to beat his cancers and return Michael to optimal health. Michael eschewed most traditional treatments and with Marilu's help — aided by knowledgeable and sympathetic doctors — he forged his own path.

Library Happenings

Preschool Storytime: Preschoolers and their caregivers are invited to join us for Storytime on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m., but there will be no storytime on Saturday, Nov. 11 due to the fact that the library will be closed for Veteran's Day. A different theme is explored each week. Daycares and other large groups are asked to call ahead.

Baby Bounce is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. in the main meeting room of the Detroit Lakes Public Library. Songs, stories, flannel board, and action poems for infants through preschoolers and their caregivers. Program runs about a half hour followed by playtime and chatting with other caregivers.

Library hours

The Detroit Lakes Public Library's regular hours are as follows: Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and all national holidays.

For more information on local library services and programs, please call 218-847-2168 or visit your Library at 1000 Washington Ave.

Detroit Lakes Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL), a consolidated public library system comprised of 13 branch libraries and nine LINK sites serving the residents of seven counties in northwest Minnesota. More information is available at www.larl.org, and the library's app, LARL Mobile, is available in the iTunes and Google Play stores for free download.

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