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Having lived in the household referred to in “Shadow lands,” with C.S. “Jack” Lewis and my mother , Joy David man, I was privileged to witness the happiness Jack and my mother shared. My mother knew she was dying of cancer and was frequently in pain. Jack also knew she was dying and thus shared her pain. At the same time, he suffered from osteoporosis. But despite the agony of living under the Sword of Damocles, these two people were happy. They enjoyed every possible moment that life, under their straitened circumstances, permitted them. For patients who are told of impending death, I think this is important: Despite the pain, fear and approach of death, grasp the happiness that life still has to offer, and live every second that is left. Jack and my mother did just that and found such happiness as few of us ever see in this world.
Douglas Gresham Leighlinbridge, Ireland
June 1994

FASHION STATEMENT As a cancer patient, I thoroughly enjoyed “Hair Apparent” by Renata Polt. Like the author, I also cast off my wigs when my hair grew a half-inch long after chemotherapy. I also felt free and more like myself and received many compliments on my new “look.” Some people even seemed to think I cut my hair on purpose. I wish more people would shed their wigs. It would be encouraging to other cancer patients. It took a lot of courage for me, but I’m glad I did it. There is nothing shameful about having cancer.
Susan Zmud a Lansing, III.

THE PRICE OF LIFE I appreciated your article “New Chicken Pox Shot: Worth the Cost?” I believe the best solution to treating any medical problem, no matter how small, is prevention. Vaccines are one of the best known types of prevention. As your article states, however, there are those who oppose using the vaccine because of the expense. This position is barbaric. If anything can be done to prevent the needless death of even just a few people, the cost should be irrelevant. Even though chicken pox isn’t as terrible an epidemic as AIDS, the number of deaths shouldn’t relegate the priority of saving lives beneath the priority of saving money. If it cost half a million dollars to save one life, it would be worth it.
Justin Custer San Antonio, Tex.

As a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructor for the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, I disagree with “CPR Training: Wasted on the Young.” CPR isn’t just for old folks at home having heart attacks. A cardiac arrest can result from a variety of situations, including an obstructed airway from food or toys, sudden infant death syndrome, allergic reactions, stroke, shock, smoke inhalation, suffocation, poisoning and seizures. Please don’t discourage the young from seeking CPR training. Anyone could need or be called upon to administer CPR today.
Mary Holgen Honolulu

BREAST CANCER CONTROVERSY Regarding “Fighting Breast Cancer,” I survived three bouts of breast cancer (treated with mastectomy, then lumpectomy with radiation, and finally another mastectomy). I thought I was cured when I had the lumpectomy with radiation, but 10 years later, another tumor developed because I still had breast tissue. In my opinion, for Dr. Susan Love to say that lumpectomy with radiation is a more aggressive approach is untrue. It’s something a woman wants to hear because she wants to keep her breasts.
Joan Haines Burnsville, Minn.

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