Dancing with Cancer (and how I learned a few new steps), by Diana Brueton
This is Diana Brueton’s story from diagnosis of colon cancer to her death four years later. It tells of her physical struggles with treatment or lack of it and of dealing with a variety of doctors with different opinions which many readers will empathise with. Her choice of private treatment in Frankfurt was very interesting, making a decision to take things back into her own hands and try innovative treatment which came highly recommended. She was only able to do this with financial and emotional support from family and friends, and the negative reaction of some NHS staff to this decision was disappointing.
I was heartened by the way in which she continually searched out new treatments and referrals to prolong her life, giving thanks for the smallest things and shortest of remissions on her way. Diana was surrounded and upheld by the love of a large circle of friends, family, therapists, fellow Buddhists and Osho disciples and her beloved partner Chet. This circle contributed so much to her well-being throughout her cancer journey.
But it is the depth of her spiritual beliefs and spiritual growth which dominate her story and which will intrigue, capture or alienate her readers. But a Diana without this spiritual dimension and openess would have no substance. She uses healers, therapies and spiritual practices from many traditions – Christian, Hindu, Native American and of course Buddhist, especially Tibetan Buddhist and Osho, an Indian mystic of whom she is a sannyasin (disciple).
I found this a fascinating and beautiful book, well written and intelligent, at times very moving, with some beautiful quotes from the poet Hafiz and others. In particular her journey towards death (and for her, re-birth in the Buddhist tradition) as a continuation of life but in a different form which included her body being honoured for three days in her own home surrounded by flowers, music and friends – this really stood out for me against our Western consignment of death and bodies to hospitals and mortuaries. Thank you Diana for sharing your cancer journey with us.
To view her artwork and tributes: www.dancingwithcancer.co.uk