Kenneth Blank, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
|Author: Margaret Phalor Barnhart
Published by: Journey Press, Troy, OH 1988
In 1987, at the age of 46, Margaret Phalor Barnhart was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a modified radical mastectomy followed by six months of chemotherapy. To help ease the emotional and psychological burden of the disease and its treatment, she penned poems and sketched artwork. Journey Unknown is a chronological compilation of these inspirational pieces.
The books' first poem relates the awful night spent at a friends birthday party that included three trips to the bathroom hoping the lump found in her breast earlier that day had miraculously disappeared. The penultimate poem dispels the erroneous notion that cancer is a death sentence, revealing the authors' acceptance of her disease and her hope for the future. In between these two poems is an uplifting journey of one women's' battle against the physical, emotional and psychological trauma of breast cancer. From shock, anger and denial through depression and finally acceptance, Ms. Barnhart's story is powerful and touching and sure to be an inspiration to other cancer patients.
Journey Unknown is 64 pages and can be read in its entirety in a few hours. However, the poems and artwork will certainly inspire countless hours of reflection and the book can be re-read over and over with new insights found each time.