The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer (Paperback)

The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer By MSW Jacobs, Hollye, RN, MS, Elizabeth Messina Cover Image

The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer (Paperback)


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As a healthy, happy thirty-nine-year-old mother with no family history of breast cancer, being diagnosed with the disease rocked Hollye Jacobs’s world. Having worked as a nurse, social worker, and child development specialist for fifteen years, she suddenly found herself in the position of moving into the hospital bed. She was trained as a clinician to heal. In her role as patient, the healing process became personal.

Exquisitely illustrated with full-color photographs by Hollye’s close friend, award-winning photographer Elizabeth Messina, The Silver Lining is both Hollye’s memoir and a practical, supportive resource for anyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer.

In the first section of each chapter, she describes with humor and wisdom her personal experience and gives details about her diagnosis, treatment, side effects, and recovery.

The second section of each chapter is told from Hollye’s point of view as a medical expert. In addition to providing a glossary of important terms and resources, she addresses the physical and emotional aspects of treatment, highlights what patients can expect, and provides action steps, including:

What to do when facing a diagnosis
How to find the best and most supportive medical team
What questions to ask
What to expect at medical tests
How to talk with and support children
How to relieve or avoid side effects
How to be a supportive friend or family member
How to find Silver Linings

Looking for and finding Silver Linings buoyed Hollye from the time of her diagnosis throughout her double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and recovery. They gave her the balance and perspective to get her through the worst days, and they compose the soul of the book.

The Silver Lining of Hollye’s illness is that she can now use the knowledge gleaned from her experience to try to make it better for those who have to follow her down this difficult path. This is why she is sharing her story. Hollye is the experienced girlfriend who wants to help shed some light in the darkness, provide guidance through the confusion, and hold your hand every step of the way.

At once comforting and instructive, realistic and inspiring, The Silver Lining is a visually beautiful, poignant must-read for everyone who has been touched by cancer.
Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW, speaks publicly and writes about her experience on her award-winning blog, She is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post,, Susan G. Komen, and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Army of Women Blog. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her family.

Elizabeth Messina was named one of the 10 Best Photographers in the World by American Photo 2010. She writes the award winning blog and lives in Santa Barbara with her family.
Product Details ISBN: 9781476743714
ISBN-10: 1476743711
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 18th, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English
“Like a good friend, this book will be by your side as you travel through the world of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.”
— Susan Love, MD, MBA, author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book

“Hollye Jacobs combines inspiration with practical suggestions for women and men working through a breast cancer diagnosis. She gives breast cancer survivors the ability to put things in perspective, with spot-on advice about what to expect.”
— Nancy Brinker, Chair, Global Strategy, Susan G. Komen®

“Hollye probes the varied and granular issues surrounding breast cancer with thoughtfulness and sound advice while leavening the experience with humor. Elizabeth Messina’s collector-quality photographs… aid in capturing the essence of the journey…. [and] result in a remarkable tension: the allure of life simultaneously overlaid with the threat of disease, which is starkly, and beautifully, portrayed.”
— James L. Madara, M.D., CEO, American Medical Association, Former Dean and CEO, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Hospital System

"This bold and resourceful woman's powerful account of her breast cancer experience offers important guidance, strong encouragement and real inspiration to any person challenged by this disease."
— Marisa Weiss, M.D., President and Founder,

“This book provides true insight into the challenges involved in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. It is a lesson in survival. It is a testament to the courage, grace and dignity of one woman who truly defines the word 'survivor.'”
— Otis W. Brawley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society

“Hollye Jacobs has provided us with an informative, supportive and uplifting account of her unusually arduous breast cancer treatment. From mouth sores to mood swings she extends us 'life lines,' her practical hints for adaptation. Through the dark clouds and dense fog of cancer treatment she both recalls and discovers beauty and hope and her "silver linings" are pithy expressions of wisdom and truth - maxims that help make the difficult doable.”
— Mary Jane Massie, MD, Director, Barbara White Fishman Center for Psychological Counseling, Attending Psychiatrist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

“This book is a little miracle, both for the body and the soul. If ever there was light in the face of the storm, this book is it. Read it and heal.”
— Kathy Freston, New York Times best-selling author of Quantum Wellness, Veganist, and The Lean

“It is a rare thing to find a resource that captures both the very real, lived experience of having breast cancer while also serving as an incredibly practical guide to understanding cancer and its treatment. The Silver Lining should be read by every professional who cares for those who face breast cancer as a reminder of the person and family surrounding the tumor. Hollye Jacobs' expertise as a nurse, social worker, and child development specialist is evident, as the book is richly infused with the wisdom of each of those professions. Even more important is that this book is clearly coming from a woman who has been there, heard the words, 'you have cancer,' and found the silver linings known only to a survivor.”
— Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, FAAN, FPCN, professor, research scientist, and director of Nursing Research, City of Hope National Medical Center

The Silver Lining reflects the experience of a remarkable woman, undergoing what is sadly an all too common journey. The challenges faced are honestly, yet compassionately shared, often with humor and always with grace. The lifelines and wisdom remind readers that at the end of this expedition there is growth and hope. The breathtaking photos reinforce the beauty that can come from pain. This book is an extraordinary gift for all who have been touched by breast cancer.”
— Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN, director, Cancer Pain Program Division, Hematology-Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

“A two-year ordeal with breast cancer conveyed with frank prose and stunning photography.... Award-winning photographer Messina beautifully captures the essence of Jacobs’ journey, delivering mood and emotion through gorgeous imagery. Throughout it all, Jacobs remained resilient, buoyed by a holistic approach to wellness. This is a wise investment for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer or simply interested in how the process works. Unfailingly optimistic, Jacobs compassionately offers proof positive that even a terrifying, arduous disease like cancer can have a silver lining. A dignified, intensely personal journey of survival.”

“With her humorous and approachable style, Jacobs has written an essential title for patients facing a cancer diagnosis. Highly recommended for all consumer health collections.”

“...pragmatic and empathetic... unabashedly candid.... If you or someone you know has battled breast cancer, this book will serve as a lifeline for navigating this potentially devastating disease.”