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Almost a Princess:  My Life as a Two-Time Cancer Survivor
Discussion Questions

What childhood experiences helped to build Jane's strength and courage? Which childhood experiences would you describe as shaping your own patterns of strength?


How did humor play a part in Jane's ability to deal with her family and her cancers? How can you use humor to help you in times of fear, stress and difficulties?


What is the significance of the title "Almost a Princess"? If you were to retitle this book, what title would you give it, and  why?


Like Jane, many of us are looking for mantras that guide us through life. Which of Jane's  mantras do you think most resonate with your life and life experiences? 


Many of us have family and friends with cancer. What lessons did you learn from the book that make you better at dealing with their situation?


Which piece in the book affected you most deeply? How do you relate it to your own life experiences?


How did growing up as a girl in the fifties, the post WWII era, affect Jane's world view? Do you think she would have had the same inner strength necessary to deal with her medical issues if she had been born twenty years later?


How did you feel about Jane's father, and the manner in which he imparted lessons to his daughter? Do you feel any differently when you recall that he was "a product of a terribly harsh divorce during his late youth in the Depression years"? How did the difference personalities of Jane's mother and father affect Jane's world view?


David tells Jane: "Don't look down. Think like a tightrope walker and just look ahead to the platform at the end of the rope". Were there times in your life when you needed to just get to the other side? What strategies did you use to reach your goals? What strategies in this book might help you weather future storms?


Do you "wear the jewelry'? If not, why not? And do you think you should?


Jane talks about her questioning conversation with her plastic surgeon and his entourage of nurses and residents. How have you fared in your interactions with all-knowing medical professionals? Have you learned any lessons here - or from your past experiences - that may help you deal in a more helpful way the next time?


Have there been times in your life when, like Jane frantically trying to buy Carrie the crib, you chose to focus your energies on buying just the right gift or making just the right meal or creating just the right celebration for someone when much less chaos was required? Have you learned your lesson yet? And if not, why not?


How do you cope when "life is unfair"? What lessons can you learn from this book?


Despite Jane's non-religious upbringing, the genetic mutation responsible for her cancers serves as a "peculiar reminder to the connection of [her] ancient Jewish heritage". In what way do you feel shaped by your own religious upbringing? Do forces beyond your control shape your identity and life journey as well?


How did you feel about the essay "The Cancer Etiquette Dance"? Did Jane's rules make you jump up and proclaim "Yes, that's how I feel, too?", or did they make you uncomfortable?


Jane Loeb - Jane Loeb Taylor - Jane Loeb Taylor Rubin. Did you change your name when you got married? Would you make the same choice today?


Have you ever played "the cancer card" or a similar card?


Did you ever inventory your life and put your fears in a box? Can you do so now? What was, or what do you think will be, the result?

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