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This article is republished with the permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Copyrighted (2005) St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Book offers guidance for the ill and their caregivers: NEIGHBORS GREG PACINI
By Esther Talbot Fenning

For the past 15 years, counselor and group psychotherapist Greg Pacini has worked with chronic and terminal illness survivors, their caretakers and the medical professionals who serve them.

Pacini recently wrote a book based on his experiences. "Journey Beyond Diagnosis: Support During and After Illness for Survivors and Those Who Love and Care for Them" was published by Reedy Press this month.

The book covers anger management, sleeplessness, challenges for couples, spirituality, effects on caretakers and death and dying.

Every aspect of the book is intended to convey comfort and healing and provide an easy read for those who are ill and exhausted, the author said.

Chapter headings include "Packing" (emotional efficiency), "On the Road" (beginning treatment) and "Refreshments" (ways to take care of yourself). Others are "Rest Stops," "Potholes," "Crashes," "Road Rage" and "Driving Alone."

The cover consists of a green pastoral scene with a path that emerges from dark to light. The pages are soft and cream-colored with a generous amount of white space, and the descriptive table of contents makes it easy to locate a special need.

"For those who are unable to read the book at all, we've included photographs that represent the journey so that they will feel some connectedness," Pacini said.

The book is dedicated to Pacini's sister, Jean Marie Miller, who died of ovarian cancer two years ago. It was inspired by Miller's battle and those of the hundreds of patients he has counseled through individual sessions. Pacini has led more than 1,500 support group meetings over the past 25 years - including a weekly group for physicians at an area hospital.

He started the book four years ago after he went into private practice. He said the wisdom of the patients he treated was too precious not to share.

"Lots of people can use the book that aren't comfortable sharing their feelings with others - it's a way of bringing truth into the hands of those who might not avail themselves of it otherwise," he explained.