A non-scary book on life, death, and everything in-between

Anastasiya Leukhina

A book about living after bad news from the hospital. It contains recommendations of doctors and psychologists and real-life stories.

Almost every family at some point faces a serious illness, an incurable diagnosis, or a stay in the intensive care unit. “A Non-Scary Book” is about living in such circumstances. It consists of tips as well as real-life stories and shows how to deal with things however they progress.

The book tells the reader how to cope after receiving bad news, how to communicate with a sick person, how to arrange home care and what to do if the person dies at home or in the intensive care unit, how to relieve pain, how to help children get through the illness or death of a person close to them, and how to take care of themselves when their loved ones are sick.

“A Non-Scary Book” will be useful, first of all, to the patients’ families.

It will also help nursing staff to communicate with patients. We will distribute a number of copies of this book to the hospitals, free of charge so that the medical staff could give it to patients and their families.

Finally, this book is relevant to everyone: in order to cope with one’s own fears or to know in advance what to do.

The book excerpt

About the author of “A Non-Scary Book

Anastasiya Leukhina has experienced four deaths in her family, and her mother has been receiving palliative care for the last 15 years. Anastasiya has collected the experiences, helpful advice, and knowledge so as to give to the patients and their families the tools necessary for their survival in extremely stressful situations when a person close to them is terminally ill or dying.

Anastasiya is known for coordinating her #letfamiliesintoicu which provided open access to the intensive care units across the country and was recognized by the European Communication Summit as the Best Nonprofit Communication Team in 2017.

Anastasiya is a professor at the Kyiv School of Economics and the founder of NGO «Horizontals» and the project «Educational Experiment».

Переглянути відео

Анастасія Леухіна

Feedback of those who have read the book

Roman Marabyan, kerivnik OSBD “Hippocrates”, Kharkiv

Roman Marabyan, manager of OSBD “Hippocrates”, Kharkiv

Profound, professional, emotional, excellent quality.
A book everyone should read.

Oleksandr Fialkovsky, psychologist of the Regional Oncology Dispensary, Chernihiv

Oleksandr Fialkovsky, psychologist of the Regional Oncology Dispensary, Chernihiv

“Not a scary book at all” is timely, important and necessary! Timely, because as stigma and taboos are being removed step by step from the the topic of serious illness and death, we are able to discuss these issues more easily, and unfortunately, we have a woefully insufficient amount of information! This book is important and necessary, because serious illnesses, death, loss, and grief have affected, are affecting, or will affect each of us and those close to us–this is how life works. And it is very valuable that this book is now available, because this book can become an unobtrusive guide and support. For 17 years (the last 12 in a Cancer Center), I have been dealing with people who have experienced severe illness and with their immediate families. I know only too well how difficult it can be sometimes to find the right words of support and encouragement. I am very glad that the author was able to find these words. This book turned out to be very serious, professional, and at the same time very warm, supportive, and clear. And what is most important, it’s not scary at all.

Alla Antonova

Alla Antonova

On December 30th, someone who was very dear to me passed away, and I was beside them. The previous two months had not been easy. I’ve learned many things during the last three years, but many things were unexpected for me. It happens often, that theory and practice are completely different things.
Books are what saved me. I spent hours doing many different procedures and I spent hours lying on my bed and reading. I read a lot about faith, love, peace, and pain.
“Not a scary book at all” can become your friend during the most difficult period of your life, as illness may or may not come to your home. Death comes to every home, sooner or later, whether it is your home or those of your friends, acquaintances, co-workers. This book will provide answers to all the questions. Even to those questions you feel you can’t ask anyone. It will help to fill the emptiness and reduce your fear.

The major, even the key advantage of the book is that it addresses these topics calmly, without excess emotion or affectation, in a way that doesn’t make you eager to snap the book shut and to distance yourself from yet another source of anxiety in such a troubled world.

The book contains many tips and examples that can make life much easier in such situations. In the case of Ukraine, we are talking about hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of patients, their relatives and friends, doctors and social workers.

Yuri Kondratsky, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Head of the Division of Stomach and Esophageal Tumors of the National Cancer Institute, Member of the American ASCO Oncology Community, ESMO European Community, Member of the Board of the Ukrainian Scientific-Medical and Oncology Community USMOC

Yuri Kondratsky, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Head of the Division of Stomach and Esophageal Tumors of the National Cancer Institute, Member of the American ASCO Oncology Community, ESMO European Community, Member of the Board of the Ukrainian Scientific-Medical and Oncology Community USMOC

This book can galvanize you into action. A cancer diagnosis is always a shock for a person and his or her loved ones. Everyone goes through this sequence after the diagnosis: Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance-Action. In such a situation, time is precious. This book will help you work your way through this difficult sequence, to make the right decision and to understand how to keep on living. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to everybody who has encountered cancer; not only to patients, but also to their loved ones.

Svitlana, Mykyta’s mother, autumn, 2020

Svitlana, Mykyta’s mother, autumn, 2020

“Our family has been learning to live “after” for already more than four and a half years. “After” blood cancer diagnosis… “After” complex remission… “After” the recurrence… “After” bone marrow transplantation… “After” the words “it didn’t work out”… “After” the second recurrence.. “After” the relentless, however unsuccessful struggle…

We are headed for another “after”… Only one question is heartbreaking: why were there so few “before”?… But we long ago understood that it’s impossible to dwell on the past. That’s why we have what we have.

There’re so many good people in our life: relatives, friends, acquaintances, doctors, volunteers. We’re extremely grateful to all of them for being there.

When our situation started to change, I came across a book. When I took it, there were many contradictions. But I’ve been asked to read it and I promised. I always try to keep my promise. I’ve read it. After reading it I understood that I got a hold of it just in time. I felt gratitude: to the person, who gave me it; to the author and to everyone involved in the creation of this book.

I recommend it.”
– – –
Mykyta died on December 1. We publish this review in memory of the wonderful boy with the permission of his mother.

Uliana Suprun, ex-acting Minister of Health

Uliana Suprun, ex-acting Minister of Health

Palliative care is provided to people during the last months or even days of their lives, or to those who constantly need assistance. In recent years, this field of medicine has not received enough attention in Ukraine. Starting in 2020, the Ukrainian National Health Service will pay for palliative care services and, therefore, everyone needs to know what palliative care is and that it is not scary. “Not a scary book at all” explains it well. The book is about how we can help palliative patients and how we can make their lives easier. Each of us understands how s(he) comes into this world, and when we leave this world, sometimes we have a choice. And we must have a humane choice, where there is respect for a person, and for human dignity. I am very happy that this book exists.

How to support the project

You can support the project:

  1. Buy a book for yourself or your friends.
  2. Pay for a number of copies for a hospital.
  3. Donate to the project, whatever amount you can afford.

We also welcome other types of support:

  1. help with the distribution of the book;
  2. assistance in raising funds and establishing relationships with potential partners in Ukraine and other countries.

Questions, comments and words of support can be sent to us via this form

Non-governmental organization “Horizontals” (NGO “Horizontals”)

NGO was established six years ago with the aim to provoke and accelerate changes, first of all, in the educational and medical sphere. Why “Horizontals”? Because everybody can do a lot, but the community of like-minded people is able to move the mountains. A strong community starts from the development of horizontal connections, which means – horizontals.

Among our projects there are the main ones are:

  • “Educational experiment” – annual camps for the families and teachers, and advocacy campaign on diversity promotion in education
  • Advocacy campaign #letmeinthereanimation, within which we managed to form a coalition and to achieve the right to stay in the intensive care unit round the clock near the close person
  • Extensive investigation of the open intensive care practice and communicational campaign about the significance of the presence of relatives in the intensive care unit;
  • Series of pilot training on communication among patients and medical workers for doctors, etc.;
  • We are striving so as people would be in the focus of the educational system and medicine. Different, special, sensitive, vulnerable. Our motto is – “We’re adding humanity”.

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