I would like to recommend a book, but one that is a very hard read for all its power and inspiration. It is the diary of Jim Bedard, a Zen Practitioner, during his "to hell and back" journey through several rounds of chemo-therapy and a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I can only describe parts of the book as heart rending and physically painful to read, beautiful and hopeful and inspiring all at once.
Lotus In The Fire: The Healing Power of Zen
Jim was a practitioner for many years in Canada with Sunyana Graef Sensei in Phiip Kapleau's Lineage. His treatment pushed him to the edge in so many ways, personal, spiritual, financial, not just physical. He found endless strength through this time by a sense of boundless Gratitude ... Gratitude even for the disease, not to mention for all the Zen folks, family and friends who were constantly chanting for him or at his bedside.
He found meaning for these events as the playing out of Karma, perhaps from previous lives, that he had to work through. He felt the close proximity of Bodhisattvas coming to aid him, some of whom he saw in dreams and visions during the hardest days of his treatment.
However one takes these visions and interpretations, such simply expresses the strength, the Wisdom and Compassion, he was able to experience in his heart and what he felt in such moments of unbearable need and extreme suffering.
This is a story of a survivor, a man tempered like steel through fires. Not a light or easy read, but worth it.