Shortly before his 44th birthday, John Diamond received a call from the doctor who had removed a lump from his neck. Having been assured for the previous 2 years that this was a benign cyst, Diamond was told that it was cancerous. This is the story of Diamond’s life with, and without, a lump.
This is a memoir by French bestselling and award-winning author and musician Mathias Malzieu. It focuses on a single year in which he explores his close encounter with death. Insightful, tragic and even often very funny, it is a hugely inspirational read. Malzieu is diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening blood disease: his bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. Malzieu survived thanks to a revolutionary operation involving stem-cell treatment. As Malzieu says himself, ‘To have had my life saved has been the most extraordinary adventure I have ever had.’
July 15, 2013 was a defining moment in the life of Dr. Uzma Yunus. On that day, at age 41, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. The diagnosis derailed an unstoppable life of achievement, first as a determined medical student in Pakistan and later as an award-winning psychiatrist in the United States. Almost immediately after learning of her condition, Dr. Yunus began writing “Left Boob Gone Rogue,” a personal blog of her experiences. She delivers astringent insight on what it is to live with uncertainty, with pain, with the daily possibility of death–but also with happiness, fidelity, and faith–in the clutches of an unpredictable and dreadful disease. “Left Boob Gone Rogue” is not simply a story about illness and dying; it’s a story about the experience of living. It is a reminder that every moment should be appreciated and celebrated. That is Dr. Uzma Yunus’ gift.
That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat, Julie made it to America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.
The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it—a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion—this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering.
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
Poet and essayist Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, she received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.
How does a dying person learn to live each day “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? How does a young mother and wife prepare her two young children and adored husband for a loss that will shape the rest of their lives? How do we want to be remembered?
Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, Nina asks: What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?
Sophie Sabbage was forty-eight years old, happily married, and mother to a four-year-old daughter when she was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Since that shocking diagnosis, she has been on a remarkable journey of healing and renewal that has reshaped her life—for the better. Read on below.
The Cancer Whisperer chronicles Sophie’s extraordinary relationship with cancer and the very effective methods she has used for dealing with her fear, anger, denial, and grief. The Brené Brown of cancer, Sophie empowers readers to reject the traditional adversarial relationship with cancer by teaching us how to listen to it; how to be healed by it as well as how to seek to cure it; and how to be emotionally free even when we are physically curtailed.
Nora bounced from boyfriend to dopey “boyfriend” until she met Aaron. When Aaron was diagnosed with brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and had a baby boy while he was on chemo. In the period that followed, they packed fifty years of marriage into the three they got, spending their time on what really matters: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, each other, and Beyoncé. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms. The obituary they wrote during Aaron’s hospice care revealing his true identity as Spider-Man touched the nation. Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? How can a joyful marriage contain more sickness than health? In this deeply felt and deeply funny memoir, Nora gives her readers a true gift—permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth and know that everything will be okay. It’s Okay to Laugh is a love letter to life, in all its messy glory; it reads like a conversation with a close friend, and leaves a trail of glitter in its wake.