Memoirs of a cancer survivor with a delicious sense of humor and a well-defined sense of self.
Rodgers (Crazy for Trying, 1996) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1994. By the time her HMO authorized a biopsy, the cancer had spread from one small lymph node to both sides of her neck and down into her chest. One of the funniest and yet most touching chapters features a miniature screenplay—a slapstick sitcom version of Rodgers and her husband getting the diagnosis, discovering its awful meaning, and then experiencing others’ reactions to the news. Chemotherapy is no laughing matter, but Rodgers finds black comedy in such trials as loss of hair and constant nausea. It is when treatment ends that depression sets in and the one-liners stop. Among the topics she explores are helping one’s children understand what’s happening, dealing with the loss of sexuality, finding one’s faith, and reclaiming one’s body. She tells us not just about her battle with cancer, but who she was before cancer and who she is now: we learn of her peripatetic parents, her career as a radio disc jockey, and the ups and downs of her marriage’s early years. During her recovery, she published her first novel, developing a major crush on the attentive editor who guided her through the process; the embarrassing details of that non-affair become part of the story, of course. Now involved with such groups as CanCare and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Rodgers concludes with an upbeat epilogue celebrating life.
Darkly comic, inspiring, and nearly platitude-free.