One woman’s plight surviving simultaneous illnesses.
In her debut memoir, Levy provides a dark-humored account of being afflicted with both Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer. After losing her job as a producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a bout of depression gave way to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, a blow that left Levy turning to humor as a defense. In one particularly comedic self-written obituary, Levy writes: “Robyn Michele Levy passed away peacefully into her bowl of organic cornflakes. She leaves behind a ripe kiwi, a fistful of pills, her teenage daughter, and her devoted husband. In lieu of flowers, donations to her MasterCard account would be appreciated.” Similarly, a few months later, after a doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer as well, Levy wryly replied, “At least I don’t have testicular cancer.” Levy’s comedic insertions into what might otherwise prove a depressing narrative provides readers an unexpected, though greatly appreciated, dissonance between subject matter and tone. As her physical ailments continued to compound, Levy explains her decision to embrace humor in spite of the darkness surrounding her. “What else can one do but see the humor, albeit black humor, in life?” she asked a friend, a philosophy regularly put forth throughout the narrative. What initially seemed like a dual death sentence provided Levy with a new lease on life, reuniting her with friends and family, all of whom reminded her of the many blessings that remained.
A traumatic tale surprisingly liberated by laughter.