It has been a long time since a book has hit me as hard as Everything Changes. With the roll out of the website, I have made it my mission to become a well informed as possible. I started reading; I have dedicated time to something I have so thoroughly missed recently, the utter joy of reading a good book. While I was reading this book I found myself wishing and hoping there would be someone like me in this book, I also kept going over in my head how I would write this amazing review. 7 pages in and I knew this was THE book I would recommend that everyone I know go out and buy. However, much like everything in my life after cancer, actually remembering and typing it out now that it is time is so much harder. I truly miss the days when I could sit and type out an amazing piece of work. In high school I honestly believed my teacher should be paying me to write the kind of essays I was producing. I loved to write, now I struggle just to try and get across how amazing I think something it. I have found it is so much easier for me to rip something apart [see my Twilight review] than it is to get across how powerful something can be or how highly I recommend something. Everything Changes is a book full of interviews with cancer patients in their 20’s and 30’s and while it is called “Everything Changes, An Insider’s Guide to Cancer in your 20’s and 30’s, I do not see it as a step by step guide but more of an insight into the minds and thought processes of real people who are going through the same disease in so many different ways. Technically dealing with the same situation but so many different elements that are each unique to each person. At the end of each interview there are some amazing resources that are directly linked to the chapter’s issue. It ranges from navigating through the ridiculous medical and insurance system to fertility issues. I was seven pages in when I made Fish go get my highlighter so that I could highlight some of the pieces I wanted to remember and share in this review. I have now ruined almost every other page of this book!! The piece that made me get my highlighter was the goal of the book “to rip young adult cancer patients from the confines of these limited descriptors and perceptions. I wanted to reveal who we are, not in simple definitions but in the complexities of our daily lives: what we think about while lying in bed at night; what we wish we could tell our lovers but are too afraid to; the ways in which we feel vulnerable, tender, and utterly uncertain what to do with ourselves; the times when cancer is not a fight but just hard circumstances with which to live.” This is followed with pages and pages of small highlighted segments that stood out enough that I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose them. This book is not only full of information that is vital at the time of diagnosis, but also along he border there are quotes from others that range from hilarious to insightful but always carry a layer of straight truth to them. The honesty of this book will win over anyone who reads it. I want to recommend that EVERY person I know go out and buy this book. This book is the perfect book to understand what someone who is going through cancer maybe feeling. Plus, odds are you are going to be close to someone who has cancer and if you already have this book you will be prepared. I often read reviews for things before I purchase this, I did not read any on this book before I bought it, but I check out the one 3 star review on Aamzon and they are right in a lot of ways, the book is fantastic but when you are diagnosed you are not thinking about hoping on Amazon and buying a book, you are trying to figure out what you are going to do with your live. Most people, like me, will probably find this book when they are in remission or between treatments and by then it could be that most of the important information was never given to them. So, please check out picking up the book just to have in your library in case of emergency. Plus you can get it for the unheard of low price of $9 on Amazon:
I think it would make a great present to a survivor who may be feeling that they are all alone and that no one knows how they feel. Oh and so you know, I found a patient in the book who was sort of like my situation, not exactly but very close and I was so happy to know that I am not the only person in the world who was super positive on my own accord, that patient is Dana Merk, and I am so glad she is in the book. I read the whole book feeling only partially connected to each person. There would be ideas that I whole heartedly agreed with but our situations were not the same. At this point in my life, I honestly thought that maybe there is something wrong with me to be so positive about my whole experience.
“Maybe the cure needs to suffer a bit so that cause can be addressed. We should refocus our thinking. I mean seventy thousand young people a year get diagnosed with cancer. Where’s the outrage? It not happening.” –Geoff
“George Burns smoke cigars, drank alcohol, did crazy drugs, and died at a hundred and one. George Gershwin was one of the world’s first popular vegans and died of brain cancer at thirty-nine. There is no rhyme or reason. The most important thing is to just own your lifestyle.” Matthew Zachary
“When I went into remission, I had a couple of people say to me ‘Oh God spared you.’ I told them I think it is just that Satan hasn’t got my corner office ready yet.”-Nora Lynch
“Having cancer isn’t gonna suddenly make me the Buddha”-Geoff
Things I couldn’t believe someone would say stood out a lot in this book. These are actual things that doctors really said to people:
when on state insurance they refused to do both a CAT and a PET scan because it wasn’t private insurance, the patient expressed her anger with her mother’s oncologist to which he replied “Well, you’re getting clean needles, aren’t you? There are places in the world where you wouldn’t even get clean needles you should be grateful (Yes he said GRATEFUL!)” then when he left and she turned to a nurse to express her shock that the Dr. would day such a thing the nurse said “well, its OUR tax dollars” another one that hit me hard was doctors telling other doctors that they don’t think the patient is fighting, when asking how bad chemo was the response was “If it was so bad, everybody wouldn’t be doing it.” When one patients back was so full of cancer she couldn’t walk she told her doctor about the pain to which she replied “Is it the sexual positions you are using?” I hope by including these in this review you will see that sometimes people are not as caring as they should be. Also this is one of the most important things the book stresses and that I hope just me being here stresses is that young adults DO get cancer and you cannot let your doctor assume that you couldn’t have it because you are too young!
Also I believe that these quotes are just so amazing in how well they offer advice that is so honest and can help so many people:
“If you refuse to receive, you are unnecessarily putting a barrier between yourself and the love of others”-Richard
“What it would take to cure cancer was more people who knew that an arsenal of compassion, money, heartfelt effort, and deep desire didn’t mean much if you are not willing to put smarts and strategy above your own personal agenda.”-Matthew Zachary
“True service is getting rid of that illusion that there’s any difference between you and me. It is the willingness to humble, to let someone yell at you sometimes ‘cause they are in pain or have them tell you they want you out of their room. You have to be careful not to take away peoples humanity when you serve them. It is easy to see someone as weaker than you, and physically, cancer patients maybe very weak, but we know that they’re not weak at all.” –Amilica Mouton-Fuentes
“Being strong is not just about being inspirational or having your shit together. It’s about being able to freak out, too, so long as you don’t get stuck there”-Wafa’a Badriyeh
This book is such an amazing, easy read. It is not filled with medical jargon that will confuse you, it is not even filled with items that make you feel guilty if you are not a cancer survivor. It is just an intimate look into what cancer survivors think and feel and I think ultimately most people who talk to me want to know these kinds of things and here it is for you in a great book. She did all the traveling, cataloging, typing and researching for you!