Catalogue


Most of me : surviving my medical meltdown /
Robyn Michele Levy.
imprint
Vancouver : Greystone Books, 2011.
ISBN
9781553656326 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Vancouver : Greystone Books, 2011.
isbn
9781553656326 :
catalogue key
7837889
 
Issued also in electronic format.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor, CAN, 2012 : Nominated
First Chapter
The night before my appointment with the oncologist, I am wound up with worry and in desperate need of distraction. Bergen suggests we escape to the movies for some comic relief. "How about Woody Allen's new film, Vicky Christina Barcelona?" "That means I'd have to get out of these pajamas and put on some real clothes," I whine. "That's right. I'll help you," Bergen assures me. Soon I'm wearing what will become my post-mastectomy uniform--jeans and a loose-fitting blouse with a scarf strategically draped around my collar so that the fabric conceals my vacant lot. This is our first evening out since my surgery--just the two of us. Once we've bought our tickets, the mouthwatering aroma of popcorn lures us into the lobby--where I immediately have second thoughts. What am I doing here? This is crazy! People and popcorn stream by. I snuggle up close to Bergen, not because I'm feeling romantic, but because I'm feeling neurotic and self-conscious. What if someone accidentally elbows me in the chest? What if I bump into someone I know and my Cry Lady makes a scene? I don't tell Bergen what I'm thinking, but he knows that I'm nervous. "Don't worry," he says, "everything's going to be OK." I take a deep breath and while exhaling I spot Michelle and Honey. They're old friends of Bergen's and judging by the expressions on their faces, they are surprised to see me alive. There's a round of hugs and hellos and then Bergen says, "I'll be right back," and heads to the washroom, leaving us ladies alone to chat. Michelle stuffs her hands in her pockets, gives me a nervous smile, then bravely asks, "How are you? I heard about your diagnosis." "I'm doing OK," I say, glancing down at my chest, aware of a slight tingling sensation in my eyes. "When was your surgery?" Honey wants to know. "About a month and a half ago. The beginning of August," I say, determined not to cry. "Wow! You look great," Michelle says. "Thanks," I reply, strategizing how best to keep those unwanted tears at bay. Poke my eyes out? Pass. Let out a primal scream? Not in the mood. Play a practical joke? It's worth a try. I spot Bergen in the distance, "Here he comes," I say. We all turn our heads toward the rear of the lobby and watch him weave through the crowd, toward us. "Do me a favour," I whisper, keeping a straight face, "Please don't mention my mastectomy to Bergen. I haven't told him yet." Gobsmacked, Michelle and Honey freeze in place, their eyes bulging out at me, then at each other, then back at me. I can almost hear their voices inside their heads, wondering, "Why hasn't she told him?" "What kind of husband doesn't notice a missing breast?" These precious fleeting seconds of deception fill me with joy--it's comforting to know that my hoodwinking habit still works as well as it did when I had two tits. When Bergen rejoins our group there's an awkward silence. And then I start to laugh. "What's so funny?" he wants to know. "Robyn is," Michelle answers, laughing along with Honey, "but you probably already know that."***
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-08-01:
Some memoirs are heartbreaking and some are hilarious, but very few manage to balance absurdity and honesty as does this title. Writer and artist Levy finds her dual diagnoses of Parkinson's disease and breast cancer wickedly funny and this book is just that. Readers will follow her as she cracks jokes at her doctors, draws strength from her family and friends, and fantasizes about her dentist neighbor flossing her teeth for her. Levy draws strength and tenacity from her ability to laugh at her calamities, and she will inspire readers to see the fiercely funny in their own tragedies. Anyone faced with uncertainty and struggle in the face of a life-changing disease, personal crisis, or just a bad day will find strength in Levy's words. -VERDICT This memoir is proof of the power of the human spirit. By finding joy in the face of the worst circumstances, Levy shows that "what doesn't kill you makes you stranger" and stronger. Enthusiastically recommended.-Julia A. Watson, Marywood Univ. Lib., Scranton, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"One nipple up! A must-read for all breast cancer survivors!"
"Robyn Levy, never one to do things by half, was diagnosed with two life-altering illnesses. Most of Meis her funny/sad and delightfully bawdy account of a dangerous and memorable journey. Long may she travel, and more may she write."
"A deliciously poetic, humor-laced narrative by a courageous and wickedly honest woman who has been handed a mountain of medical lemons in the prime of her life. Robyn Levy's spirit will stick with you long after you finish the book."
"An astonishing debut from a writer adept at handling the delicate balance between laughter and tears."
"As she says, if she doesn't joke about it, she'll cry. You'll probably do a bit of both if you pick up a copy of Levy's book."
"Despite the subject matter, Most of Meis filled with irreverent humour and themes of family life that are relevant to almost everyone who's ever lived with a teenager (or been one.)"
"I liked this book for one very big reason: readers watch on as Levy progresses from "What's-wrong-with-me?" to "I-can-do-this" and the transformation is simply tremendous. The powerful woman we know at the end of this book is not the emotional person we met at the beginning and that could be a beacon of hope for anyone facing a long-term illness."
"In her debut memoir, Levy provides a dark-humored account of being afflicted with both Parkinson's disease and breast cancer...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."
"...Levy's writing style is so accessible and compelling that reading her memoir feels like sitting down with a good friend over coffee to hear the latest. Every page is loaded with emotion so heart-wrenching it's almost unbearable, yet her tone is so engaging, her humour so dark, that you can't help but keep reading."
"It was such a privilege to read Robyn Levy's story. Her integrity and honesty simultaneously broke and healed my heart, fresh from my own journey through breast cancer. Riveting and endearingly funny, her story impacted me profoundly, covering me in a blanket of feelings and thoughts that will stay with me forever, like a friend."
"It is a brave story, not because of the private emotional reality [ Levy] bares -- all memoirs require that. It's her determined levity in the face of so much suffering that's heartbreaking and raw."
"Itís serious stuff, but Levy's writing style is so accessible and compelling that reading her memoir feels like sitting down with a good friend over coffee to hear the latest. Every page is loaded with emotion so heart-wrenching itís almost unbearable, yet her tone is so engaging, her humour so dark, that you canít help but keep reading."
"Some memoirs are heartbreaking and some are hilarious, but very few manage to balance absurdity and honesty as does this title...This memoir is proof of the power of the human spirit. By finding joy in the face of the worst circumstances, Levy shows that "what doesn't kill you makes you stranger" and stronger. Enthusiastically recommended."
"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. ...A traumatic tale surprisingly liberated by laughter."-- Kirkus Reviews "It is a brave story, not because of the private emotional reality [Levy] bares -- all memoirs require that. It's her determined levity in the face of so much suffering that's heartbreaking and raw."?Globe & Mail "Despite the subject matter, Most of Me is filled with irreverent humour and themes of family life that are relevant to almost everyone who's ever lived with a teenager (or been one.)"?Vancouver Sun "It ís serious stuff, but Levy's writing style is so accessible and compelling that reading her memoir feels like sitting down with a good friend over coffee to hear the latest. Every page is loaded with emotion so heart-wrenching itís almost unbearable, yet her tone is so engaging, her humour so dark, that you canít help but keep reading."?Gail Johnson Georgia Straight "It was such a privilege to read Robyn Levy's story. Her integrity and honesty simultaneously broke and healed my heart, fresh from my own journey through breast cancer. Riveting and endearingly funny, her story impacted me profoundly, covering me in a blanket of feelings and thoughts that will stay with me forever, like a friend."--Bif Naked, international recording artist, writer, poet, and actor "An astonishing debut from a writer adept at handling the delicate balance between laughter and tears."?--Cori Howard, editor of "Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood" "As she says, if she doesn't joke about it, she'll cry. You'll probably do a bit of both if you pick up a copy of Levy's book."--Adrienne Brown Homemakers.com "One nipple up! A must-read for all breast cancer survivors!"--Ms. Mastectomy "A deliciously poetic, humor-laced narrative by a courageous and wickedly honest woman who has been handed a mountain of medical lemons in the prime of her life. Robyn Levy's spirit will stick with you long after you finish the book."--Rhona Raskin, radio talk show host and columnist "Robyn Levy, never one to do things by half, was diagnosed with two life-altering illnesses. Most of Me is her funny/sad and delightfully bawdy account of a dangerous and memorable journey. Long may she travel, and more may she write."--Bill Richardson, writer and broadcaster
"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. ...A traumatic tale surprisingly liberated by laughter." Kirkus Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Globe & Mail, December 2011
Kirkus Reviews, August 2012
Library Journal, August 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The imaginative, hilarious, and moving memoir of a woman coping with both Parkinson's disease and breast cancer. At age forty-three, Robyn Levywas diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and, eight months later, with breast cancer. With irreverent and at times mordant humour, Most of Mechronicles Levy's early, mysterious symptoms of breast cancer (a dragging left foot, a frozen left hand, and a crash into "downward dead dog" position on the yoga mat), the devastating diagnosis, her discovery of two lumps in her breast, her mastectomy and oophorectomy (after which she discovers there is no ovary fairy), her continual struggle with Parkinson's, and her life since then dealing with her diverse disease portfolio. Levyis accompanied on her journey by a fantastic cast of characters, including her Cry Lady(who always makes appearances at inopportune times) and perky Dolores the Prosthesis, as well as her loyal dog and a convoy of health professionals, family members, friends, and neighbours. She makes the best of her visits to those health professionals. At an appointment with her neurologist, she participates in party games such as "try to move the patient's rigid left arm." After "make the patient lose her balance but catch her before she falls," Levyis sorry that the party is over, especially when she gets a prescription instead of a grab bag. Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Most of Meoffers a unique glimpse into a creative mind, an ailing body, and the restorative power of humour and fantasy.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. 1
Prologuep. 5
The Bad Old Daysp. 7
Breaking News Is Hard To Dop. 25
Ladies In Waningp. 55
Sex And Dogs And Crowd Controlp. 71
Lost And Foundp. 87
Kissing My Cleavage Good-Byep. 115
In Search Of Kick-Ass Clarityp. 141
Travels With Doloresp. 165
The Comeback Mamap. 185
Some Don't Like It Hotp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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