Earlier this week, I tweeted the following: Buy my sister's amazing book! http://tinyurl.com/235prmx -- and read all about her amazingness here: http://corinnaborden.com/ Richard, the kind soul that he is, responded with an email: “write a review of your sister’s book and I’ll put it up on my blog.â€Â Thank you, Richard.Â So I sat down to write.Â And sat.Â And put a sterile sentence down.Â Then cried a little.Â Then sat some more.Â Then gave up.
My older sister (by two years one month three days) was diagnosed with stage four progressive Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a year and a half after her wedding, one week before her 30th birthday.Â She was living in Ann Arbor, trying to figure out a life for herself while her husband underwent the modern-day torture of a urology residency.Â For almost a year, she had been suffering excruciating abdominal pain that no doctor could diagnose until an allergist noticed inflamed neck lymph nodes and sent her in for a full biopsy a few months after her needle biopsy had come back negative (note to readers — needle biopsies sometimes get too few cells and miss the cancerous ones).
Her birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving, and the year of her diagnosis, her 30th birthday year, it did.Â My parents and I had already planned to come to Ann Arbor for Thanksgiving turkey and birthday cake, and still we came.Â Mom and dad showed up on Monday, in time to support Corinna and her husband for the first chemo treatment on Tuesday; I arrived on Wednesday to a house filled with unhappy parents, a husband beside himself with worry, a puking sister, and a dog and a cat so stressed by the human emotions that they made everything worse by trying to make everything better.
For the next six months, Corinna fought cancer tooth and nail with chemotherapy and acupuncture (helps with the nausea).Â It didn’t work.Â Then she gave up for a little bit.Â That didn’t work either.Â Then, furious with the Western establishment that poured toxins into her body to “healâ€ it, only to have the body remain unhealed and more sick from the toxins, she explored different options — Vitamin C infusions, energy treatments, cleanses, sweat boxes etc.Â That helped her emotional transformation to take place, but didn’t work with the cancer cells.Â So, back to the Western world and the University of Michigan cancer center, which, so far, has worked.
I revisited this review when I told Corinna that I was trying to write one and failing miserably.Â She suggested that I write what I was going through writing the review — which is an apt description of her book.Â It is a book written by a brilliant, articulate woman in her early 30s about what she went through during her two-year “cancer reeducation program.â€Â Corinna takes her journal entries and a little of the fact story outlined above and then integrates her own voices into the story.Â Not thoughts, but voices.Â We all have them.Â Fear, who injects worry and panic into everything.Â Peace, who mediates.Â And then of course our own personal dialogue.
Yes, I Dreamt of Sausage is a cancer memoir, but it is also a reflection of a woman who had to learn to integrate her voices with her body in order to ultimately heal.Â Read this book.Â It is a story of courage, self-exploration, curiosity, strength of will, resiliency, and healing.