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Five Lessons I Didn't Learn From Breast Cancer (And One Big One I Did) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This cancer survivor’s book does not promote cancer as a spiritual gift. This is not a book filled with ‘Look on the bright side’ advice, Lewis says. This is . . . for women who don’t have and don’t want a spiritual makeover after breast cancer . . . and don’t expect breast cancer to fix what’s wrong with them. Furthermore, My only growth was the one removed by my surgeon. Her message throughout is that breast cancer can’t change who you are, it confirms who you are. It did, however, mean shedding illusions, including her self-image as still young with endless options. Ultimately, cancer meant clarification, not transformation. She organizes solid advice, including tips on finding Dr. Right, helping others to help you, and being wary of the attitude police, into easily handled chapters. Throughout a straightforward, fast-paced book, her clarity constitutes reassurance, while her ironic, sometimes painfully self-aware wit is a magnet for those seeking an alternative to the I’m-so-grateful-to-my-breast-cancer literature. --Whitney Scott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lewis was a senior vice president of programming at Air America Radio from 2003-2005. Before that she spent 25 years in the mainstream media, executive producing news and information programs ranging from Real Life with Jane Pauley at NBC, to World News Now with Aaron Brown and Lisa McRee, and Good Morning America at ABC News. At CNN she was executive producer of Greenfield at Large, and American Morning with Paula Zahn. Lewis, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, received her BFA in film and television from NYU.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Listen & Live Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593161395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593161392
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,856,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have you received a breast cancer diagnosis? Got a friend who has? Before you make another move, read this funny and truthful lowdown from Shelley Lewis, whose emotional viewpoint matches mine so precisely I can't shake the feeling that I should've written it myself (after all, I went through this a year before she did). Unlike just about every other book on the breast cancer "experience," with its pretty pink cover and its crapola about how dealing with breast cancer will make you a "better person" (just like it supposedly made its author!), Lewis gets down to the real nitty-gritty. Namely: Breast cancer, at least for some people, isn't a "spiritual growth program," a "journey" or a "gift." It's not the ultimate opportunity for the perfect boob makeover. It's not necessarily going to turn you into Lance Armstrong and an inspiration to everyone. It's just a DISEASE--a scary, upsetting DISEASE that makes you hope you can get through the treatment so you can get back to your life--if at all possible.

Lewis tells you the truth about breast cancer: it's OK to feel however you do, optimistic or lousy. That you didn't get this disease because somehow you asked for it (and if someone implies you did, you can cheerfully tell them where to stick it). That having a bad or negative attitude or feeling depressed on occasion is perfectly normal, and it won't kill you. That whatever decisions you make about how to deal with your disease are OK, so long as you are the one driving the bus--even if that means putting yourself in the hands of a team of physicians you utterly trust and doing whatever they say. There are no do's-and-don'ts here about chemo, radiation, hair loss, breast reconstruction, anything--the message here is that each person's situation is unique, and each choice is uniquely one's own.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Part memoir, part how-to book, "The Five Lessons I Didn't Learn from Breast Cancer" has universal appeal for all sorts of cancers, even the "non-female" kind like my non Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though there are plenty of how-to tips for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, I enjoyed this book because of Lewis' take on the "Tyranny of Positive Thinking" and the pinkapalooza cartel. I respect her choice not to call herself a "survivor," though I wonder if it's really because, as she says, Death wasn't at her door, but rather sent her a "Thinking of You Card." (For me, Death had pulled into the driveway and parked the car.) Never whiny and often downright funny, this book is a must-read for anyone who has been sucker punched by cancer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a 3 time breast cancer repeat offender, this book rang more true than any of the others I have read. I was beginning to feel guilty about not having a spiritual experience until I read this book. Also I was getting quite peeved about "the race" because they don't interview people with multiple occurences. They only show happy, happy, happy faces of those with 1 occurence. What are we, chopped liver?
This book has made me rethink my advice to first time offenders. It is certainly the most honest book I have read about this awful disease. I highly recommend it to any breast cancer patient or family member of patient.
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Format: Paperback
My sister had breast cancer, so I often look for books that might be of interest to her (or me.) When I saw this title I was intrigued, but more so when I noticed the author. Having read and loved Lewis's first book (Naked Republicans) I could not imagine how someone with her irreverent sense of humor would handle a serious topic like breast cancer. I should have known...she handles it in much the same way! Yes, it is a serious topic but as she points out it doesn't change who you are as a person. From what I can tell after reading her two books, it didn't change her at all. It is very funny, but deals with serious issues intelligently and thoughtfully. I especially liked the emphasis on advocacy and research. If you have breast cancer this will give you a different perspective than most of the books out there. If you know someone with breast cancer, especially someone recently diagnosed, buy this book for them. Read it first though, because it will help you be a better and more supportive friend.
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Format: Paperback
Last year, my husband was diagnosed with an incurable cancer at just 35 years of age. As we went through this devastating ordeal, the last thing we wanted to read about was how we should be having some great epiphany. I can assure you that cancer is not the best thing that ever happened to our family, nor did it make us better people. I often felt guilty for the sort of resentment I felt towards the cancer hype portrayed in the media. That is, until I read Ms. Lewis' book and discovered that I wasn't the only one with this reaction. How liberating to read thoughts, which mirrored my own, within those pages!

When I first found this book on Amazon, I read the synopsis and excerpts to my husband. We were both in tears from hysterical laughter! I anxiously awaited the book and immediately dove into the pages when it arrived. I read most of it aloud to my husband, who laughed along with me, giving us a much needed therapeutic break. As my husband and I further discussed excerpts, I learned details about his perspective, about which I had never thought. I was able to see I had unknowingly been insensitive in certain instances. This book served as a wonderful catalyst for discussion.

Ms. Lewis states her case clearly and adeptly. The writing is exceptional, and the read is easy and light. As a writer myself, this book served as a wonderful source of inspiration. It certainly tops my list of favorites!

I want to thank Ms. Lewis for having the guts to be honest about this very sensitive topic. There is an immense amount of pressure on patients, "survivors", and caregivers to "sugar-coat" the realities of cancer. In my opinion, her candid approach is much more therapeutic and helpful in the end. I encourage anyone going through a cancer experience to read this book. It is a valuable resource for patients, caregivers, family, and friends.
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