Friday, August 21, 2009

Paper Gown Book Club #2

Hey Guys,

So it's a little later than I expected, but I've finished Kairol Rosenthal's Everything Changes and I've got to say that it's DEFINITELY worth it a read, whether you have cancer or not. Actually, I think it's a fantastic resource for friends and family members (especially younger ones) because all of the people she speaks with are so candid about their feelings.

I had originally planned on buying the book, but kind of changed my mind because I was like "Do I really want all of these cancer books sitting around the house once I'm done with treatment?" I ultimately decided that I DON'T want them later on, so I checked Everything Changes out of the library. However, I'm going to head out to the bookstore and buy my own copy because I kept coming across things that I wanted to highlight or notate to look back at later, and obviously you can't do that in a library book.

Kairol's book is fantastic because she interviewed so many different people, but ultimately settled on a few main stories to tell, with her own interspersed throughout. In addition, each chapter is vaguely themed (Insurance, Sex, Peers, Working, College, Alternative Medicine, etc...) but is concluded with a FANTASTIC set of resources related to each theme touched on in the chapter. Through an incredible amount of research, Kairol has provided with advice and contact information for all kinds of support systems from insurance help, financial aid services, support groups for young GLBTs with cancer, resources for siblings and for parenting with cancer - basically any question you might have Kairol has an answer. And, after emailing her, I found out that she is EXTREMELY prompt and enthusiastic about responding to correspondence!

One of the most insightful parts was the section relating to dating. Being single, I've wondered what it will be like dating someone new once I'm done with my treatment - especially if it's someone completely new, who I didn't know before my diagnosis. I know it might sound trivial, but for some reason it really worries me that it would be hard to introduce the topic of cancer to a date. How soon? Is cancer something you bring up on a first date? Kairol addresses this subject so gracefully - and with the help of an expert, Sage Bolte (who she calls the "Dr. Sue of the young adult cancer world"). Bolte says that you should wait until about the fourth date - long enough to know if you want to see the person for an extended period, but soon enough that there's not a real chance of making them feel like you've been withholding something from them. I like this advice. It's straightforward, it makes sense, and it gives me something tangible to think about whenever I decide to start dating.

That's one of the many things that makes Everything Changes an almost perfect resource for young adults with cancer. Kairol puts everything out there exactly how it is. Sure, there's humor (there's humor in everything) but there's no adding humor to sugar-coat what's really happening.

Thanks, Kairol, for taking the initiative and compiling such a comprehensive and ACCESSIBLE resource for all of us. Everything Changes has opened up my eyes to things I hadn't even considered.

I hope you guys can all enjoy this book as much as I did :-)

From now on, I'm going to make sure to do a new Paper Gown Book Club every Thursday - so keep an eye out for it! Next week, I'll be kicking it up a notch with the raciness and reading an article recommended in Everything Changes called "Sex and the Sickbed" by Jennifer Glaser. I've decided to alternate books and articles or short stories because even for a speed-reader like me, a book a week is a little much! (Especially if I actually want to be able to really absorb the information enough to write an entry about it and hopefully be able to comment discuss with you all)

In other news with me, I don't know if the neurontin hasn't had time to take effect yet, or if it's not strong enough, because today I was really disappointed to feel the numbness creeping up a little in my toes again. It's intermittent, and I'm definitely not fending off any impending paralysis, but I hate the "falling asleep" feeling that my toes have been getting all day. Argh.

On the upside, I've gotten approval for three of the classes for the fall - so far, I'm up to 6 credits. Definitely not a full load, but enough that I can start filling out the paperwork and officially get registered! Woohoo!

Ok. I should be getting to bed now (it's after midnight and I haven't been sleeping well) but I'll be back later on, and I can't wait to hear what you guys think about Everything Changes!

Lots of Love,


  1. I'm a huge fan of Kairol's and her book is a real slice of life. I'm thrilled you were able to find it in a library. I did a review and we actually gave some of the books away on my blog when it came out. What I find so interesting is that one book can cover your thoughts about dating and mine about parenting. I say often that there are dirty little secrets about having or recovering from cancer and I think Kairol has told many of them.

  2. hi Lauren! i haven't read that book, but i think i can relate to the story. well, it will be on my list of what whould i buy this sept.

    have a great day!


  3. Hey girl that book sounds interesting, I also remember a friend recommended me to read her books. I should get to it.
    Hope your toes feel better :O

  4. Hey Lauren,

    I've been reading your blog and I wanted to let you know that I think it is great. Your entries are interesting and you have been so courageous throughout this whole process. You Go Girl!

    I am excited to hear that you have found a passion for Arts Management. I'd love to hear more about the grad schools/opportunities you are considering.

    Let's get together when you are in Berea the week of the 30th.
    I'll give you a call.

    Love You!

  5. that books soundsinteresting. my mom had cancer in her salivary gland, fortunately its was only largley Benign, so the chances for a recurrance was low. and did the radio therapy and all that. i hope your treatment is going well. the book sounds pretty nice. many authors dont respond all that quickly. nice to hear the author writes what she really belives in . the humor of life is in its tragedy. :D i am sorta atheist. But, god bless.

  6. This is a great idea. I'm with you all the way. Go for it girl! Hmmm ... noe i"m going to have to find Kairol's book and read it.
    {HUG} tt

  7. Lauren,

    Thanks for the great review of my book. I'll add a link to it on my blog.

    And yes, I too owned books that after treatment I no longer wanted on my shelf. My solutuion - pass it on to a low income cancer clinic. They almost always have an old ikea bookshelf in the corner with donated books that mean the world to patients who cannot afford them otherwise!

    Hope you are well and stay in touch.