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Most Of Me: Surviving My Medical Meltdown [Paperback]

Robyn Michele Levy
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2011

The imaginative, hilarious, and moving memoir of a woman coping with both Parkinson's disease and breast cancer.

At age forty-three, Robyn Levy was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and, eight months later, with breast cancer. With irreverent and at times mordant humour, Most of Me chronicles 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.

Levy is 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," Levy is sorry that the party is over, especially when she gets a prescription instead of a grab bag.

Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Most of Me offers a unique glimpse into a creative mind, an ailing body, and the restorative power of humour and fantasy.

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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. —Terri Schlichenmeyer, My Kawartha


One nipple up! A must-read for all breast cancer survivors. —Ms. Mastectomy


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


An astonishing debut from a writer adept at handling the delicate balance between laughter and tears. —Cori Howard


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


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


. . . 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. —Georgia Straight


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 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


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,


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. —Kirkus Reviews


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. —Library Journal


About the Author

Robyn Michele Levy is a visual artist, radio broadcaster, and writer. Her paintings can be found in private and public collections around the world. Her radio work includes documentaries, commentaries, poetry, and sketch comedy for CBC Radio. Her writing has been published in the Vancouver Sun, the Georgia Straight, and the Vancouver Courier, among other publications, and she has also dabbled in stand-up comedy and slam poetry. She lives with her family and her remaining body parts in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must read Sept. 29 2011
By Helen
Robyn writes with frank honesty concerning her medical problems but always with a sense of humor. She takes the reader through her illnesses and shares with us her journey as she learns to cope with the reality of her condition. This book reflects Robyn's bravery and the closeness of her family. This book is highly readable and a must for anyone facing difficult life issues. We have recommended it to many friends and relatives.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enormously Satisfying Sept. 25 2011
By brettm
I first heard of Robyn Levy in a CBC radio interview with herself and her father discussing the trials and tribulations of living with Parkinson's Disease. Both Robyn and her father have Parkinson's and in addition Robyn has had to deal with breast cancer. Despite a medical history that would cripple most of us Robyn's enthusiastic, and above all humorous, approach to dealing with medical uncertainly has led to her writing this book. I ordered it right away.

It's unusual that a book affects me in such a profound manner however Robyn writes with fierce honesty and a seriously deranged but delicious wit. The prose alternates between the realities of having serious medical problems and her very funny reactions to dealing with the enormity of the situation. I found the book a page turner and read the book in virtually one sitting.

I could go on and on describing a very readable and enormously satisfying book that will appeal to a wide range of readers but don't want to give away any of the juicy bits.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll laugh! You'll cry! And you'll love it! Oct. 12 2011
By Rudy
All page- turners have something that pulls you along. The thread that tugs throughout Robyn Michele Levy''s book ' Most of Me -- is its engaging authenticity. Robyn''s stories occupy that universal zone of mixed emotions where you can''t help laughing and crying at the same time. This book does not leave you with the detached wonder of how someone could ever cope with these two diseases; ' instead, it transports you to a place where you experience the real possibility of creating an unconventional response to otherwise daunting obstacles. While the supporting roles of the Canadian medical system, family and an expansive web of friendships are evident throughout, it is Robyn''s artful mix of honesty and imagination that gives you the feeling you are accompanying her on a playful, painful journey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly funny, beautifully triumphant Oct. 8 2011
By Xyz
There is no other book like this one, but then, there is only one Robyn Levy. Most of Me had me simultaneously laughing, tearing up, in awe of the unselfconscious honesty, and cheering on the author. A woman who has mastered the art of living one day at a time, because she both had to and chooses to, who takes the reader through her struggles and her learning process with clarity and a humour that simply has to be read to be appreciated. It is rare that a book can convey such emotional depth... Yet still be screamingly, wet your pants funny. A true must-read, from start to finish. A very impressive debut, and i will be first in line for her next book.
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