A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a junky cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and what ifs, and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma, with one exception-she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark. With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family's life normal, when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor's unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others' help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she wends her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.
Christine Shields Corrigan, a two-time cancer survivor, wife, and mom, gives voice to the beautiful ordinary in her lyrical and practical essays. Her work about family, illness, writing, and resilient survivorship has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and other publications including, The Brevity Blog, Dreamer’s Creative Writing and Anthology, Grown & Flown, The Potato Soup Journal and Anthology, Purple Clover, Ravishly.com, Wildfire Magazine, and the Writer’s Circle 2 Anthology. Her essay, Not Back to but Forward is included in (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic forthcoming in 2021 from Pact Press.
A graduate of Manhattan College and Fordham University School of Law, Chris built a successful career as a labor and employment law attorney and as a legal writer and editor. After surviving cancer in midlife, Chris became a freelance writer. She also teaches creative nonfiction writing for an adult education program, provides writing workshops for cancer support groups, and serves on the programming committee of the Morristown Festival of Books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Christine Shields Corrigan refers to cancer as the Beast; I think of it as more as the bogeyman no one wants to face. Just uttering the word cancer strikes fear in the minds of anyone, regardless of age. And Christine was correct when she stated in Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists— “Cancer is an equal opportunity disease. No one is immune, and we’re all the same when it hits.”
I’ve never faced the Beast or the bogeyman; therefore, I didn’t realize how many side effects there were to the chemo drugs. I was aware of the hair loss and memory issues, but the vast number of other side effects astounded me. I couldn’t imagine walking a mile, let alone an inch, in Christine’s shoes — any cancer patient’s shoes for that matter. The physical, emotional, and psychological toll it takes on a person seems almost too much to bear.
For those facing the Beast, I encourage you to read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. Christine shares tips on what helped her cope with specific side effects of the treatments. She also included resources for books, bras (after reconstruction), tattoo artists, and much more.
If you are a friend or family member facing the evil C-word, you should read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. It will give you great insight into what your loved one is facing or will be facing.
Donate today: American Cancer Society St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Again:... is a very touching true story about the author's struggle with a devastating cancer diagnosis twice in her life - 0nce as a teenager, then as a younger middle-aged adult. While writing her memoir, Christine reflects on her experience as a young teenager and relates to those feelings and experiences to her adult situation. She also brings out the differences in her experiences. In addition, she offers valuable insights as to what others should do and say, and not do and say, to those struggling with cancer and accompanying treatments. Insights are also given concerning the strains this disease (or many other diseases) can invoke on one's family. It has an impact on the family during, and often, long after its duration. These situations can bring a family closer together, yet, they can also destroy a family's closeness. Christine finalizes her book with suggestions concerning the aftermath of "the cancer experience" and how to courageously move on with life. This is a valuable book for all to read. Very few will escape cancer. Either oneself, a loved one or a friend will be struck with this grievous illness. This book can be a strength to anyone directly or indirectly experiencing "the Beast".
"AGAIN" by Christine Shields Corrigan tells the story of a woman moving through cancer . . . twice. This is more than a memoir of a life lived. This is a tender journey of a life bruised by the "beast." What makes this book different is the VOICE of the narrator. Corrigan does not pull back when it comes to the truth. She tells the details--sad, rough, harrowing, and scary. But she also includes the many kindnesses of friends and family and the importance of saying "Yes" to these same kindnesses. She teaches us of lessons learned through sickness. Her understanding of the needs of others who may travel a similar journey makes this book a powerful read. Every page threads hope, forgiveness and strength into an inspiring story.
Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists is most definitely, not a book that I would normally read, but I have to tell you – I am so glad I did.
I am a huge child cancer advocate. I have family that has passed from cancer, but was none the wiser until after they passed (long story short, they were from my bio dad’s side. ‘Nuff said.) I have never known someone personally who was battling “the Beast”. I haven’t witnessed anyone going through it, but I know enough about it to know how unfair it is for children – hence the child cancer advocacy.
This book opened my eyes to the “behind the scenes” of “the Beast” – from doctor appointment to biopsy to waiting for results to treatment plans to treatment to surgeries. The pain. The anxiety. The fear. The unknown. The waiting.
The story was real, and in a sense, a little scary because of the reality of cancer. I didn’t find it dark, I found it to be a real life look at one someone battling “the Beast” goes through. Chris shared her thoughts, her worries, her fears, her good and her bad. It was a real life journey with someone diagnosed and treating breast cancer.
My favorite part of the book are the “Practical Reality” tips that she provided. Things you can say (or shouldn’t say) to someone diagnosed with cancer; things you can do for those diagnosed and going through treatment for cancer; symptoms; treatments for those symptoms; and terminology for things that come with diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
When it come to “things you can do”, I tell you what – giving this book as a gift is at the top of my list. I think this would be a great gift for someone newly diagnosed, scared of what is to come. Chris shares her journey so others can have an idea of what to expect and I know for me, that would ease a lot of anxiety of the “what ifs” and what I may face while going through treatment.
Again, Christine's book about her cancer experience, has changed me in a profound way. It was real, honest, and raw - making this the perfect book for individuals going through a tough time.
A bit about me, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 19. I went through 6 months of chemo which didn’t quite get all of the cancer. A few months later, my doctors presented me with a choice - a stem cell transplant or radiation (to my chest). I chose radiation for very emotional reasons. Mainly that my mental health didn’t seem like it could go through a strenuous stem cell transplant.
I also chose radiation because of the two, it was shorter and seemingly easier. I saw no downfall to radiation treatments (at least as it compared to other treatments I had done or was offered). In reality, we know that radiation isn’t « easy. » But I didn’t know this when I accepted the treatments.
A few years later, while doing my studies in social work specializing in oncology, I found articles detailing the long term side effects of receiving the radiation I had undergone.
All this to say, I have lived in fear for years... anticipating that one day, I would face a secondary cancer linked to the treatments that had been administered. This led to many discussions with my care team to help me plan for the possibility of this side effect (ex. I start yearly mammograms at the age of 29).
Still, I could not shake the fear of possibly having to go through the cancer experience again.
That is, until I read your words.
Your words, your book, your story... they have helped me see that my biggest fear is something that can be managed if it comes into my life. It wouldn’t be easy, as I’m sure your experience wasn’t. But it would be possible.
The Author Brings Readers an Honest Look at Her Life and Experiences with Cancer. Readers will find an authentic, open, honest memoir from the author as she shares her experiences in battling cancer not once but twice in her life. While her first bout with cancer came as a teen--being guided and cared for by her family--her second bout came to her as a working mother caring for and guiding her own family. The author shares the good and bad memories--and the points that defined, changed or redirected her course at times. The emotions, honesty and advice that she shares present the realities of facing cancer--yet do so in a way that inspires and guides readers.
A Book of Healing--For Author and Reader. Facing cancer a second time forced the author to face the past and learn to cope and heal with both the similarities and differences of the two rounds of cancer battles she endured. While she notes that writing the book allowed her to heal emotionally and put her life into perspective--readers can expect the same as they follow her journey and realizations and experiences. As we share her challenges and triumphs, we also receive many pieces of real-world advice and insights into so many aspects of the illness and recovery.
Would I Recommend Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists by Christine Shields Corrigan? The author writes this memoir in a very genuine, relatable manner that is impossible to put down. Readers will become a part of her life's journey. I think this is a must-read for anyone facing cancer--whether personally or as a caregiver for a loved one. It is truly an inspirational and practical guide toward healing both through the cancer diagnosis and treatment process and beyond.
I received a copy of this book from the author or publisher for use in a blog review. All opinions are my own.
Beautiful is not a word associated with cancer stories. Beautiful is not a word I have ever used to describe anything written by a lawyer. I may have to adjust that because this book, and the honest story within, are truly Beautiful.
Written in easy flowing, conversational tone, this is a true story and one that will benefit not only cancer survivors, or warriors, but also anyone touched by cancer and other life altering diseases. (That includes all of us.)
Chris tells of two times in her life. She was diagnosed as a teen with cancer. At that time she did not understand much of what was happening and just went along with what the authority figures (parents and doctors) told her. As an adult, she is terrified when, once again, she gets notified that cancer has invaded her body and is trying to take over her life.
This is not just a story about her disease and all she goes through, this book is an inspiration to others that you are not alone. Others are willing to help you, but you must advocate for yourself and find them. Included is an amazing collection of resources.
This book also has some amazing inspiration for persons wishing to follow their writing dreams. I sat down to read just a portion of the book while waiting for something else and continued reading for hours. I felt a connection to her story, and was pulling for her to have a happy ending. The lesson I heard loud and clear is to appreciate today and don't put off the journey to your dreams.
This is a touching memoir told honestly and without seemingly holding much back. The format immediately caught my interest, I’m sure because I keep track of chores through lists. Each chapter has a To-Do list under the heading.
How Not to Tell Your Kids You Have Cancer
To Do 3/11 to 3/13
Take Tom to meet Get pathology report again Lunch w/Athena Tell Kids"
This unique introduction to each chapter pulled me in, as did Corrigan’s entire story of finding she had cancer for a second time.
She goes back and forth sharing the first time she was diagnosed when she was 14, and then at 48 when she learns the bad news a second time
The story is told in what feels like a very honest, true, emotional rollercoaster ride that consists of getting on the ride, attempting to survive it while it’s happening, and then after disembarking from it discovering what might be helpful.
It’s a book worth investigating, for sure.
My Concerns None
Conclusion Corrigan has constructed a well-written, informative memoir that won’t have any trouble holding your attention. Though it is honest and many times hard to read, I feel it’s a good tool for those suffering with cancer, and those who need to know what it’s all about so they can be understanding and helpful when needed.
My thanks to iRead Book Tours and the author for a copy of this book and the ability to post a review without stipulations.
Christine Shields Corrigan’s Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists is a fascinating read. She tells about her being battling cancer twice and how she was able to pull through it. As teen, she fought Hodgkin's lymphoma and then at forty nine, she finds herself once again struggling cancer. Only this time she is a mother and a wife. She discusses her disease, her family, her fears, her treatments and her surgery. She had to find a new way of having to cope and on how to get out of it alive.
At times, Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists was very emotional for me. As a wife and mother whose husband battled his own cancer, I knew what it can do a family and children. It is very stressful for all. I definitely was able to understand. Like us, she had to learn how to ask for help. It is so important to find the perfect support system and comfort during those difficult times.
I am giving Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists a very well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy reading memoirs and biographies. Especially, ones about someone’s cancer journey. I am sure so many will find Christine Shields Corrigan’s tale to be inspiring and filled with much needed hope.
I received a paperback copy of Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.
All I can say is WOW! I have many friends who have told me they are breast cancer survivors. I have others who have gone through cancer (but from a distance), and I know others who did not make it. My dad passed of cancer when I was in my 20's and I have a cousin far away who is going through it now. Despite all of this, I honestly have never been intimately involved in someone's journey with cancer. Nor has anyone really spoken opening with me about what this journey was like on a day-to-day basis. This was my look inside, behind the front, beyond the distance. And the view was eye-opening.
I interview people on their life journeys. It's my twitch. What amazed me here is as I read, I felt like I was sitting with the author, hearing her story, seeing these moments. That is not easy to create in the written word, so well done to Corrigan. I came away with a better understanding of what those facing cancer treatment are going through and more aware of how I can support and help in the future.
I looked up the statistics on cancer before I wrote this and what I discovered was that they project 1 out of every 2 people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. For me, this makew AGAIN: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists a must read for everyone. We need honesty. We need real stories. We need to understand this journey whether for ourselves or for someone we love.
As a girl, Christine Shields Corrigan had cancer--but she didn't know it. She knew she was ill and thought that a lump on her neck was what was being treated. She suffered pain of the illness and the intense treatments, but her family kept from her the true nature of her disease, calling it only "lymphoma", which as a sheltered girl she didn't associate with cancer. (In fact, it was Hodgkin's lymphoma.)
Years later, as a married mother of two, she is diagnosed with breast cancer. In undergoing the treatment of this cancer, she uncovers the facts of her childhood illness--and grapples with the emotional realities that she'd stuffed down for so many years.
She also learns that accepting the help and love of those around her is important to her healing journey. While a memoir, the book also offers practical tips offered to those undergoing cancer treatment. I'm personally more focused on the mind-body connection and nutrition in healing, but still I appreciated much of what she has to say.
I requested an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of this book through NetGalley because the writer is in a few of the online writers' groups I'm in, and her comments compelled me to read her story.
I am picky about what book to read. This book hits you in the heart. Reading this book helped me more understand the disease, the treatments, and the survivors of this awful disease. At age 35, I started having my mammogram. It is a little early to go through compared to normal women. My eldest sister from my Mom's side had breast cancer. I am not gifted on the front and it is painful to get through the process but, what makes me strong to do it because if I have it, then help is in my way. My mammogram is scheduled for next month.
I cried while reading this book. The pain of what they have been through in everything is not easy. It made me even stronger and understand what breast cancer is about. This book is so emotional and educational. I am so happy and proud of all the survivors. My hats off to them. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law passed away while dealing the breast cancer this month. She did not get the helped while living in the Philippines. Being poor and no insurance sucks big time and I felt bad for the family that she left behind.
I just finished reading this most incredible memoir by Christine Shields Corrigan, entitled Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. Christine’s story of receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer several years ago, and it’s a reawakening of buried memories of her battle with Hodgkin’s disease as a teenager, is beautifully interwoven with stories about her parents, loving husband, and three children. Her honest recounting of the rollercoaster of emotions, the plethora of medical appointments, and her determination to deal with “the beast” on her terms, are told with love, determination, bravery... and, yes, lists. I highly recommend Again to anyone who has been a cancer patient, and to those of us who have lived with a loved one dealing with cancer, and to anyone who knows someone who’s battling the disease. Uplifting and down to earth and at times laugh out loud humorous, Again should be at the top of everyone’s list.
A breast cancer diagnosis is a harrowing one for any woman, and Christine Shields Corrigan is no exception to that rule. Confronted by her own mortality at only 49 years old, she has to navigate a daunting world of checkups, chemotherapy, mothering her children and staying the upbeat wife that she has always been. But in attempting to cover up her diagnosis by pretending everything in her life is perfectly fine even when it is imploding behind the scenes, Christine has to learn how to lean on others and that it is okay as well as human to ask (and accept) help of others. This book was visceral and emotional, and it brought the realities of life after a cancer diagnosis out of the shadows. My own family has been riddles with breast cancer, so this was a extremely poignant story for me. I wept and laughed with the author as she recounted her trials and triumphs and wish more people would read this so they can get a glimpse of what life is truly like.
I heard Christine speak before having read her book as I ordered it too late. She was such an inspiring speaker and her book was also very inspiring. While I don’t have any personal experiences with cancer the book was still amazing and truly inspiring.