Meredith Norton thought she had reconciled herself to certain oddities of life in France. She could accept and even be amused by being mistaken for a prostitute by half the male Parisian population. She got used to dodging dog feces while walking everywhere. She even acquiesced when the French government wouldn’t allow her to name her son Chance (“too feminine”). But when four unconcerned French doctors examined her engorged, rash-covered breast and told her to put a poultice on it – well, Meredith had enough.
Wisely Meredith scheduled an appointment with her own physician on what was to be a quick vacation in California; needless to say her vacation took a decided turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a very lethal and aggressive form of cancer, and given only a 40% chance of survival.
Old friends, former friends, crazies on the street, family members and her husband (in a mad dash from Paris) rushed to offer support, love, advice, prayers, “disasteroles” and an unwelcome deluge of Lance Armstrong books. As for the newly-minted cancer patient, the side effects of chemotherapy and surgery were nothing compared to the heart-rending knowledge that if she were to die, her toddler son would not remember her.
A cancer memoir unlike any other, Meredith is by turns scathing, bitter, sarcastic, peevish, neurotic, and above all hilarious as her experience as a patient allows her to digress on the dilettante’s life she’s led and the assorted characters she’s met. No, her account of the mouse-dressing taxidermist who lived in a tree house doesn’t really relate to her cancer, but in Lopsided the fear and poignancy of being diagnosed with a life-altering disease is always balanced by the author’s genuinely amusing take on her own foibles and the absurdities of life.
Lopsided : how having breast cancer can be really distracting by Meredith Norton