"By page three of the introduction to Everything Changes, I wanted not only to devour the rest of the book, but I wanted to call Kairol up, get to know her, and (if we weren't both already married) see if I could sleep with her. Then the book got really good. It is, without doubt, the most forthright, emotionally sophisticated, and plain-old valuable book of its kind I've seen. The book defines and exemplifies what the verb 'fight' really means: to arm, prepare, and engage in sustained effort to gain a desired end. If that's your mission, this is your instruction manual."
—Evan Handler, actor and author of Time On Fire and It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive (and a guy who got well from acute myeloid leukemia in 1985)
On a shoestring budget and with tape recorder in hand, Kairol Rosenthal emerged from treatment and hit the road in search of other twenty- and thirtysomething cancer survivors. From the Big Apple to the Bible Belt, she dusted the sugarcoating off of the young adult cancer experience, exposing the gritty and compelling stories of twenty-five complete strangers. The men and women in Everything Changes confess their most vulnerable moments, revealing cancer experiences they never told anyone else—everything from what they thought about at night before going to bed to what they wish they could tell their lovers but were too afraid to.
With irreverent flare and practical wisdom, Everything Changes includes stories, how-to resources, and expert advice on issues that are important for young adult cancer patients, including:
Dating and sex
Medical insurance and the healthcare system
Faith and spirituality
Employment and career
Fertility and adoption
Friends and family
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 27, Rosenthal, a choreographer and now a patient advocate for young adults with cancer, crisscrossed the country, interviewing other young cancer victims. Rosenthal s text is part guidebook, part true confessions (including her own), as she segues between intimate conversations and sound advice on topics ranging from dating and parenting to working the health-care system and coping with pain. The interviews are riveting and reveal a youthful perspective on cancer (one girl goes to chemo wearing goth makeup; others worry about when to confide in a lover). As she talks with 25 young adults of varying backgrounds, the author points out that many are not diagnosed until their symptoms are advanced, often because they ve been dismissed by doctors who say they are too young to have cancer, or because they have lost their health insurance during the transition from college to jobs. Rosenthal notes that 70,000 young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 25% do not survive. Though at times the volleying between Rosenthal s own story and those of her subjects is disorienting, the work as a whole is poignant, raw and informative. The text will provide needed support and valuable resources for young adults, their parents, friends and caregivers.