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A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope

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From Tom Brokaw, the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, comes a powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change—a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life. Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC From Tom Brokaw, the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, comes a powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change—a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life. Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, when back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, his run of good luck was interrupted. He received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. Friends had always referred to Brokaw’s “lucky star,” but as he writes in this inspiring memoir, “Turns out that star has a dimmer switch.” Brokaw takes us through all the seasons and stages of this surprising year, the emotions, discoveries, setbacks, and struggles—times of denial, acceptance, turning points, and courage. After his diagnosis, Brokaw began to keep a journal, approaching this new stage of his life in a familiar role: as a journalist, determined to learn as much as he could about his condition, to report the story, and help others facing similar battles. That journal became the basis of this wonderfully written memoir, the story of a man coming to terms with his own mortality, contemplating what means the most to him now, and reflecting on what has meant the most to him throughout his life. Brokaw also pauses to look back on some of the important moments in his career: memories of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York City, and more. Through it all, Brokaw writes in the warm, intimate, natural voice of one of America’s most beloved journalists, giving us Brokaw on Brokaw, and bringing us with him as he navigates pain, procedures, drug regimens, and physical rehabilitation. Brokaw also writes about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and of the vital role of caretakers and coordinated care. Generous, informative, and deeply human, A Lucky Life Interrupted offers a message of understanding and empowerment, resolve and reality, hope for the future and gratitude for a well-lived life.


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From Tom Brokaw, the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, comes a powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change—a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life. Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC From Tom Brokaw, the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, comes a powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change—a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life. Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, when back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, his run of good luck was interrupted. He received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. Friends had always referred to Brokaw’s “lucky star,” but as he writes in this inspiring memoir, “Turns out that star has a dimmer switch.” Brokaw takes us through all the seasons and stages of this surprising year, the emotions, discoveries, setbacks, and struggles—times of denial, acceptance, turning points, and courage. After his diagnosis, Brokaw began to keep a journal, approaching this new stage of his life in a familiar role: as a journalist, determined to learn as much as he could about his condition, to report the story, and help others facing similar battles. That journal became the basis of this wonderfully written memoir, the story of a man coming to terms with his own mortality, contemplating what means the most to him now, and reflecting on what has meant the most to him throughout his life. Brokaw also pauses to look back on some of the important moments in his career: memories of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York City, and more. Through it all, Brokaw writes in the warm, intimate, natural voice of one of America’s most beloved journalists, giving us Brokaw on Brokaw, and bringing us with him as he navigates pain, procedures, drug regimens, and physical rehabilitation. Brokaw also writes about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and of the vital role of caretakers and coordinated care. Generous, informative, and deeply human, A Lucky Life Interrupted offers a message of understanding and empowerment, resolve and reality, hope for the future and gratitude for a well-lived life.

30 review for A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw is a thought provoking, and tender book. I have always admired Tom Brokaw for his honest and unbiased ways and this book goes into his personal life and shows what a truly wonderful and strong character he is. A powerful message, esp to those of us that battle against problems. Maybe not cancer but other problems too that are life changing and dramatic. He gives a hope and encouragement with his calm and soothing manner. I got this book A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw is a thought provoking, and tender book. I have always admired Tom Brokaw for his honest and unbiased ways and this book goes into his personal life and shows what a truly wonderful and strong character he is. A powerful message, esp to those of us that battle against problems. Maybe not cancer but other problems too that are life changing and dramatic. He gives a hope and encouragement with his calm and soothing manner. I got this book from the library and got the audio version.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    The only reason I read this book is because my close friend was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. When I visited him in Ann Arbor I noticed someone had given him this book, though still was surprised he would read it. Our shared tastes would lean more toward Bukowski than Brokaw, the author of such irrepressibly plucky tomes as The Greatest Generation. Yikes. I have nothing against the guy. Seems like a good person, but he's just not the kind of The only reason I read this book is because my close friend was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. When I visited him in Ann Arbor I noticed someone had given him this book, though still was surprised he would read it. Our shared tastes would lean more toward Bukowski than Brokaw, the author of such irrepressibly plucky tomes as The Greatest Generation. Yikes. I have nothing against the guy. Seems like a good person, but he's just not the kind of thinker or writer I would go out of my way to read. I know I sound like a snob here, but I watched him on the news off and on for years. He's nice, okay, just not the kind of guy I would ordinarily read. Except Brokaw also was diagnosed in 2013, at the age of 73, with multiple myeloma, so this got my attention. Like my friend, Brokaw had thought himself to be aging well, in all the ways he and his doctors could discern. Then he had some back pain, and was lucky to have it diagnosed early enough as not just something requiring physical therapy, but an actual malignancy. So he could begin aggressive treatment. At 73, Brokaw was only taking a multivitamin and a baby aspirin every day. Healthy and strong. Had just come back from biking with friends in South Africa, don't ya know. I read the book for signs of what the book's subtitle promised, A Memoir of Hope, but I also read books on health issues because I don't want to be naive about the fact that I am going to die some day. How one faces catastrophic illness and the prospect of dying, that interests me. How will I do it? I don't like to think of it, but I try to periodically, often with the help of literature, which of course is often about dealing with death, one way or the other. The main "takeway" from this book is that if you are very sick, it helps if you are very rich. Brokaw admits this privilege, though he almost seems to crow about his various lifelong successes, and the opportunities that come to him because he is famous and has the money to open doors. When he is worried he flies personal jet planes to the Mayo Clinic and gets treated in NYC at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK, they call it there, Brokaw tells us, wow, an insider!). He advises having a personal advocate such as his doctor daughter to help him navigate this traumatic terrain. Though it never seems quite traumatic for the optimist Brokaw, who wants to convey the importance of never giving up, educating yourself about your disease, and advocating for yourself in treatment. Who of us can pay such an advocate? Where's my jet? I learned that while incurable, MM is now each year more treatable. Brokaw was given eight years to live, but was also told they are making advances on slowing the progress of the disease every year. He does expect to die, but bets he makes it to his nineties, and expects to die of something other than MM. But in this health care system, being rich is a distinct advantage. He can call Dr. Jerome Groopman at Harvard to get advice! I suspect Groopman will not pick up the phone when I call. Brokaw in other words, has more hope that most people, and he almost crowingly admits this, while name-dropping every famous person he has jetted the planet fishing and biking with, while along the way lightly and superficially reprising some of the highlights of his career as a broadcaster and tv anchor. The Dalai Lama, Mandela, Berlin Wall, and so on. Ho hum. Nice work if you can get it. And I am glad his cancer is in full remission now. He's a good guy, I wish him a long life. He will remind you on every page his has been a prosperous one. But money is your best basis for hope, not--our contemporary concept of the day--grit. Brokaw credits his South Dakota working class roots for his plucky attitude. Good for him. But survival from catastrophic illness has less to do with your attitude than a team of top notch medical professionals. Brokaw concludes his book: Life, what's left. Bring it on. Tom Brokaw Two six four oh. [his birthdate and signature in all the hospitals, ho hum] This is the kind of writer he is, Brokaw. Not captivating, though. . . nice. Chatty. Not pretentious, for sure. But absolutely flat and boring, for the most part, as a writer of memoir. No edge whatsoever in the book, on any page. So: I learned a few small things from this book, I got a little more hopeful for my friend, which is what I was looking for, but I was overall a little more depressed than ever about the health care system, that Michael Moore among others has made clear is deeply inequitable in this country. I'm off to look for more money, will work until I drop, maybe buy some lottery tickets. I need to get "lucky" like Brokaw.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    My preconceived notion of what I expected from this book did not come to fruition. Do admire Tom Brokaw's professional life and his other books. I did learn some about the illness, multiple myeloma, however it was mainly a lesson in American medical care available if you're a 'personality', have connections, and have unlimited resources. I know that this book was written as a 'memoir', however by the end I grew rather tired of all the name-dropping.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    I downloaded this book last night and finished it this morning. That does not bode well for quality sleep. I like Tom Brokaw. I wish him many more years of continued remission from multiple myeloma, which I have recently learned about. Cancer sucks. But it helps when you can jet off to the Mayo Clinic and have your private team of professionals and you’re a high profile patient. Right now I’m left feeling more depressed about our US health system and the inequality of care. It’s probably a I downloaded this book last night and finished it this morning. That does not bode well for quality sleep. I like Tom Brokaw. I wish him many more years of continued remission from multiple myeloma, which I have recently learned about. Cancer sucks. But it helps when you can jet off to the Mayo Clinic and have your private team of professionals and you’re a high profile patient. Right now I’m left feeling more depressed about our US health system and the inequality of care. It’s probably a better book than my rating. I’ll sit with it awhile.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Perhaps I just need to stay away from memoirs. I found this agonizing to read. I understand that he has cancer, I feel for him but he comes across as pompous and doesn't realize how lucky he is to have the resources that he does to get through this disease.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I have always enjoyed Tom Brokow's writing. In this memoir he shares his journey with multiple myeloma, from diagnosis into remission. His zest for living, while knowing he's in his final years, is quite inspiring. I sincerely wish his every hope is realized.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    Twenty one years ago, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells. He was told that MM is incurable, but eminently treatable; however, he succumbed to it just a few months later. Thus, it was with more than passing interest that I read Tom Brokaw's chronicle of his own encounter with the disease. Treatments for multiple myeloma have improved considerably in recent years, although Brokaw reports that more than 11,000 people died of it in Twenty one years ago, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells. He was told that MM is incurable, but eminently treatable; however, he succumbed to it just a few months later. Thus, it was with more than passing interest that I read Tom Brokaw's chronicle of his own encounter with the disease. Treatments for multiple myeloma have improved considerably in recent years, although Brokaw reports that more than 11,000 people died of it in 2014. One encouraging piece of news is that the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy in Arkansas "has followed 1,070 patients for more than ten years, and 783 have never had a relapse of the disease" [p. 169]. Although cancer treatments resist generalization, it seems apparent that the best success rates go to patients who can pull the right strings and afford the best therapies. Brokaw obviously has led a very privileged life -- private jets, expensive vacations in exotic places, and contacts with influential people. So, it's not surprising to learn that he was treated at the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan Kettering. He was able to make a phone call to the famed Dr. Jerome Groopman at Harvard, and another to Dr. Ken Anderson (a world-class MM researcher at Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) who quickly agreed to become part of Brokaw's team. His daughter, a physician, served as his patient advocate while helping to interpret test results couched in medicalese. And although Brokaw doesn't cite the cost of his treatment, he does mention that one of his pills cost over $500 per dose. Patients lacking such means and connections surely won't fare as well. Consequently, the title of Brokaw's book seems rather disingenuous: Even through a very serious illness, his luck held up and his life continued. Brokaw acknowledges that health care in the United States is a long way from providing equitable treatment for all citizens, but some of his recommendations reflect his isolation from the masses. For example, he writes that "one of the enduring lessons of my cancer experience is that of the need for a personal ombudsman, a physician not directly involved in the treatment but with broad knowledge so he or she can interpret the primary caregiver's approach" [p. 95]. Very well, but how many patients are in a position to arrange for such assistance? Brokaw's only specific response is that "We could have retired physicians at major healthcare systems to assist befuddled patients and their families through the maze" [p. 95]. Given the current political climate, however, that suggestion is unlikely to be implemented anytime soon. You can't really blame Brokaw for taking advantage of his resources, and, privileged or not, a patient with multiple myeloma is not to be envied. Although he doesn't dwell unduly on the unpleasantness of his cancer and its treatment, Brokaw does provide forthright descriptions of them. Remarkably, throughout much of his illness he managed to stay engaged in work, which undoubtedly helped see him through some pretty rough times. So did his wife and family. Although I found it natural to focus on its medical aspects, A Lucky Life Interrupted also covers a lot of additional autobiographical ground. The story begins in February, 2013 and ends two years later, but with its inclusion of highlights from Brokaw's lifetime of travels as an NBC News correspondent and anchor, it spans (without illuminating) a considerably broader historical period. Brokaw has long been a familiar public figure, and he has done some memorable reporting from all over the world. With a career like that, it's inevitable that he would have had many opportunities to hobnob with the rich and famous. Accordingly, Brokaw indulges in a lot of name-dropping, but there's just enough accompanying levity to keep it from becoming truly obnoxious. After all, when you've been photographed at the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama, sat down to talk with Nelson Mandela, and fist-bumped with the Dalai Lama, you've got a collection of anecdotes that would be difficult for anyone to keep under wraps. Despite having grown up under relatively modest circumstances, Brokaw never demonstrates that he really grasps the huge gulf separating his extraordinarily fortunate position from that of the average American. But at least he's not unbearably smug. Written deftly and with a (small) degree of humility plus a self-deprecating sense of humor, A Lucky Life Interrupted is a quick read that yields an interesting glimpse into the long career of a highly accomplished newsman. As the title is presumably meant to imply, the story has a happy ending. If it didn't, it couldn't have been written.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Judy Scarbeck

    First, know that I admire Tom Brokaw immensely. I've read his books about World War II and feel he is an excellent writer, journalist and person. This book, though, about his year-long battle with multiple myeloma, was not just about his experiences with cancer. He would often get side-tracked and relate stories about being in Normandy to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day, or reminisce about his on-the-scene coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also talks about the terrorist attacks on First, know that I admire Tom Brokaw immensely. I've read his books about World War II and feel he is an excellent writer, journalist and person. This book, though, about his year-long battle with multiple myeloma, was not just about his experiences with cancer. He would often get side-tracked and relate stories about being in Normandy to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day, or reminisce about his on-the-scene coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also talks about the terrorist attacks on 9/11. While all of these events are interesting, I was surprised they were included in this book about his battle with cancer. The parts of the book which were devoted to his feelings and dealings with the deadly disease are riveting. I'm not sure why he digressed with the anecdotes about other events not related to his cancer. Maybe it's just me; perhaps there was a reason why he tied-in these personal stories. I would personally have preferred if he just stuck to the topic of his battle with cancer. If you can get past these "detours" then you'll enjoy this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marla

    This was really an interesting book learning about what Tom Brokaw went through when he found out about his cancer. I've always admired Tom so I really wanted to know this information.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lidja

    Perhaps the title, "A Lucky Life" should have prepared me, but I was struck (and turned off) by the "1%er" perspective. This book, while trying to be a serious memoir, reads more like a bit of a whine by one who doesn't want to be thought of as a whiner and has lived a *very* privileged life. At one point, Brokaw emphasizes that no one can truly understand the horror of being diagnosed with cancer until one *is* diagnosed with cancer. Well, I kept thinking that this book proves that no one can Perhaps the title, "A Lucky Life" should have prepared me, but I was struck (and turned off) by the "1%er" perspective. This book, while trying to be a serious memoir, reads more like a bit of a whine by one who doesn't want to be thought of as a whiner and has lived a *very* privileged life. At one point, Brokaw emphasizes that no one can truly understand the horror of being diagnosed with cancer until one *is* diagnosed with cancer. Well, I kept thinking that this book proves that no one can truly understand the horror of coping with health issues and concurrent financial ruin until one *is* in financial ruin and unable to receive quality healthcare. Brokaw will never know this horror, although at one point he tries to mention it. He truly does have "a lucky life!" Jet-setting, boards of trustee meetings, awards shows, hob-nobbing, bicycle tours in exotic places, pheasant hunting, fly fishing...these are the activities he yearns to resume after his diagnosis. Hard to take the tragedy very seriously when the worst we read about are inconveniences of getting to the star guest's seat on John Stewart's Daily Show, rolling out of bed in the morning, and timing his entrances into buildings so he doesn't have to fight the doors himself.... It seems that his attention to the ethnicity of his healthcare workers is somehow supposed to make us believe he is concerned about the common man. Strange. This is a very quick read. The organization is interesting---parallel observations from the seasons of Brokaw's life and his treatment. It is just dripping with celebrity name-dropping and privilege--to the point that I was embarrassed for him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy Rosenblum

    This was a good book, but it would have been even better had Mr. Brokaw spent more time talking about his illness, and less time talking about all of his celebrity friends and his career accomplishments. I've read similar books written by well known people, all of which were not so self centered. Mr. Brokaw comes across as an individual who is in need of ego boosting, thus the reason for the constant references to all of the 'important' things that he's done as a journalist, and the incessant This was a good book, but it would have been even better had Mr. Brokaw spent more time talking about his illness, and less time talking about all of his celebrity friends and his career accomplishments. I've read similar books written by well known people, all of which were not so self centered. Mr. Brokaw comes across as an individual who is in need of ego boosting, thus the reason for the constant references to all of the 'important' things that he's done as a journalist, and the incessant name dropping throughout. With that said, the book offers a fluid portrayal of the 16 month ordeal he went through, from first diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma to complete remission. Mr. Brokaw does a superb job of writing about his illness and he provides hope for those suffering from the same disease. If only he had written this without such a degree of self importance, the book would be outstanding, instead of just good. It's difficult for the average layman to relate to Mr. Brokaw's experience, as he elevates himself to such a level, so as to make the average reader feel beneath it all. Regardless, since I managed to get through the book by filtering out his excess ego, I feel that it's a worthy effort by Mr. Brokaw, and I wish him well in the years ahead.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Aptly named, this memoir is the telling of not only Brokaw's experience as a cancer patient but the life that cancer interrupted. It's insightful into both his life and the disruption the diagnosis of multiple myeloma brought to it. I didn't find his "name dropping" (as some reviewers have called it) to be off putting because that is his life and so why should he try to hide it? I found his reminiscing to be interesting and show the contrast with his life during treatment and today. Having lost Aptly named, this memoir is the telling of not only Brokaw's experience as a cancer patient but the life that cancer interrupted. It's insightful into both his life and the disruption the diagnosis of multiple myeloma brought to it. I didn't find his "name dropping" (as some reviewers have called it) to be off putting because that is his life and so why should he try to hide it? I found his reminiscing to be interesting and show the contrast with his life during treatment and today. Having lost a parent to this disease I was particularly interested in the course of treatment he followed and its impact on him. It's certainly not a book for everyone but well written and I thought he stayed true to himself throughout.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    This is a memoir by Tom Brokaw, recounting his battle with MM (multiple myeloma). While the book obviously covers his own struggles, he does a good job of explaining this type of cancer as a way of possibly helping others. I saw one review that felt he was pompous and basically didn’t account for those that face this that are less fortunate and have less money. I felt just the opposite; several times he recognizes how lucky he is, knowing so many don’t have the means he does. In addition, he This is a memoir by Tom Brokaw, recounting his battle with MM (multiple myeloma). While the book obviously covers his own struggles, he does a good job of explaining this type of cancer as a way of possibly helping others. I saw one review that felt he was pompous and basically didn’t account for those that face this that are less fortunate and have less money. I felt just the opposite; several times he recognizes how lucky he is, knowing so many don’t have the means he does. In addition, he talks about the outrageous costs associated with so many of the medicines, realizing what a hardship that can be for those without the means to have good insurance. But the book is more than his bout with MM. I really enjoyed his stories about some the major events he has covered over the years, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, his time with Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, 9/11, being at Normandy for a documentary, as well as several more. It’s a short book and I’m glad I read it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elise Martin

    I read this book for obvious reasons (Multiple Myeloma diagnosis), but thought Tom Brokaw name-dropped and went on about details of his very out-of-reach-for-most-people life way too much to make this book one with which most fellow MM patients could identify.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I've always liked and respected Tom Brokaw, and now I like him even more! As a cancer survivor, this book really spoke to me. This is not just a book about his battle with Multiple Myeloma (MM), which by the way is treatable / manageable, but not curable -- at this stage, Brokaw's cancer is manageable, but also a brief history of his broadcasting career. So, just what is this thing that Brokaw refers to as MM throughout this book. According to the author (and Google), "Plasma cells that help you I've always liked and respected Tom Brokaw, and now I like him even more! As a cancer survivor, this book really spoke to me. This is not just a book about his battle with Multiple Myeloma (MM), which by the way is treatable / manageable, but not curable -- at this stage, Brokaw's cancer is manageable, but also a brief history of his broadcasting career. So, just what is this thing that Brokaw refers to as MM throughout this book. According to the author (and Google), "Plasma cells that help you fight infections become cancerous and multiply at dangerous rates, affecting bone strength, kidney function, energy. In short, good blood cells become bad blood cells and no one yet knows why." The estimated life span is eight years and out. However, some people have gone sooner and some have lived a bit longer. Brokaw hopes he lives long enough to see his grandson, Archer, through 2nd grade, because that is the age when you get your first fishing rod. The detailed description about what it's like to go through an MRI was dead on. I've done this, and it is absolute torture. There is NO WAY of escaping the grinding noise that the machine makes as it moves to scan your problem area. The point in the story where he tells his wife, Meredith, about this disease is sad, and yet, as the story progresses, we see that Meredith has a spine of steel and is someone you'd want to have in your corner if you were battling this terrible disease. I was amazed at the parallels that Brokaw was able to draw in comparison to his cancer battle, especially in regards to 9/11 and the people who declared war on America. Another interesting parallel (sometimes) and at cross purposes during other times, was Brokaw's story about his brother, Bill, and Bill's issues with Dementia / Alzheimer's. Although blood is often thicker than water, the love and support that Tom Brokaw received from friends and acquaintances was no less than amazing, and it wasn't just from famous people. Like with Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation", it was the "regular people" that gave that story its richness; the same can be said for this. When his cousins found out about his cancer, they immediately stepped up and volunteered to donate bone marrow for a transplant (luckily this was not needed). Some of the famous people who sent well wishes -- President Obama and President Bush 41, as well as Nancy Reagan. President Clinton called and encouraged Brokaw to get in touch with a doctor friend of his who was doing breakthrough work on the genome project. He also received notes, emails, and messages that he was being kept in people's prayers, including Sister Lucille Socciarelli. For those who don't know Sister Lucille, she was an instructor of Tim Russert's when he was in parochial school, as well as a speaker at his funeral. After Russert passed away, "Tommy B" inherited Sister Lucille. Statistical Fact: In 2014, it was estimated that 24,050 MM cases were diagnosed. In that same year, 11,090 died of cancer. Excellent!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruthanne Davis

    I've always admired Tom Brokaw as a reporter/journalist but now I admire him even more for his courage and his willingness to share his story. This is a book where he takes us through his incredibly painful and frightening diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma. This is a rare form of cancer and it began with bone pain which, because of his age, he assumed was arthritis. I'm sure a very common assumption. He details the steps to diagnosis and early treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Further I've always admired Tom Brokaw as a reporter/journalist but now I admire him even more for his courage and his willingness to share his story. This is a book where he takes us through his incredibly painful and frightening diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma. This is a rare form of cancer and it began with bone pain which, because of his age, he assumed was arthritis. I'm sure a very common assumption. He details the steps to diagnosis and early treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Further treatment was done in New York, where he resides with his wife, Mercedes, at Sloan-Kettering. Chemotherapy was the method of choice and it was extremely depleting in many ways such as weight loss, loss of appetite, inability to walk without a walker or cane, even routine tasks like getting out of bed became an insurmountable struggle. But what never became insurmountable was his spirit and, in the lowest of times, he used humor, support of friends and family, to keep him focused and help him cope. He frequently relates memories from his past like his being in Berlin when the wall came down. He also addresses our crisis in health care and his good fortune in having broad insurance coverage through his employer. Each two-a-day dose of his oral chemo medication cost $500! I listened to the audio version and, while the narrator was very good, I kept wishing Mr. Brokaw could have read it himself and found myself trying to imagine that familiar voice during some of the more emotional parts of the book. Mr. Brokaw has recovered to the extent that he is in remission. The disease, as all consuming as it is to the blood and bone, never does go away and he's very honest in the possibility that he may have to deal with it again someday. A very intimate and hopeful book for anyone who is dealing with this disease and a close and personal book for anyone who admires Tom Brokaw.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Randy Tramp

    There are certain people you want to be around. Tom Brokaw is one of those people. Although I've never met him, I feel I have. A few years ago, my daughter who is a manager of a cell phone store, helped a customer. That customer was Tom Brokaw. He asked about her family. She told him about me, to which he said, "I knew Art Tramp from Crofton (Nebraska)." He talked about how he'd stop at our gas station when he ate at Bogner's Steak House which was across the street. I was impressed Tom There are certain people you want to be around. Tom Brokaw is one of those people. Although I've never met him, I feel I have. A few years ago, my daughter who is a manager of a cell phone store, helped a customer. That customer was Tom Brokaw. He asked about her family. She told him about me, to which he said, "I knew Art Tramp from Crofton (Nebraska)." He talked about how he'd stop at our gas station when he ate at Bogner's Steak House which was across the street. I was impressed Tom remembered my Dad from many years ago. Tom talks about his journey with cancer. I shed tears at different scenes. Brokaw's story, charged with courage, written in detail, was interesting. Memories of Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the morning of September 11, 2001.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    There may be other people who can get a personal consultation from Jerome Groopman (How Doctors Think) and well wishes from former presidents, and I am genuinely glad Brokaw has, thus far, survived multiple myeloma, but this medical memoir seems more than a little tone deaf, starting with the abysmal subtitle, "a Memoir of Hope," when he's clearly fortunate enough to have a lot more going for him than just that.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Coale

    I love Tom Brokaw, so it's unlikely he's going to write something that I don't love. This memoir is about his diagnosis with cancer, but he discusses important historical events that he's covered with NBC. What an amazing, down-to-earth, Midwestern guy and hero. I love him.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a bit uneven, but all in all an entertaining read. The most fascinating part to me is the difference having a ton of money and connections makes (and doesn't make) in the health care world. On one hand, he has all the advantages you'd expect from being wealthy, famous and having a ton of connections (being on the board of the Mayo Clinic is convenient and having Harvard doctor friends seemingly on speed dial can't hurt). At the same time, he doesn't have a flawless journey through the This is a bit uneven, but all in all an entertaining read. The most fascinating part to me is the difference having a ton of money and connections makes (and doesn't make) in the health care world. On one hand, he has all the advantages you'd expect from being wealthy, famous and having a ton of connections (being on the board of the Mayo Clinic is convenient and having Harvard doctor friends seemingly on speed dial can't hurt). At the same time, he doesn't have a flawless journey through the health care system. He has some not-so-nice things to say about his experiences with a couple unlucky doctors. And the lack of communication and teamwork between some of the physicians treating him at times is a recurring theme. If he has those problems as a wealthy mega-star, imagine what it must be like for us common-folk! He makes a great point that one of his biggest advantages is simply having a daughter who is a doctor. She intercedes frequently and acts as his navigator much of the time. He points out how valuable this is and how great it would be if everyone had a helper like that. Very true! I need to get my kids in medical school ASAP. The other part that you can't help but notice is the endless name/event/place-dropping. I think it shouldn't be a big surprise though when you are reading a book by someone whose job it was to go to wherever big news and important people were. Some of it is quite interesting as well, and gives you a break when you are tired of hearing depressing cancer stories. Along that same vein, you hear a ton about a life that most of us could not imagine - unless your typical spring activity is biking across South America or wading through fast running rivers on fishing expeditions. It all seems very normal to him, and I think he really is a modest person at heart, but he has more adventures in a summer than 99% have in a lifetime.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I was interested in the myeloma story since we now have a diagnosis in the family. I agree with other reviewers - lots of name-dropping. Lots of “I was there when...”. Yes. We all know you were on the cusp of history. But I’m more interested in how you face your mortality. Like the rest of us - only with more money. Certainly this book condemns our unequal and unfair health care system. We don’t all have the resources and connections this author has. I skipped through a lot of the name dropping I was interested in the myeloma story since we now have a diagnosis in the family. I agree with other reviewers - lots of name-dropping. Lots of “I was there when...”. Yes. We all know you were on the cusp of history. But I’m more interested in how you face your mortality. Like the rest of us - only with more money. Certainly this book condemns our unequal and unfair health care system. We don’t all have the resources and connections this author has. I skipped through a lot of the name dropping stuff and focused on parts about treatment.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Lucky life? Yes. Some might even called it privilege. After reading the first third of the book, I realized the whole thing would continue along this name-dropping, self promoting, boringly told stream of consciousness. Obviously a very talented news anchor and reporter, his ability to write a relatable story is weak. Some paragraphs would begin with humility, only to mention how he hopped a private jet to receive care at the Mayo Clinic or called up his physician daughter for counsel. The Lucky life? Yes. Some might even called it privilege. After reading the first third of the book, I realized the whole thing would continue along this name-dropping, self promoting, boringly told stream of consciousness. Obviously a very talented news anchor and reporter, his ability to write a relatable story is weak. Some paragraphs would begin with humility, only to mention how he hopped a private jet to receive care at the Mayo Clinic or called up his physician daughter for counsel. The subtitle of the book might be better as “Finding hope because I’m extremely wealthy and well-known.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    I had to call it quits when I read," A New York financial wiz and big time foodie called regularly with offers of home cooked meals. An NBC colleague baked cookies for grandchildren visits." Oy. the name dropping and total oblivion of what the "average" person goes through, killed me. I'm a Bone Marrow Nurse. I see the sh*t those w/ mm have to go through and I don't want to discount that this happened to him. However, listening to him complain about how Sunday mornings were "especially I had to call it quits when I read," A New York financial wiz and big time foodie called regularly with offers of home cooked meals. An NBC colleague baked cookies for grandchildren visits." Oy. the name dropping and total oblivion of what the "average" person goes through, killed me. I'm a Bone Marrow Nurse. I see the sh*t those w/ mm have to go through and I don't want to discount that this happened to him. However, listening to him complain about how Sunday mornings were "especially difficult" while sitting outside a Manhattan Starbucks, watching bicyclists go by as he waited for his wife to bring him a coffee? I. just. can't.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    The events are of what happens to Tom leading up and about 1 year after he was diagnosed with cancer. This one really short at 230 pages and it is a smaller book, so really like 150 pages. The book is not one of his finest. It goes off on way too many tangents and it lacks focus, which is a surprise. Unless you love everything about Tom you can probably skip it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Miladylc

    a awesome book learned a lot and It was well done takes you back in time to world events and what Mr. Brokaw thought about them

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Mcphail-Lambert

    Much enjoyed listening to Brokaw's take on his life prior to and during his battle with cancer. Wish he had read it himself, but . . . .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Judy Birch

    A book of hope after a cancer diagnosis.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    I had seen a portion of the television special Tom Brokaw did on cancer and how it reared its ugly head in his life and was sorry I had not caught all of it. I wanted to learn more, so I picked up the book. I have always admired Brokaw, although (and this is a SMALL thing in the scheme of life) it is hard to listen to his pronunciation of Ls, but I never knew much about his personal life. He has indeed, led a lucky life, with a very happy marriage, highly successful children (who seemed not to I had seen a portion of the television special Tom Brokaw did on cancer and how it reared its ugly head in his life and was sorry I had not caught all of it. I wanted to learn more, so I picked up the book. I have always admired Brokaw, although (and this is a SMALL thing in the scheme of life) it is hard to listen to his pronunciation of Ls, but I never knew much about his personal life. He has indeed, led a lucky life, with a very happy marriage, highly successful children (who seemed not to have caused him much heartache), a long career doing something he loves and opportunities to travel all over the world, not only for his job but also with his loved ones for pure pleasure. At the age of 73, however, everything came to a halt when he discovered that he had this somewhat rare form of cancer (I forget the specific name). He details his journey from his diagnosis through his treatment to the present day, when his cancer is in remission but not cured. He can live from 7-10 years, but it is ultimately not curable. He does have luck on his side, with a physician daughter who is his advocate every step of the way, a wife who has no commitments preventing her from being at his side at all times and access to the very best of care without worry of cost. However, he reveals that even with all of this extra help, there was a lack of communication and coordination among the doctors who treated him. He rightly asks several times: "What about people who do not have access to top-notch medical treatment or the funds to get the help they need?" I thought about those people all the way through, and it brought to light the disparity among the many people who suffer from this disease. Brokaw's chemo pills cost $500 each! How unfair for those of lesser means! I had a hard time getting past that but still appreciated the story of Brokaw's bravery as he navigated his way through cancer.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Minninger

    Providing a play by play of 2 years with cancer, from diagnosis through ups and downs of treatment regimens to the hoped for maintenance program, Brokaw gives a clear voice to cancer patients everywhere, I imagine. However, I think the voice he gives to vibrant geriatrics facing their own mortality is even more poignant. With a delicate balance between nostalgia, realism, gratitude and hopefulness, Brokaw reminds us all of what is important in life and death. While the average person couldn't Providing a play by play of 2 years with cancer, from diagnosis through ups and downs of treatment regimens to the hoped for maintenance program, Brokaw gives a clear voice to cancer patients everywhere, I imagine. However, I think the voice he gives to vibrant geriatrics facing their own mortality is even more poignant. With a delicate balance between nostalgia, realism, gratitude and hopefulness, Brokaw reminds us all of what is important in life and death. While the average person couldn't possibly compete with the star struck moments of his life, Brokaw has the ability to translate those events in such a way that you recognize the same moments in yours just with far less famous people or places. Even in fame and notariety, no one escapes the process of aging or grieving and in the end the human experience is what remains if you have done things right. Perhaps no better example of this is Brokaw's testimony to losing his brother to Alzheimer's, as Brokaw himself is battling multiple myeloma. Handling the loss with tenderness, love, and humbleness, it is easy to imagine the role as head of the family that Brokaw must exhibit. While there is pointed commentary of the state of medical care in our country and the need for continued reform, this memoir is truly a personal narrative of what it is for a man to approach the end of his life with a strong desire to have lived it well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    The author admits at the age of 75, he has “moved into the neighborhood of life where there are few long-term leases.” From the first page to last, Tom Brokaw, 2.6.40, recalls his Midwest childhood, parents, family pets, his wife, children and grandchildren; along with his working family and the adventures he has been lucky enough to be a part of. I’ve long been a fan of Brokaw’s respected reporting of American events as well as those on the world stage; and enjoyed his many writings on the The author admits at the age of 75, he has “moved into the neighborhood of life where there are few long-term leases.” From the first page to last, Tom Brokaw, 2.6.40, recalls his Midwest childhood, parents, family pets, his wife, children and grandchildren; along with his working family and the adventures he has been lucky enough to be a part of. I’ve long been a fan of Brokaw’s respected reporting of American events as well as those on the world stage; and enjoyed his many writings on the soldiers and humble beginnings of these courageous men and women better known as ‘The Greatest Generation.’ However, it’s the time he has taken to share his personal story of cancer that made me sit still for five hours to finish in one sitting his latest contribution to the publishing world. As Brokaw points out, cancer is not the same for everyone, nor is the insurance or lack there-of, a one-size-fits-all plan; applauding Mayo Clinic’s trademark style of ‘shared dialogue between the patient and the relationship of a [team] of physicians,' otherwise lacking in regular health care systems. Short, enjoyable read well worth the time!

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