In this Book

summary
Wisenberg may have lost a breast, but she retained her humor, outrage, and skepticism toward common wisdom and most institutions. While following the prescribed protocols at the place she called Fancy Hospital, Wisenberg is unsparing in her descriptions of the fumblings of new doctors, her own awkward announcement to her students, and the mounds of unrecyclable plastic left at a survivors’ walk. Combining the personal with the political, she shares her research on the money spent on pink ribbons instead of preventing pollution, and the disparity in medical care between the insured and the uninsured. When chemotherapy made her bald, she decorated her head with henna swirls in front and an antiwar protest in back. During treatment, she also recorded the dailiness of life in Chicago as she rode the L, taught while one-breasted, and attended High Holiday services and a Passover seder.

Wisenberg’s writing has been compared to a mix of Leon Wieseltier and Fran Lebowitz, and in this book, she has Wieseltier’s erudition and Lebowitz’s self-deprecating cleverness: “If anybody ever offers you the choice between suffering and depression, take the suffering. And I don't mean physical suffering. I mean emotional suffering. I am hereby endorsing psychic suffering over depression.”

From The Adventures of Cancer Bitch:

I found that when you invite people to a pre-mastectomy party, they show up. Even those with small children. The kids were so young that they didn't notice that most of the food had nipples. . . . I talked to everyone—about what I'm not sure. Probably about my surgery. Everyone told me how well I looked. I felt giddy. I was going to go under, but not yet; I was going to be cut, but not yet; I was going to be bald, but not yet. As my friend who had bladder cancer says: The thing about cancer is you feel great until they start treating you for it.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. ABOUT THE BITCH
  2. p. 1
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  1. JANUARY 16. CELLS GONE WILD
  2. p. 2
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  1. MORE JANUARY 16. HEMATOLOGY
  2. pp. 2-3
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  1. JANUARY 24. HOW NOT TO TELL YOUR CLASS ABOUT YOUR BREAST CANCER
  2. p. 3
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  1. JANUARY 25. SURGEON
  2. p. 4
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  1. JANUARY 27. TANK TOP
  2. pp. 4-5
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  1. JANUARY 27. I LOVE PINK M&M’S
  2. pp. 5-6
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  1. JANUARY 31. PLASTIC SURGEON
  2. p. 6
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  1. MORE JANUARY 31. FREE DINNERS
  2. p. 7
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  1. FEBRUARY 3. WHODUNIT: TWO HOUSEHOLD MYSTERIES
  2. p. 8
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 3. TEAPOT/SOCIÉTÉ ANONYME
  2. pp. 8-11
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  1. FEBRUARY 4. JEWS, DEATH, AND TAXES
  2. pp. 11-13
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  1. FEBRUARY 6. AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN EMPIRE/BREAST GRID
  2. pp. 13-15
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  1. FEBRUARY 7. TELLING
  2. pp. 15-17
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  1. FEBRUARY 8. I AM MILKED
  2. p. 17
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 8. BENIGN!
  2. p. 17
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  1. FEBRUARY 9. DOING WELL
  2. pp. 18-22
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  1. FEBRUARY 11. ACTIVISM
  2. pp. 22-23
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 11. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
  2. pp. 23-25
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  1. FEBRUARY 12. CONFUSION SETS IN
  2. pp. 25-26
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  1. FEBRUARY 15. PREPARE
  2. p. 26
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 15. IN THE OFFICE OF THE PLASTIC SURGEON TO THE STARS/ FOLLOWING THE LUMP
  2. pp. 26-28
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  1. FEBRUARY 19. A FILLING WITHOUT A SANDWICH
  2. pp. 28-30
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  1. FEBRUARY 20. HEADING FOR LOSS
  2. pp. 30-31
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  1. FEBRUARY 22. A NERVOUS LAUGHER
  2. pp. 31-34
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  1. FEBRUARY 24. THE PARTY (IN RETROSPECT)
  2. p. 34
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  1. FEBRUARY 25. ABOUT A DAY IN WHICH I BUY A MASTECTOMY CAMISOLE AND FAIL TO SWAY AN ALDERMAN
  2. pp. 35-37
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  1. FEBRUARY 26. THE BAD GIRLS OF CANCER
  2. pp. 37-39
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  1. FEBRUARY 28. STIFF UPPER LIP
  2. pp. 39-40
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 28. THE KNIFE
  2. p. 40
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  1. MORE FEBRUARY 28. MORE KNIFE
  2. p. 40
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  1. MARCH 1. I HAVE RETURNED
  2. p. 40
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  1. MARCH 2. DRAIN BULBS
  2. pp. 40-42
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  1. MORE MARCH 2. LOOKING AT IT
  2. p. 42
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  1. MARCH 3. THE ANGEL
  2. pp. 43-44
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  1. MORE MARCH 3. THE BAD DAUGHTER
  2. pp. 44-45
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  1. MARCH 5. TELLING II
  2. pp. 45-46
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  1. MARCH 6. THE MYSTERIES
  2. p. 46
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  1. MARCH 7. ONCOLOGY (IN RETROSPECT)
  2. p. 47
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  1. MARCH 8. WHAT IS A MELTDOWN?
  2. pp. 47-48
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  1. MARCH 12. THE CANCER CARD
  2. p. 48
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  1. MARCH 13. HAPPY
  2. pp. 49-51
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  1. MORE MARCH 13. HAIR
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. MARCH 15. HEART
  2. pp. 52-53
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  1. MARCH 16. THE NEIGHBOR BOY
  2. pp. 53-55
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  1. MARCH 17. FIRST HAIRCUT OF THE YEAR
  2. pp. 55-56
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  1. MARCH 19. COVERING
  2. p. 56
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  1. MARCH 20. GENDER: HIDING THE EVIDENCE
  2. pp. 56-58
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  1. MARCH 25. WHY I HATE ELIZABETH EDWARDS
  2. pp. 58-60
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  1. MARCH 26. CHEMO BEGINS . . .
  2. pp. 61-62
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  1. MARCH 29. THE STORES
  2. p. 62
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  1. MARCH 31. LISTENING
  2. pp. 62-63
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  1. APRIL 1. TWO MILES
  2. pp. 63-64
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  1. MORE APRIL 1. EL REPLIEGUE
  2. pp. 64-66
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  1. APRIL 2. THE FIFTH QUESTION
  2. pp. 66-67
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  1. APRIL 3. PASSOVER — FIRST DAY
  2. p. 67
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  1. APRIL 4. THE FORGETTING OF ELVIN HAYES
  2. pp. 67-69
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  1. MORE APRIL 4. AN ASIDE: EDUCATION IN NICARAGUA, 1989
  2. pp. 70-71
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  1. APRIL 5. THE NEIGHBORHOOD ACUPUNCTURIST
  2. pp. 71-72
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  1. APRIL 9. THE GOVERNMENT KNOWS MUCH
  2. pp. 72-73
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  1. APRIL 10. HAIR IS A WOMAN’S CROWNING GLORY
  2. p. 73
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  1. APRIL 11. I LEFT MY HAIR AT SECOND CITY
  2. pp. 73-74
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  1. APRIL 12. WHEN IT FALLS, IT FALLS
  2. p. 74
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  1. APRIL 17. MEN WITH GUNS
  2. pp. 75-76
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  1. APRIL 19. HEAD COVERING
  2. p. 76
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  1. APRIL 20. CANCER IS BORING
  2. p. 77
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  1. APRIL 23. NOTES ON THE VISIBLE/INVISIBLE
  2. pp. 78-79
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  1. APRIL 24. FREEDOM AND DEVELOPMENT
  2. pp. 79-80
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  1. APRIL 24. HENNA, HEAD, AND ANKLE (IN RETROSPECT)
  2. pp. 80-81
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  1. APRIL 25. A CANCER BITCH BEHAVING BADLY
  2. pp. 81-82
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  1. APRIL 27. CANCER BITCH BEHAVING BADLY AGAIN
  2. p. 82
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  1. MAY 3. THE HOLTER (NOT HALTER)
  2. p. 83
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  1. MAY 14. PRAYER
  2. pp. 83-84
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  1. MAY 16. CLOAK OF INVISIBILITY
  2. pp. 84-85
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  1. MAY 19. FREE DINNERS AND FREE DINNERS
  2. pp. 85-86
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  1. MAY 21. THE EROTIC LIFE OF PROPERTY
  2. pp. 86-87
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  1. MAY 23. THE BLESSING
  2. pp. 87-89
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  1. MAY 27. POST-FUNERAL
  2. p. 89
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  1. MAY 30. HUNTING AND GATHERING
  2. p. 90
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  1. JUNE 2. LOUTS
  2. p. 90
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  1. JUNE 7. MARKS
  2. pp. 90-91
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  1. JUNE 10. LUMP
  2. pp. 91-92
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  1. JUNE 12. BLEED ME A RIVER
  2. p. 92
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  1. JUNE 13. GUILT
  2. pp. 92-93
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  1. JUNE 19. THE TONGUE . . .
  2. pp. 93-95
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  1. JUNE 24. TAKING TAXOL/I FEEL PETTY, OH, SO PETTY
  2. pp. 95-97
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  1. JULY 4. TAXOL: ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING
  2. pp. 97-98
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  1. JULY 8. PAIN AND PAIN
  2. pp. 98-99
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  1. JULY 9. SUFFERING
  2. pp. 99-100
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  1. JULY 13. THE DANCER’S POSE
  2. pp. 100-101
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  1. JULY 16. CHEMO DAY
  2. pp. 101-102
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  1. JULY 23. THE MILLION-DOLLAR BRAZILIAN
  2. pp. 102-103
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  1. JULY 25. BARRY-WATCH
  2. pp. 103-104
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  1. JULY 30. I HATE FANCY HOSPITAL
  2. pp. 104-105
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  1. AUGUST 1. QUAVER
  2. pp. 105-106
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  1. AUGUST 7. THE NEVER-ENDING END
  2. pp. 106-107
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  1. AUGUST 13. PORT REMOVAL AUTHORITY
  2. p. 108
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  1. AUGUST 24. DAMN, DAMN, DAMN
  2. p. 108
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  1. AUGUST 27. HAIR IS STILL MIA
  2. pp. 108-109
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  1. AUGUST 28. NIGHT WITH BARRY
  2. pp. 109-111
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  1. SEPTEMBER 8. SEPTEMBER SONG
  2. pp. 111-114
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  1. SEPTEMBER 11. ROSH HASHANAH
  2. pp. 114-115
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  1. SEPTEMBER 14. SINS
  2. pp. 115-116
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  1. SEPTEMBER 15. HERE COMES THE FUZZ
  2. p. 116
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  1. SEPTEMBER 16. SADNESS, THE EMPTY ROOM
  2. p. 117
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  1. SEPTEMBER 17. HOMAGE TO OUR PODIATRIST
  2. pp. 117-118
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  1. SEPTEMBER 21. BIKRAM KOL NIDRE
  2. pp. 118-120
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  1. SEPTEMBER 22. FAST
  2. pp. 120-121
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  1. SEPTEMBER 23. FOUR WOMEN, FOUR BREASTS
  2. p. 121
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  1. SEPTEMBER 25. WHAT IS MINE
  2. pp. 121-123
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  1. SEPTEMBER 29. HAIRLINE
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. SEPTEMBER 30. GENES AND HORMONES
  2. p. 124
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  1. OCTOBER 1. CANCER BITCH TURNS A CORNER AND RUNS INTO A WALL
  2. pp. 125-127
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  1. OCTOBER 7. THE CURLY-HAIRED ONCOLOGIST
  2. p. 127
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  1. OCTOBER 9. HYPER
  2. pp. 127-129
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  1. OCTOBER 15. GOOD NEWS, SORT OF
  2. p. 129
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  1. OCTOBER 16. BUZZ CUT
  2. pp. 129-130
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  1. OCTOBER 21. ALL HER LIFE
  2. p. 130
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  1. NOVEMBER 26. LOSING DAYS AND YEARS
  2. pp. 130-131
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  1. DECEMBER 1. IN MEDIAS RES
  2. pp. 131-132
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  1. DECEMBER 2. TEACHING ONE-BREASTED
  2. pp. 132-133
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  1. DECEMBER 3. LIBRARY CANCER CARD
  2. pp. 133-134
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  1. DECEMBER 9. THE FEAR
  2. p. 134
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  1. DECEMBER 19. THE PHANCY PHLEBOTOMIST
  2. pp. 134-135
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  1. JANUARY 1. THE NEW YEAR
  2. p. 135
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  1. JANUARY 4. CAUSES, NOT CURES
  2. p. 135
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  1. JANUARY 15. WORRY AND NOT WORRY
  2. pp. 135-136
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  1. JANUARY 16. ANNIVERSARY: THE RITUAL CRUSHING OF THE PILLS
  2. pp. 136-137
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  1. JANUARY 20. REPLACING, REFILLING, ENDING, NOT ENDING
  2. p. 137
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  1. JANUARY 24. ONE MASTECTOMY, TO GO
  2. pp. 137-139
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  1. JANUARY 26. WHAT SCAR? . . .
  2. pp. 139-141
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  1. JANUARY 28. THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE
  2. pp. 141-142
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  1. FEBRUARY 8. ABOUT THE BITCHES
  2. pp. 142-143
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  1. FEBRUARY 20. BLUT UND BODEN
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. MARCH 9. HOISTING A PINT OR, THE ANNALS OF POLYCYTHEMIA VERA (IN VERA VERITAS)
  2. pp. 144-145
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  1. MARCH 19. I WAS MARCHING
  2. pp. 145-147
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  1. APRIL 7. THE ARCHIVISTS
  2. pp. 147-148
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  1. APRIL 22. DEATH
  2. pp. 148-152
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  1. JUNE 1. POSTSCRIPT: BITING THE HAND THAT FED ME (POISON)
  2. pp. 152-155
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  1. NOTES AND UPDATES
  2. pp. 157-161
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. 163-164
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781587298523
Related ISBN
9781587298028
MARC Record
OCLC
503298303
Pages
170
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-08
Language
English
Open Access
No
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