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It’s Always Something


As for me, I believe that there are as many diseases as there are people, and the variety of illnesses is impressive. That is why we should be ready to cope with them, to be strong and aware of possible illnesses and ways of living with diseases or accepting the challenge and fighting them.


This work is dedicated to Gilda Radner (1946-1989) and her autobiography “It’s always something”. It is worth admitting that Gilda Radner is widely known as an American comedian and actress. Most of all, she became popular for the show Saturday Night Live, but suddenly her career was destroyed because she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Of course, it influenced her life greatly and under these circumstances, she wrote a touching book “It’s always something”. It was curious to discover that the title of the book was inspired by Gilda’s father. It was his favorite expression and he used to repeat it many times in his everyday life.

I can assure you that this book captures your mind from the first pages, the interest is growing rapidly and all you are thinking is what happens next. I just swallowed the whole book. It impressed me greatly and even after reading I cannot stop thinking about it. I made me realize that all of today’s problems are just unimportant, simple everyday troubles.

Eating Disorder, Ovarian Cancer and Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

As for me, I can hardly imagine such a difficult situation when a doctor informs you about grave problems with your health and voices the diagnosis – cancer. Fortunately, I have not had such a terrible experience, but I think that to hear such things will upset everyone to the depth of their soul. In such cases, a number of questions will arise in the head. I believe that it is a real shock. This is what happened to Gilda. She was in despair and she was asking herself many questions like: “Why did I get this? How could this nightmare be happening? What did I do in my life that would cause it? ” and so on.

At first, she could not even realize that she had such serious problems with health. Suddenly, recognition of the illness came to her when she came back home from the hospital and saw her reflection in the mirror in her room. It is reflected in the book with these words: “It was the first time I was frightened. It was the first time I actually feared what might happen to me – what was happening to me” (Radner 48). She was devastated; she was crying and feeling ugly. Then she hated everyone on television, even her friends.

The book was written while she was in remission. It reveals her personal struggle with the illness, her attitude to it and her relations with the husband, doctors, relatives and patients with the same health problems. Nevertheless, she tried to remain optimistic and funny during all her life even with cancer. In the book, we can find the following statement that shows her huge desire and the will to live: “Not surviving never entered my head at all” (Radner 48). By the way, there is a great number of such thoughts that prove her strong spirit and love for life. Also, the author teaches us to become the participant of the war with the illness; to struggle and not to give up.

Moreover, one of the chapters is called “War”. This part of the book is full of hope and urges to be active instead of being a “helpless passive victim” (Radner 79). To say the truth, I cannot believe that people with cancer can remain calm and happy even for a minute. As for me, it seems difficult to understand the fact that in such circumstances Gilda was trying to find pleasant moments in her everyday life. Also, I admire her choice of the method of struggle. As for me, I liked the way how she was visualizing the picture where her cells were clean.

First of all, I would like to admit that I revere such people. Sometimes, I thought that this book was written mostly for the people living with cancer, so as to encourage them and to give hope of recovery. But now I realize that healthy people should also read this book to know and remember the value of life, to appreciate all its moments, to teach ourselves to be grateful for the opportunity to live. It is like a helpful method of emotional treatment because it explains how to remain brave and high-spirited in spite of the illness.

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Of course, her career as a comedian made a great contribution. She was a big television star. She was used to living with humor and even made it her therapy for the disease. I liked her positive thinking. We can see a lot of examples through the entire book: “I was still the clown, still wanting to be liked… to be loved…to be funny…to perform” (Radner 46). Gilda also learned from Joanna not to let her life stop. She was battling cancer.

Moreover, she was trying to see funny things about it. We can see another example of her high spirit in her attitude to the nurses in the hospital. She was trying to make them laugh, she wanted to be a comedienne, and she wanted to be funny for everyone. She was not going to accept that awful fate, she wanted to be funny again, to live a normal life and to make jokes as she was doing it before cancer. In general, before this awful diagnosis, she had been living as if in her own comedy show that in the end transformed into a tragedy.

I strongly believe that every person should express his or her feelings so that not to keep the pain inside. For example, a good way of getting rid of it is to cry or scream to your heart’s content. The same things were done by Gilda after the chemo treatment. I agree with Joanna’s statement from the book: “Think of crying as just another way of eliminating the chemicals” (Radner 71). Also, I agree that visualization of yourself as a healthy and happy person will give results, but, at the same time, I am convinced that fate is fate, and nobody can escape from it no matter how optimistic you are.

To say the truth, before reading this book, I believed that cancer had a strong association with death. It was just a question of time. In addition, I think that such thought appears in almost everyone’s head.

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Successful Comedian and Actress

Being a successful comedian, it is very hard to accept such terrible news and to realize that your previous life belongs to the past and now you are a cancer patient. It is hard to believe that in one moment your life is destroyed. All your dreams and future plans became unreachable, all your thoughts are now directed at cancer and, in the bargain, you have miserable chances of continuing to live.

As I have understood, the cancer journey made her feel that life and death stand beside and these notions are closely related. I would like to add that we are not responsible for everything that happens to us. Sometimes life brings us painful surprises, which we cannot get under control and or change the situation. We are not immortal, that is why we should think about which way to choose: to lead a healthy life or vice versa, head for different diseases.

I want to admit that Gilda’s book made me more sympathetic and more grateful for the people who are close and support me, belief in me and love. No one knows how your life can be changed in one moment. You expect something, believe in the future, imagine it, and wait for some events but suddenly, as it was in Gilda’s case, everything goes wrong. The illness breaks all your plans and dictates its own rules, teaches you to live in another world – the world of hospitals, doctors, drugs, pain, helplessness, loneliness and endless hope for recovery. The illness even proposes new friends– the same patients as you.

I think that the same problems make people closer and friendlier with each other. As you remember, first Gilda wanted to refuse the proposition to go to the Wellness Community, but after the first meeting, she changed her mind and was willing to share her emotions and happiness with others. To my mind, the most powerful thing about this community was the ex-patients who were telling inspirational stories of their recovery.

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To sum up, the autobiography It’s always something by Gilda Radner is very interesting and, at the same time, it makes me sad and more sympathetic toward such people. I hope that this book will help other patients with cancer to struggle and not give up in any way.

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