Dirty Bomb Shell. from Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous

By Greschner, Debra | Journal of Singing, January/February 2012 | Go to article overview

Dirty Bomb Shell. from Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous


Greschner, Debra, Journal of Singing


Lorna J. Brunelle, Dirty Bomb Shell. From Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2010. Paper, x, 328 pp., $19.99. ISBN 978-1-4567-1145-0 www.dirtybombshell.net

Lorna Brunelle, a graduate of Boston Conservatory in voice, was juggling a multifaceted career when she felt an unusual pressure in her throat while singing in 2004. The subsequent diagnosis represented a singer's nightmare: papillary thyroid cancer. Despite her physicians reassurances that it was a "good" cancer-that is, treatable-Brunelle found small solace in the descriptor as she was swept into the full-time job of fighting a disease that was centered dangerously close to the larynx. The treatment plan for Brunelle consisted of surgical removal of the thyroid, followed by doses of radioactive iodine. The inspiration for the title was the list of "don'ts" handed to her when she began 131 Iodine Therapy; the treatment would make her radioactive to the degree that Homeland Security personnel operating radiation detection equipment could question her. Brunelle, with an indefatigable sense of humor that is constant throughout the volume, observed that she had gone from being a bombshell in her twenties to a toxic, "dirty" bombshell in her thirties.

Brunelle offers a highly personal perspective of thyroid cancer. Dirty Bomb Shell is not sugar coated in either content or language. The writing is as raw as the emotions experienced by the author, and includes slang, strong discourse, and profanities. Brunelle's honest presentation, however, lends valuable insight into the thoughts and emotions of a cancer patient. …

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