Beautiful. I had sunk $110 to wake up at 4:30 a.m. on a cold, dark Sunday morning to swim a half-mile loop in frigid waters, cycle fourteen miles, and run four through slicing winds and driving rain. Three hundred others had done the same. One had just slapped me mid-stroke in the face. Another kicked me in the gut. When I came back up for air, a hand scooped a stream of Long Island Sound water into my open mouth. It tasted like scum.
It was my first triathlon. At that moment I believed it would be my last.
When a disillusioned New York attorney decides to leave the law, buy a lipstick-red convertible, and hit the road, she doesn't expect to wake up in a hospital room with a malignant brain tumor and a prognosis of one year to live. Or that ten years later, she'll be competing in a grueling triathlon.
"A meticulously written book that tells a remarkable story of not simply survival but of hard-won, bone-deep change. Lisa Reisman writes with unflinching clarity about what it means to have your life taken to the edge where, along with its possible end, you see your own flawed self. It's a testament to her tenacity, skill, intelligence and courage that she took that pivotal moment - a moment many of us would just as soon forget - and turned it into this extraordinary read. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what life is really about."
- Joan Leegant, Wherever You Go
"Those in search of another treacly cancer memoir need not even glance at Lisa Reisman's 5 Months 10 Years 2 Hours. Reisman's unflinching and moving tale puts to rest the image of patient as heroic warrior. By linking her own ordeal to the triathlon she took on to mark her 10 year anniversary, she reveals the true nature of cancer survival - not as a triumph of epic valor, but as a feat of endurance, forbearance and true grit."
- Lisa Sanders, MD, New York Times columnist and fellow cancer survivor
"Lisa Reisman's account of her ordeal reads like a noir thriller - swift, merciless, unsparing. High-strung and brilliant, she navigates her terrifying passage with swagger and wit, never mind courage. I couldn't put it down.
- Honor Moore, The Bishop's Daughter
"A gripping memoir of a horrendous diagnosis. . . Reisman personifies courage in the face of overwhelming odds."
- John Henning Schumann, MD, GlassHospital.com and frequent contributor to NPR's Health Blog "Shots"
"Lisa Reisman must have made a pact with herself to hide nothing in this triumphant story of an ordeal that few survive. This is as up close and honest as any testimony I've read, about the humbling that comes with terrible illness and the ways in which family - as always - plays its complicated role in a young woman's life."
- Rosellen Brown, Half A Heart and Tender Mercies
Lisa Reisman studied Ancient Greek and Latin at Haverford,
Oxford and Yale, and law at the University of Virginia. She
practiced law in New York for four years.
A Dean's Fellow at Columbia University's School of the Arts,
she also has been supported by fellowships from the MacDowell
Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and Wesleyan University,
and a work study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers'
Currently she is a freelance reporter and manages a local band.
5 Months 10 Years 2 Hours is her first book.