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This irreverently humorous book describes Barbara Barrie's 30-year experience first with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and later with carcinoma of the rectum. Despite significant symptoms, Barrie denied her illness for so long that she developed a large tumor. In April 1994, when Barbara was in her early 60s, she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Ten months after her first surgery at Columbia Presbyterian, another surgeon at New York Hospital performed a second, successful colostomy. During this period, in which Barrie also underwent chemotherapy and radiation, she rehearsed and appeared in a play and on several television shows (Suddenly Susan), while continuing to entertain friends, attend the theater, play tennis, and spend weekends with her husband on Fire Island. Throughout, she insisted on her privacy, and few people in her business or personal life knew what she was going through. Then, a humiliating accident on a Manhattan bus inspired Barrie to go public with her story. She bares her soul and her body with considerable panache. Even the details of how to care for a colostomy and perform the necessary daily irrigation are told with frankness and good humor.