The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams (Book Summary)

Nearly everybody is influenced by cancer one way or the other. It’s a deadly killer, with most of its victims experiencing an unhurried and aching disdain that reduces their energy and courage, however, it offers the victims some time to bid their farewell and have a bizarre half-life. 

After Yip-Williams who is the author of this book was identified to have colon cancer when she was thirty-seven and she fought through this nightmare. However, that was not everything. Julie’s experience created a lengthy catalog of amazing events which are enough to contain 3 lifetimes in this world. Made up, they produced a strong and memorable life tale that might affect the most hard-hearted person as well.

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Chapter 1 – Yip-Williams’ grandmother attempted to kill Julie because she was blind from her birth.

Yip-Williams came to this deafening planet and a noticeable deep disturbance. There was an intense Cold War, and Vietnam, her home country, was the focus of the most lethal proxy war. 

Julie was around the south of Vietnam and Julie’s family, being originally Chinese, ultimately was on the suffering party of that Civil War in Vietnam. As the war increased, they ran from their house around Tam Ky to go and hide around Saigon’s southern capital.

In the year 1975, the war ended at the time Saigon lost against the communist forces of the North. Julie’s family went back to their home in Tam Ky. 8 months after, which was on the 6th of January 1976, the author named D. L. Thanh opened her eyes to this world. She was later recognized by the Americanized, marriage name: J. Yip-Williams.

However, some things were not correct with little Julie.

At the age of 1, when she was, her grandmother held her for the first time. She was a strong, dominant woman who wanted authority and infused horror. Staring at her, she saw a strange whiteness inside her pupils. She waved one hand above Julie’s face; however, Julie didn’t follow her hand gesture. Julie had inborn cataracts, and Julie cannot see.

Her grandmother called Julie’s parents as she jumped into an aggressive outburst. Julie would experience a sad and terrible life, cannot marry, and cannot look after herself. Julie would not add anything to her family either domestically or financially, and even following the family member’s death, she would need to be a beggar outside. So, what about the fame of her family? Rumor would go around that their family was under a curse. She had just a reasonable decision which was to give her a mixture that would let Julie die.

For 3 weeks, her grandmother continued with these verbal attacks. Finally, surrendering to her stubbornness and supremacy, her parents gave in. 

While they were going to Da Nang for seeing an herbalist that was suggested by Julie’s grandmother, her mom held onto her infant tightly and cried painfully. What was the reason to do that? She was her lovely baby and that was immoral.

Her parents got to the place of the herbalist and murmured their request with their eyes looking at the floor. He withdrew. The herbalist did not believe in killing infants and under no terms, he would do such or cooperate. Unexpectedly, Julie’s mom rejoiced. She started crying and she cuddled the herbalist while she continued to repeat, “Thanks; thanks.” Julie’s mom could not hide her happiness. 

After their come back, the great-grandmother got to know related to the dared infant murder. She was irritated and she said that the baby would not be injured, stating, “The way she came to this world will be the way she will become”. Being the vital head of their family, her great-grandmother’s saying would be the final decision. The baby is going to live.

Chapter 2 – Julie got an operation that let her see a little bit at the age of three when she moved to the US.

For a lot of us, the endeavor of baby murder would be a very dramatic phase of our life. However, for Julie, it was only the start of an extraordinary life story. 

Julie’s family determined to leave Vietnam in the year 1979. The condition in the territory had turned out unbearable for them because of extreme poverty, extensive brutality, and the seizure of what they owned by the government. That was the moment for them to find a better living conditions abroad and in a place where Julie might get medical care for her eyes.

Having that in the brain, Julie’s family was frightened and they entered a broken fishing boat that was going to Hong Kong. Even prior to the boat starting to go sailing, the sailors were already shouting at the travelers to put their luggage overboard in order to cut weight. 

The mom of Julie had listened to a lot of tales of households that drowned while struggling to run away from Vietnam, some people were even pushed to cannibalism. However, Julie’s family was among the lucky people. They got to Hong Kong safe and sound, and they prepared to move to the United States. The writer was only at the age of 3 at the time she got to her fresh house: LA.

Her mother got a manicurist job while her father became a vegetable buyer at a wholesaler. The parents of Julie could eventually afford her treatment. At UCLA’s Eye Institute, she later recalls repelling a mask that was giving her mainstream anesthetic, prior to opening her eyes into an environment of light and color. 

However, her eyesight was not flawless.

Although the operation was successful and it provide her with some sight, doctors could not give her an excellent vision. Being considered legitimately blind, she continually sees around with a cloudy fog. The things, items, and details the usual vision of people could is 200 feet, however, Julie could discern just 20 feet.

Her vision range would own a deep influence on how she lives. For example, during her childhood, she would be mocked by her classmates, who teased the thick-glassed glasses and the hand lens she utilized for reading. Due to her disorder, she had regularly been exempted from activities like sports, having a driver’s license, and even watching a film at the cinema. Whenever Julie inquired the family about the reason she wasn’t asked to see Star Wars with those people. They responded by saying it is because: “You could not see the display”.

Therefore, from a tender age, she sensed differentiation, left out and disregarded due to her eyesight. However, these unfavorable experiences had a good characteristic: Julie was determined to achieve great things just to demonstrate her value, to the family and to herself. And that wish formed her teenage adult experience.

Chapter 3 – Julie dedicated herself to her studies and afterward, traveled the world just to prove a point.

Being raised as a migrant has been difficult for her, particularly at the time somebody needs to make it inside a nation with a huge cultural difference from her own, with a family who hardly speaks English. Every child is finding the person they are; discovering their point in this world, however, for migrant kids, that’s a particularly complicated procedure. Their identifications overlap between 2 distinct worlds, making them feel never entirely be linked to any.

Also, adding to that, she was legally blind, a school bully, and had small hopes from the family. However, Julie did not bend under these burdens’ weight – she flourished. 

Julie used the moves life threw at her and she utilized them as lighting to illuminate burning willpower inside her heart. Rather than guiding her into pitying herself, Julie’s blindness and history let her be more determined and she was dedicated to proving the point that she has the capability of doing anything.

Just look at her successes at school. In spite of her requiring a magnifier and big-printed textbooks, Julie was not discouraged. All through her high school times, she determined tough and difficult principles for herself; nothing less than an A could be accepted. To demonstrate her autonomy, Julie attended a college in the state of Massachusetts, very far from the LA house of her family. She got her bachelor’s in Asian Studies and English, getting excellent grades. Afterward, she could get into Law School at Harvard.

However, Julie’s ambition was above academic chasings. Once she was mature and suitably for going on trips on her own, Julie loved traveling alone. At the age of 30, she’d already been to every 7 continents! Journeys didn’t just reaffirm her self-worth, independence, and strength; it also pushes her to demand emotional and physical tests that she enjoyed. 

As a matter of fact, Julie deliberately tried out all these tests, dipping herself inside the deep water in which the sole chance she had was swimming. Also, by traveling alone and denying to reserve a place to stay beforehand, she placed herself in circumstances in which she needed to sort everything out just for her. With just binoculars for reading train times and a written guidebook, she could walk the cities by herself – starting with back avenues around China to streets around Budapest.

Julie’s travel experiences gave calmness to her soul from wandering around the Chapel of Sistine to looking at the virgin scenery and trekking around Arctic tundras. They gave her a feeling of harmony and wholeness, together with unusual realms and outlandish individuals, and they reinforced both her love of people and her spirit.

Chapter 4 – Julie had a career that was successful and she started to love someone.

Unfortunately, as somebody who packed their bags is very aware that, wandering around does not finance the living. Following going around extensively after her law school and bachelor’s degree, Julie had to go back to America and start her professional life. Still, life could be showered with sole exploits to unknown lands, however,  they could be centered around holiday times and vacations now.

Around 2002, Julie relocated to NYC and she started her job at Cleary Gottlieb, a law company.

This esteemed law firm stands for some large American businesses; firms that do transactions worth a lot of money, and their schemes are valuable titles of WSJ. Although the profession had been difficult as it involved regular prolonged days and extreme stress, she liked that anyway, and she liked the unlikelihood of an impaired Vietnamese migrant blooming at a large US law company.

A while after, Julie focused on corporate acquisitions and mergers. The occupation was not compelling, which enabled her to have more time for her individual life. This is a shred of evidence being handy as Julie soon met the love of her life, and she would turn out to be a mom.

Josh Williams went to Manhattan into the office of Julie inside a skyscraper around the year 2007. This love story was unbelievable like all of her experiences. Josh was brought up in an opulent family around the eastern part of the USA. Julie had been the exact contrary of the kind of female the family Josh believed he’d marry since Julie escaped poverty and was struggling with legal blindness.

However, the powers of the heavens made the two find each other, and they had a connection that some individuals consume their entire lives looking for, emptily. Julie saw an exceptionally being and bountiful man in Josh – a male who would not squint reading through the food menu for her in classy dining places. 

Josh and Julie soon got married and they started establishing a family together. Their initial daughter, Mia, opened her eyes to this world around 2010; and Belle was born after Mia around 2012. For the years to come, Julie became marvelous regarding Mia’s prettiness and Belle’s instinctive comprehension of humans. However, for now, Julie and her husband got used to being parents, and their children turned out to be the biggest pleasures in this world. 

Then, this ought to be the point this unbelievable story finishes – having the “happy forever” ending. However, it wasn’t as Julie will be deprived of being a mom. She could never see her children’s high school graduation, purchase their houses or love someone.

Chapter 5 – Julie was identified as having colon cancer at stage 4 while visiting Los Angeles for her cousin’s wedding.

A lot of people would have experienced being at a wedding. Ordinarily, it is a place filled with unconstrained joy, packed with life-affirming pledges and love, food, drinks, dance, and music. In the summer of 2013, at the time the family Julie came together in LA for the wedding of Julie’s cousin, they believed that wedding would not be distinct compared to a normal wedding. However, it was. 

This is because the wedding was outshined by Julie’s colon cancer identification.

A month before the marriage, Julie began feeling stomach distress: nausea, constipation, and cramping. She went to see a doctor and she was told that that was not something important. Having that in mind, Julie traveled to Los Angeles just prior to the wedding, having a miserable tummy, however, a delighted heart.

However, at the time she got there, her condition changed.

Julie started to sense a sore, flaming ache that immediately became continuous. She could not move her stomach for more than a week. Immediately, she started water puking. Although she decided to finish the day of marriage and head back to NYC prior to looking for medical care, she could not do that. When the wedding day came, at 4 o’clock in the morning, the ache turned out intolerable and her father took Julie to the hospital.

The following day, Julie thought her life was ended. 

Julie woke up that dawn with a colonoscopy, looking at Josh’s face. That approved the thing she had assumed: they’d seen a mass which is an unusual cell growth inside Julie’s colon, and that was assumed to be malignant.

In a burst of phones to their insurance firm Julie, Josh fixed a surgery date for the following few days to let that mass be removed. For the time being, the real colonoscopy description announced that she owned a tumor that was malignant. 

Her operation was a success. The doctor removed her tumor and Julie was encircled by the family members. However, they had a devastating look on their faces. What was the reason for them to be troubled following a good operation?

That was because her doctor had seen and detached a growing spread which is a bunch of malignant cells dividing from their initial origin, “disseminating” to create new malignant cells all over her body. This type of cancer is nearly never recoverable, and that meant that she had a 4th stage cancer. Although Julie was just 37. 

Immediately, Julie started chemotherapy, and the repercussions were terrible which included diarrhea, hair loss, nausea, mouth sores, and fatigue. However, this would only be the start of lengthy and hurting intercourse in chemotherapy and her lengthy and hurting psychological way.

Chapter 6 – Julie struggled with the notion of anticipation.

Once a person is detected as having cancer, this individual is unchangeably transformed not only bodily but cognitively as well. The long demise judgment of extreme cancer patients has a huge mental knock – taking the person inside a whirlwind that reaches the shaky, deceptive elevations of anticipation and crashes to the gut-wrenching profundity of purified, uncontaminated anxiety. In Julie’s ride through cancer, she went through a full range of humane senses – and she experienced turbulent intercourse with anticipation specifically.

Neither a platitude nor a clichè, Julie hated how often the word “hope” was used. Words similar to “you can find hope everywhere” and “you should not forgo hoping” seem like void words, used just to break the quietness. Also, the expectation may be misleading, when you have faith in that a lot, it assumes the duty of religion. Human beings begin to rely on hope and start to think that they need to be well.

However, for Julie, that expectation to be well also caused her to have a very amusing adventure.

Trying to fight cancer by any means, Julie resorted to the herbal cure of China. Her peer suggested a doctor from Harvard that specialized in alternative medicine; however, Julie was shocked at the time he inquired her to meet him on a doubtful street corner. However, when he showed up wearing a shirt with flowers on it, she could not help but laugh. What an absurd state that had been!

Julie had shortly been relieved by the medical expert’s professional act. He explained to her that meeting him on the corner of a street had been greater compared to meeting him at a hospital since the hospital would have to record the characteristics of their discussions and thereby restricting the suggestion he would supply her. Following their meeting, Julie got a list to shop which included cinnamon twig and tangerine peel. Although the monthly 300 USD herbal treatment led to nothing, she owned a nice tale at least. 

Also, hope can be hazardous. Julie starts to understand hope as a delusion that a lot of dying patients stick to as just a type of refusal. If an extreme cancer patient turns out so absorbed in the expectation of seeking treatment, that would hinder her from getting the greatest from her maintaining time and years.

However, even that – living in full, absorbing joy similar to a hungry mosquito has been very utopian at the time you have cancer at stage 4. 

Julie was on her feet, laughing and talking a little bit with other mothers when she took her daughter to a birthday party. Although, she was full of rage inside – curse words spinning around her brain. Julie would like to shout at those mothers and inquire to them about the reason her kids deserve to have a mother that has cancer.

Little instants similar to these could be cautionary alarms for the future’s dark journey Julie, as cancer turn out extreme and she needed to face her death.

Chapter 7 – The cancer of Julie extended to the lungs which made it terminal.

In late 2014 which was eighteen months following her recognition, her cancer was not yet extreme. Truly, she owned metastatic colon stage 4 cancer and her chances of living were very small. However, what had been the chances of her escaping her grandmom’s fatal plan? Or that of flight from misery and being a lawyer? Chances never counted for Julie.

Afterward, around December 2014, Julie got the worst information in her whole struggle with cancer.

That began when Julie went to her specialist to get the outcomes of scans that she had done a week before. She was by herself at her specialist’s place and she has explained Julie’s lungs developed 20 nodules – little dots counted a few mm. They were likely to be malignant –  and when they are, the cancer wasn’t remediable. She could live only for a short time. 

Julie dashed out of the specialist’s place confused and dizzy. She was anguished by the consideration of departing from her children. Who would make them take the piano lesson and swim? What is the way to keep her memories? What is the way to let everybody in this life know the extent she loved those people?

Her nodules had truly been malignant. Her time approached soon at the time Julie started further series of chemotherapy – not treating her body, however only to extend her worldly life. However, not currently – current had been the moment to mourn about her bad information.

Over the following weeks, Julie fell away from the well-balanced, nearly resolute cognitive condition.

 At that time, she was absorbed by intense emotional injury, worse compared to everything she had ever lived in her life. She lay sobbing and broken more than once, shouting at her thinking of her kids and husband. Julie fell into the depression level she wasn’t even aware that people could live. Julie lived an affective pain nobody could ever know, sensing a huge extent of jealousy, rage, torment, anger, and fright. She was near to getting crazy. 

During the last times in the world, Julie experienced irregular moments of hopelessness, regularly complemented by the ancillary impacts of chemotherapy, like nausea, burning mouth ulcers, and diarrhea. As a consequence, Julie could not quietly contemplate or meditate. She tried to put her life to the bigger structure of the history of people or see it as lucky compared to kid cancer cases, however, her struggles had frequently been fruitless. At that time, she had no choice but crying, accept the ache and swear the lottery of life.

Chapter 8 – When her cancer started to develop further, she also started scheduling her end.

That is difficult to think of the mental journey extreme cancer individuals have to start. That is a difficult journey human beings can experience. However, after going through bewildering mountains of expectation and crawling in intense valleys of misery, patients have to endure cancer and acknowledge the mortality.

Her acknowledgment of mortality by Julie was enhanced by her specific illness. Not satisfied with ending in the lungs or colon; in 2017, cancer disseminated to her liver. Another important organ had collapsed to cancer’s attack; the final was close. She was in continuous pain due to the radiation treatments. 

However, she could admit to her mortality due to her belief in God. Though she didn’t belong to any specific religion, Julie constantly had faith in a godlike originator and life after this world. She tried to, and finally accomplished, being peaceful with the creator who separated her from the kids. She drew near to decease with grace and dignity, instead of being furious, being in resentment, and denial.

Julie had acknowledged her end. The sole aspect left had been planning it.

Having cancer has been a peculiar rival – the complete contrary to a disastrous car incident. Owning cancer, one may be ready for the end in the smallest feature, considering technicalities and conveying over responsibilities. However, planning the end is not an easy thing to do.

In 2017 summer, Julie was getting ready to die. Julie’s initial task had been summoning her peers and family to say goodbyes with tears. Around the end of July, she was in the dining room with her mother, father, brother, and sister. Everybody understood that would be the final time together. Nothing is said.

Julie purchased a burial place for herself. From the time the disease turn out extreme, she would like cremation, however, afterward she transformed her brain; since her partner desired a location to see her – a location to rest and lie near Julie.

Eventually, Julie would like to be dead at home, and this is more difficult compared to what it seems. A lot of cancer victims coming near the final the time in this world go to a medical center for curing their illness, however, they turn out confined in the procedure – the medical center cannot leave them as their health become worse. To be certain that her death is comfortable, having her loved ones near to her, a group of medical experts from a hospital should have been taken into the house at early times in the journey. Following that, she could die comfortably.

Yip-Williams left this world in her home in 2018 on the 19th of March.

From not seeing, misery, and interfering with killing to traveling by herself, Harvard, and studying law – her life had been a miracle. Cancer could solely be unwinding.

The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-Williams Book Review

Yip-Williams’s experience had been a complete wonder. Driving her from huge misery, not seeing her grandmom who would like her dead was surprising enough, however turning out to be a lawyer and knowing her partner, Josh, could have looked unbelievable in her times as a kid, however impossible. Though she reviled contrary to the inequity of life and she went through instances of complete misery, Julie was aware that her diagnosis of cancer had only been the miracle’s unwinding, put in place forty-two years prior to the end.

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