Gary Goulin-Out of the Blue:The Story of a Man Who Fought Back

Author of Book: Dror Aloni
Date Read: March 19, 2024

Book Report

Book Report #8 Written by Gary Goulin – March 19, 2024

Title of Book: Out of the Blue: The Story of a Man Who Fought Back

Author of Book: Dror Aloni

Date Read: March 19, 2024

Why I chose to read this book:

This book was written by a distant cousin of mine, whom I had the pleasure of meeting back in 1990, when he came to Los Angeles for cancer treatment. Seeing the daily struggles he went through, the courage and optimism he exhibited and the myriad of emotions that his parents experienced, made me a much more empathic and caring physician, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Summary of Book:

This book tells the story of Dror (Imri) Aloni beginning at the age of 10 when he was diagnosed with disseminated neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Written by Dror, this book chronicles his cancer battle beginning with his travel from his home in Israel to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where he first underwent treatment, including surgical resection and an experimental bone-marrow transplantation.

After months of hospitalization and successful transplant, he returns home to Israel. For 10 years he remained cancer free. He graduated high school and entered the Israeli army. At the age of 20, Dror developed some back pain. Workup reveled recurrence of his cancer. He again returned to Los Angeles for treatment.

For the next 10 plus years, Dror would undergo multiple treatments for the neuroblastoma that kept recurring. After exhausting all conventional therapies, the book ends with his returning to Los Angeles to undergo multiple experimental therapies.

More than just a chronicle of his medical treatment, this book focuses more on Dror’s emotional journey through this period. Experiencing many ups and downs, Dror turns to Buddhism, meditation, Qi Jong, and Eastern Medicine, where he eventually finds peace, happiness and acceptance.

Dror unfortunately died shortly after this book was published; I am very fortunate to have experienced the strength and optimism of this amazing person first hand.

Lessons Learned:

This book provided me with many lessons learned, the most important being:

Perspective – as challenging or unfortunate my circumstances may be, there is always someone worse off than I.
Gratitude – I have so many things to be thankful for, and similar to perspective, there are many people who are less fortunate than I.
3. Perseverance and Acceptance – There are many things in life over which we have no control. All we can do is push forward and do whatever we need to do to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually so that we can be at peace and accept things as they are.

How This Book Can Help Me Through My Incarceration and Upon My Release:

I was sentenced to a long period of incarceration. It will be challenging. However, it will be far less challenging than what Dror went through for over 20 years. Keeping this perspective in mind will help me persevere. I am thankful I didn’t receive the maximum sentence, and I’m thankful that I feel safe here. I’m thankful that I have a wonderful family and group of friends who can provide me the support needed to endure my time here. I see many people here who have no family or friends for support, and I feel very fortunate that I do.

Release will pose challenges as well. Perspective, gratitude and perseverance will help me through this difficult period as well. I am acutely aware that unlike many people, I will have a home, family and friends to return to. I will have a fairly secure financial situation. I’m sure there will be some adjustment issues I will be facing and I’m thankful my family and friends can help me with those. But I must also help myself as well. I will need to take care of myself physically. Maintaining my mental health will be critical as well, and I plan to resume and continue my individual psychotherapy. I will continue to work on my spiritual being as well.

By putting the lessons from Dror’s book into practice, by working on mental, physical and spiritual health, I can hope to find the same level of peace, calm, serenity, happiness and acceptance that this remarkable man did.