What I expected to be a long, drawn out, story of “research”; Flying Against the Odds was an enjoyable journey that is not only fun to read, but leaves you with plenty to think about.
Disclosure: I received this book to review through iRead Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
“IT TAKES A DIFFERENT KIND OF THINKING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAN THE KIND OF THINKING THAT PRODUCED THE PROBLEM.” —Albert Einstein
JJ had a devastating problem. At age fifty-one, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given three years to live. Rather than accept that outcome, JJ did what he always does: he set out to find a solution.
Desiring to look beyond traditional treatments and their often harmful side effects, he put his unconventionally wired mind to work. JJ was relentless as he investigated alternative therapies and pursued global trailblazers in cancer research. Moving from the role of patient to patient-researcher, he became a trailblazer in his own right, being sought after for his latest findings.
Ultimately, JJ brought together the most innovative international minds at the Rethinking Cancer 2017 conference in Paris. Together, they found common ground, and they continue to create integrative, synergistic approaches to treatment.
Today, almost a decade after his diagnosis, JJ has defied the odds and is cancer-free. Recently retired from his career as a commercial airline captain on the Airbus A380, he now devotes himself to sharing his ongoing research with scientists and patients. JJ’s story illustrates how looking at things differently often enables us to see them in a whole new light.
I have so many thoughts around this book… this journey.
Like the previous memoir I read about cancer (just a few days ago), this isn’t the typical genre I read and I certainly have never read memoirs regarding cancer or people’s journey. There isn’t anything wrong with them, I just never have.
Having read two in a row, I feel like I should find more because not only are they enjoyable to read (the authors really do make these journeys interesting and relatable) but I have learned more in the last week, than I have… well, ever!
I was very worried that this book was going to be a story regarding research. It would be boring, long, drawn out, uninteresting. AM I GLAD I WAS WRONG!
First and foremost, the forward had my attention from the get go. The forward was written by JJ’s wife and, after reading the book, can totally understand. (Sorry, I don’t want to spoil anything so I am not going to tell you what she wrote, but it is a key detail to the story itself.) Plus, me being me, I was totally intrigued.
JJ’s part of the story starts of rather quickly with him falling ill and being diagnosed. What I found different about his journey is that he did it in such a way that was entertaining, it was interesting, it was a journey as though we were walking aside him while he navigated this journey. He even intertwined his research and his findings in more of a story telling journey vs a research story that I was concerned about. He kept it interesting and not… “lecture-y”.
I have to admit, I am not “holistic”. I am certainly not the healthiest person (nor as healthy as I could even try to be), but I do try to find more natural ways of healing before jumping to modern medicine or in addition to modern medicine. Diet reduction, creating new habits, trying more natural remedies, etc. have been things I have tried in an attempt to be more healthy.
JJ’s research has me intrigued and I am sure you will find me doing continued research on the pillars he, himself, use.
I am intrigued with research done in the past (that I have never heard of, and am intrigued at how it was proven by science to not be effective, but is now making it’s way back into modern medicine); and how specific pillars are good, not only for those with cancer, battling cancer or in relapse, but for every day people who may have other, not as serious ailments.
Flying Against the Odds was, considering the subject matter, a good read that has left me thinking; with newfound knowledge; and with information that I continue to explore on my own as possible changes to my own health. This is definitely a book that I recommend!
About the Authors
Jean-Jacques Trochon (or JJ as he is more commonly known) spent thirty-two years as a commercial airline pilot for Air France. A French national, he enjoyed an early childhood in Tahiti before finishing his schooling in France and the USA. In 2003, JJ was diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer and subsequently underwent the removal of his left kidney. In 2012 and 2014, he underwent further surgeries following the discovery of multiple metastases in both lungs. Despite being given a slim chance of survival, JJ again returned to work in 2016. He captained the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, until his retirement in spring 2020. Today, Jean-Jacques devotes his spare time to helping other cancer sufferers and spreading the word about his revolutionary approach to the disease. He was the initiator of Rethinking Cancer 2017, a groundbreaking conference held in Paris on September 21, 2017, at Institut Gustave Roussy, the leading cancer center in Europe.
Heather Whitehall-Trochon is a lover of languages and translator of French and German into English. A British national, she completed studies in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion before moving to Munich, Germany, where she worked in public relations for fashion and film. After relocating to Vienna, Austria, she had a brief stint as an editor at the Associated Press, prior to becoming a freelance translator and seasoned backpacker. Heather met JJ in Paris in 2007, marrying him the following year. The couple, together with their cat, Zulu, have now settled in Biarritz, France.
Read more memoirs:
Cerebral Palsy: ‘A Story’ Finding the Calm After the Storm by Ilana Estelle
Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists by Christine Shields Corrigan
Bound: A Daughter, a Domme, and an End-of-Life Story by Elizabeth Anne Wood