From Chemo to Throttle Book Review [Riders Library]

Learning to ride a motorcycle can be a real challenge for anyone. Even those with full use of both hands. For Angie Sandow, it was far more daunting because she didn’t have the use of both hands. Her left hand has full function, but her right hand was incomplete from birth.

From Chemo to Throttle Book Review: Angie Sandow

Let’s let that sink in a little—think back to your very first motorcycle ride; now think about doing it using only your left hand. Even with a motorcycle adapted with a left-handlebar lever-style throttle and clutchless transmission, it would be a real challenge. Now, add a petite five-foot-one frame to the mix, and you see how determined and fearless a person would have to be to make it all happen. Sandow did it.

“At the time of my birth, my shorter right arm was bent at the elbow, and my wrist was bent so that my small, underdeveloped hand nearly touched my bicep,” explains Sandow. “In addition to this, the right side of my torso, where I had no pectoral muscle, was smaller than my left, and although not known at the time, my knees were ‘off,’ my right eye would drift, my right breast would never grow, and I would develop mild scoliosis.”

Though surgery at the age of three would provide some improved function, Sandow had to learn how to do things differently. Indeed, from an early age, she rejected the staid, old labels of “disabled” or “handicapped.” Different, yes. Disabled or handicapped, no. Likewise, she rejected the idea of limitations.

It’s a good thing she formed a determined mindset very early in life, because she’d need it. There would be challenges that most of us never have to contend with over and over again from childhood on. The societal biases, assumptions, and attitudes of limitation would affect her life in school, among her peers, and in her career. Through it all, when labels were applied, she’d cast them off. When functional assumptions were made about her abilities, she’d exceed them. And when degrading attitudes were shown, she’d rise above them.

From Chemo to Throttle Book Review: Custom Honda CTX

However, her challenges didn’t stop with all those. Sandow would face other health challenges, surgeries, and, perhaps most chilling, an aggressive form of breast cancer.

“In May of 2013, I felt a small lump in my left breast,” Sandow recalls. “I don’t remember what I was doing, but there it was.”

Sent for a mammogram, she was diagnosed with a non-cancerous fibroadenoma, and no biopsy was performed. A follow-up mammogram in September 2013 also did not result in a biopsy. In January 2014, another mammogram and ultrasound of the breast was finally followed up with a biopsy. It was discovered what Sandow had believed from the start—breast cancer with metastasis to the lymph nodes.

From Chemo to Throttle Book Review

This is perhaps the most compelling part of her book, From Chemo to Throttle. It reveals her character and the trepidations that go with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Sandow provides candid insights about her thought processes regarding her ability to cope with the disease process and the side effects of chemotherapy. It is done with such directness and clarity that anyone facing the possibility of cancer—of any form, but breast cancer in particular—would benefit from it.

Through it all, and from an early age, Sandow harbored a love for the motorcycle. Initially, riding on the back of her husband Lloyd’s motorcycle was enough. But eventually, she wanted to be the pilot, not a passenger. In that quest, with some inventive help from friends, she embarks on learning the skills and developing the confidence to take safely to the open road!

Sandow’s remarkable book, From Chemo to Throttle, tells her inspiring story with unflinching honesty, remarkable detail, and a conversational style that moves you from page to page. Her story has spawned the award-winning documentary, Angie—Tales of Determination. Check out the trailer:

From Chemo To Throttle Fast Facts

  • Title: From Chemo to Throttle
  • Author: Angie Sandow
  • Published: 2022, paperback. 231 pages. 36 color and b/w images.
  • Publisher: Kook N Beanie Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-7780420-0-3