Better Off Bald

Better Off Bald

A Life in 147 Days

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About the Book

Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days

Adrienne Wilson is a depressed, suicidal teenager—until the day she receives a diagnosis of stage IV liver cancer. Facing the fight of her life, Adrienne discovers how much she wants to live. In Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days, Andrea Wilson Woods chronicles her sister’s remarkable life from the time she was born to the day she dies at age fifteen. Written like a journal, Andrea takes the reader inside her and Adrienne’s journey explaining how she gained custody of Adrienne from their mother and how the sisters’ relationship evolved over time. Adrienne’s courageous spirit shines through as she squeezes more life into 147 days than most people do in a lifetime. From meeting Jay Leno to spending the day with Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, Adrienne makes every moment count. As she lay dying, Adrienne teaches Andrea how to live.

What people are saying about Better Off Bald

Better Off Bald is the beautiful and painful true story of how the author lovingly shepherds her sister Adrienne through diagnosis and treatment of advanced liver cancer, striking at far too young an age. I wish for every doctor and medical trainee to read this book. Andrea Wilson Woods’ words bring to vivid life both the devastation—as well as moments of joy—that flooded these sisters’ lives as they navigated the medical system, faced cancer, experienced suffering and courage, and held fast to each other.
— Jesse Civan, MD, transplant hepatologist
Better Off Bald is a raw story about two sisters, one a teenager and the other barely an adult, facing cancer. Andrea Wilson Woods works hard to be the grown-up and a mother to her younger sister, Adrienne, when the diagnosis of cancer crashes down on them. Read this book to learn what goes on in the minds of patients fighting cancer. Ms. Wilson Woods holds nothing back and delivers a story that at times feels like you are on a roller coaster ride with these two sisters as they try to stay on track with life. Better Off Bald will jolt you emotionally and hopefully inspire all medical professionals to do a little better, and all patients to fight a little harder.
— Nicholas Borys, MD, executive VP and chief medical officer of Celsion Corporation
Andrea tells an extraordinary story of courage and persistence important for all patients with liver and other cancers to read. Her strength and hope continue in her perpetual fight against the disease as a tireless advocate for others facing the same devastating diagnosis.
— Kabir Mody, MD, oncologist, Mayo Clinic
Cancer blessed me with these wonderful people and healers; it hasn’t cursed me with the end of a life.
— Adrienne Wilson, ten days after her cancer diagnosis
Readers who have dealt with or are currently dealing with a loved one’s terminal illness can find a measure of comfort in the way Andrea Wilson Woods processes her grief. She avoids being trite, yet her honesty does not come off as harsh. As she did with parenting, she strikes a delicate balance with her words and manages to be both realistic and inspirational. Better off Bald is devastating and heartbreaking, inspiring and edifying. Most importantly, it’s real. It’s a beautifully written, insightful, page-turning book on how we connect as humans and why life – no matter how truncated – is worth living. I highly recommend this to all people who glide through life not considering the end, but also for those looking for hope as unrealistic as it may seem at times.
— Pacific Book Review
The hero of this story—15-year-old Adrienne Wilson—shows incredible strength and courage as she faces a diagnosis of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with her older sister and guardian Andrea by her side.
— Boris Pasche, MD, PhD, FACP, Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

About the Author

Andrea Wilson Woods


Andrea Wilson Woods is a writer who loves to tell stories, and a patient advocate who founded the nonprofit Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association. Andrea is the CEO and co-founder of Cancer University, a for-profit, social-benefit, digital health company. With Cancer U, Andrea synergizes her talents of coaching, writing, teaching, and advocacy. For over ten years, Andrea worked in the education field as a teacher and professor for public and private schools as well as universities. Andrea obtained her master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California; her nonfiction writing has won national awards.


Selection of the numerous nonprofit, private, academic, and government organizations Andrea has worked with over her long career as a patient advocate.