This author is like the Virginia Slims mantra — “You’ve come a long way, baby.” She shares the account of her experiences as a young woman who lost her kidneys to an antibiotic, telling of the challenges and obstacles she faced along the way and of her success over health and having another chance at life. Her story shows that no matter what you are going through, there is someone whose situation is worse and encourages you to NEVER give up. She hopes her story will inspire and give hope to those with kidney disease or failure, on dialysis, awaiting a transplant, or perhaps, recently having received a transplant from a living or nonliving donor, as well as the general reader.
Forward by Jim Gleason:
Facing kidney disease and kidney transplant is complex and often daunting despite the supportive family, staff and resources available. This book offers an inspiring insight into the author’s life adventure successfully dealing with and living through and beyond her kidney transplant. The challenge will have its ups and downs which she honestly shares, advising up front that each patient’s story is unique, so hopefully the reader’s story will have more of the ups she shares than the downs that are unique to her own story. But keep in mind as you read about much of her missteps that her kidney story takes us back to the early days of transplantation, from being sick in 1970 to her kidney transplant in 1976, forty years ago. There has been much learned and progress made in the four decades since resulting in fewer of the issues she shares from those early days, but the message of survival is still timely today, and that is the power in reading her amazing story.
As a heart transplant recipient myself now out 23 years (receiving my ‘new’ heart back in 1994) who has mentored literally hundreds of transplant candidates and later, the same patients now as transplant recipients, I can recognize many of her experiences as being all too common although not together in any one patient’s experience. That’s why she gets to write an interesting and inspiring personal story for who would find the reading of value if it weren’t that complex, meaning ‘interesting’. Take her advice and don’t come away concerned about your own experience having the full array of challenges, but be aware that this isn’t a road for the faint of heart. Take consolation in the fact that hundreds of thousands have gone before you and today lead lives that are too normal to warrant writing a book as the author has. How bad can it be if over 85,000 opt to list and thus ‘get in line’ here in US alone this year of 2017 for the opportunity to receive their kidney transplant, hoping for a return to a healthy life lived with energy and passion. While a transplant isn’t a ‘cure’ it offers the hope of a long fulfilled life and thus the daily challenge of what to do with that gift of life today and the many days, months and hopefully years that follow. In the closing chapters, Patsy too briefly summarizes her life today, sharing the many blessings that have resulted from her donated kidney, built on a strong faith in God’s goodness and her positive outlook so different than throughout her early story years. And of course in living more years with the aging process, as she shares in summary so well, there are other life challenges to deal with, both post-transplant related as well as just general health issues that too often we all have to face if we live long enough.
The author includes factual and easy to understand medical education, with her gift of language she uses to great effect. But more importantly, she gifts us through her sharing of personal struggles and survival, the inspiration both families and patients need to face and move past their current issues with that positive outlook that often helps to improve the outcome success we so wish for each day.
The author’s life story gives testimony to the value of registering today to be an organ donor after death and/or to be a living donor of a kidney (or donating a partial liver or a single lung) that can be lifesaving or life enhancing to a desperate and suffering fellow human. Come and face your own unique medical challenges with the blessing of not having to undergo all that Patsy has, but with the survival instinct that she shares as a hope for living the life of a true survivor as she has in this beautiful book of life.