The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph Over Cystic Fibrosis


Isabel Stenzel Byrnes - 2007
    But for twin girls with the disease, what began as a family’s stubborn determination grew into a miracle.            The tragedy of CF has been touchingly recounted in such books as Frank Deford’s Alex: The Life of a Child, but The Power of Two is the first book to portray the symbiotic relationship between twins who share this life-threatening disease through adulthood. Isabel Stenzel Byrnes and Anabel Stenzel tell of their lifelong struggle to pursue normal lives with cystic fibrosis while grappling with the realization that they will die young. Their story reflects the physical and emotional challenges of a particularly aggressive form of CF and tells how the twins’ bicultural heritage—Japanese and German—influenced the way they coped with these challenges.            Born in 1972, seventeen years before scientists discovered the genetic mutation that causes CF, Isabel and Anabel endured the daily regimen of chest percussion, frequent doctor visits, and lengthy hospitalizations. But they tell how, in the face of innumerable setbacks, their deep-seated dependence on each other allowed them to survive long enough to reap the benefits of the miraculous lung transplants that marked a crossroads in their lives: “We have an old life—one of growing up with chronic illness—and a new life—one of opportunities and gifts we have never imagined before.” In this memoir, they pay tribute to the people who shaped their experience.            The Power of Two is an honest and gripping portrayal of day-to-day health care, the impact of chronic illness on marriage and family, and the importance of a support network to continuing survival. It conveys an important message to both popular and professional readers as it addresses key psychosocial issues in chronic illness throughout the sufferer’s lifespan and illuminates the human side of advances in biotechnology.            Even as gene therapy and stem cell research increase the chances for eradicating CF, this stirring account portrays its effects on one family that refused to give up. These two remarkable sisters have much to teach about the power of perseverance—and about the ultimate power of hope.

Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed


Paul Austin - 2014
    He was a medical student and she was a nurse. Everything changed the moment the doctor rushed their infant daughter from the room just after her birth, knowing instantly that something was wrong. Sarah had almond-shaped eyes, a single crease across her palm instead of three, and low-set ears all of which suggested that the baby had Down syndrome.Beginning on the day Sarah is born and ending when she is a young adult living in a group home, Beautiful Eyes is the story of a father's journey toward acceptance of a child who is different. In a voice that is unflinchingly honest and unerringly compassionate, Austin chronicles his life with his daughter: watching her learn to walk and talk and form her own opinions, making decisions about her future, and navigating cultural assumptions and prejudices all the while confronting, with poignancy and moving candor, his own limitations as her father.It is Sarah herself, who, in her own coming of age and her own reconciling with her difference, teaches her father to understand her. Time and again, she surprises him: performing Lady Gaga s "Poker Face" at a talent show; explaining how the word "retarded" is hurtful; reacting to the events of her life with a mixture of love, pain, and humor; and insisting on her own humanity in a world that questions it. As Sarah begins to blossom into herself, her father learns to look past his daughter's disability and see her as the spirited, warmhearted, and uniquely wise person she is.

Look up for Yes


Julia Tavalaro - 1997
    Suddenly, just thirty-two years old, she was a prisoner in her own body and a victim of the ignorant and cruel treatment of hospital workers who neither noticed nor cared that the "vegetable" they changed and fed every day was actually a bright and emotional woman. In this powerful memoir, painstakingly written with the help of poet Richard Tayson, Tavalaro details the hellish life she endured as a defenseless patient, angry and desperate to die, and the liberating actions of two therapists who took the time to realize that she was not incognitive but rather brimming with intelligence and life.At last, Tavalaro managed to break through the isolation that imprisoned her. Slowly, methodically, she regained her ability to communicate -- aided by technological and therapeutic developments -- and began to compose poems that drew on the memories of her life before her stroke. Beautifully written and achingly heartrending, Look Up for Yes is a testament to a passionate and articulate woman who is ready and able to let the world know she is, indisputably, alive."A story of utter tragedy and the triumph of a woman with uncommon courage". -- Los Angeles Times

Rescuing Jeffrey: A Memoir


Richard Galli - 2000
    Although his father, Richard, saved him, Jeffrey was paralyzed with a devastating spinal cord injury. In this book, Richard Galli offers a compelling, disarmingly honest account of the decisions and experiences confronted by all such individuals who suddenly find themselves wholly dependant on others to survive—and of the realities that must be likewise faced by their families.A lawyer and former journalist, Galli writes with much intelligence and stark emotional intensity of life as it is really lived by quadriplegics and those who care for them. An unforgettable story about tragedy, love, and the choices we make at the brink of survival, Rescuing Jeffrey is "gut-wrenchingly candid," as Publishers Weekly observed, and "likely to arouse controversy and sharply divided reactions . . . Yet this eloquent story of heartbreak and hope is ultimately life affirming." The book will be must-reading for all students of counseling, rehabilitation, and related disciplines.

Focus - A Memoir


Ingrid Ricks - 2009
    FOCUS takes readers into Ingrid’s world as she faces the crippling fear of not being able to see her two young daughters grow up, of becoming a burden to her husband, of losing the career she loves, and of being robbed of the independence that defines her.Ultimately, FOCUS is about Ingrid’s quest to fix her eyes that ends up fixing her life. Through an eight-year journey marked by a trip to South Africa to write about AIDS orphans, a four-day visit with a doctor who focuses on whole-body health, a relationship-changing confrontation with her husband and a life-changing lesson from her daughters, Ingrid learns to embrace the moment and see what counts—something no amount of vision loss can take from her.

My Life In His Paws: The Incredible Story of Ted and How He Saved Me


Wendy Hilling - 2016
    Wendy Hilling has a rare skin condition which means her skin is very delicate. Every moment is difficult and causes pain. It affects the body inside and out: her throat is very narrow and she can stop breathing at any time. But eight years ago Wendy's life changed forever. She met Ted, the Golden Retriever, and he became her full-time carer. He has saved her life more times than she can remember, always watching and listening, and Wendy is now entirely reliant on him. This is the story of Wendy and her incredible bravery living with a disability and battling against the odds. It's also the story of Ted, the extraordinary assistance dog, and the unique relationship between a human and animal and the extraordinary things animals are capable of.

Most of Me: Surviving My Medical Meltdown


Robyn Michele Levy - 2011
    She is accompanied on her journey by a fantastic cast of characters, including her Cry Lady (who always makes appearances at inopportune times) and perky Dolores the Prosthesis, as well as a convoy of health professionals, family members, friends, and neighbors. Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Most of Me offers a unique glimpse into a creative mind, an ailing body, and the restorative power of humor and fantasy.

On Call with a Yorkshire Vet


Julian Norton - 2020
    

Our Country Nurse: Can East End Nurse Sarah find a new life caring for babies in the country?


Sarah Beeson - 2016
    She's barely out of the car when she's called to assist the midwife with a bride who's gone into labour in the middle of her own wedding reception. And so her adventures begin...As a health visitor Nurse Sarah is as green as grass but she puts her best foot into wellies and braves the mad dogs, killer ganders and muddy tracks of the farming community. Despite set-backs young Sarah is determined to help the mums she meets, from struggling young mothers in unmodernised farmhouses, to doyennes of the county dinner party set who slave over stuffed olive hors-d'oeuvres.Village life in 1970s isn't always quite the Good Life Sarah's been expecting; her attempts at self-sufficiency and cider making lead to drunk badgers and spirited house parties - but will it be the clergyman, the vet or the young doctor that win Sarah's heart. During her first year in Kent, Nurse Sarah Hill get stuck in - reuniting families and helping mums in the midst of community full of ancient feuds, funny little ways and just a bit of magic.

But Why? : A Collection of Reader-Submitted Medical Stories


Kerry Hamm - 2019
     You'll giggle when an EMT reveals his/her most prized possession, shake your head at some of the RIDICULOUS behavior seen in the emergency room, and you'll relate to the frustrations and joy healthcare workers across the globe express in their submissions. Special sections within this volume include: That Darn Cat, DOGgonit!, As Heard on the Scanner, and many more.

Bleeder: A Memoir


Shelby Smoak - 2013
    And I am at the hospital. A coming-of-age memoir for modern times, Bleeder is the incredibly compelling tale of author Shelby Smoak. A hemophiliac, Smoak discovered he had been infected with HIV during a blood transfusion at the start of his college career. This devastating and destabilizing news led Smoak to see his world from an entirely new perspective, one in which life-threatening illness was perpetually just around the corner. Set in the 1990s along the North Carolina coast, Bleeder traces Smoak’s quest for love in a world that feels increasingly dangerous, and despite a future that feels increasingly uncertain. From the bedroom to the operating room, and from one hospital to the next, Smoak seeks out hope and better health. Winner of a PEN American Center award for writers living with HIV, Smoak, whose work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, constructs this unforgettable story of life and love against insurmountable difficulties in breathtaking, tightly drawn prose.

Some Body to Love: A Family Story


Alexandra Heminsley - 2021
    I don't know if I'll ever recover.' This note was written on 9 November 2017. As the seagulls squawked overhead and the sun dipped into the sea, Alexandra Heminsley's world was turning inside out. She'd just been told her then-husband was going to transition. The revelation threatened to shatter their brand new, still fragile, family. But this vertiginous moment represented only the latest in a series of events that had left Alex feeling more and more dissociated from her own body, turning her into a seemingly unreliable narrator of her own reality. Some Body to Love is Alex's profoundly open-hearted memoir about losing her husband but gaining a best friend, and together bringing up a baby in a changing world. Its exploration of what it means to have a human body, to feel connected or severed from it, and how we might learn to accept our own, makes it a vital and inspiring contribution to some of the most complex and heated conversations of our times.'Insightful and wise, generous and kind' David Nicholls

Will & I: A Memoir


Clay Byars - 2016
    He was just eighteen years old. He awoke, back in the hospital, and was told he would be paralyzed from the eyes down for the rest of his life.Determined to defy the odds, Clay quickly and miraculously began to recover his mobility but discovered just how different his life would be—a disparity embodied by his identical twin brother, Will. As Will went on to graduate from college, marry, and start a family, Clay carved out a unique existence, doing the seemingly impossible by living on his own on a remote farm in Alabama.With haunting clarity and heartrending honesty, Will & I tells the unlikely story of Clay’s life and his coping mechanisms, including weekly singing lessons that not only teach him to use his voice but remind him of his will to exist. In this singular and striking meditation on vulnerability and vitality, we’re invited to see how Clay sees the world—and how the world sees him—as he bravely challenges himself and his abilities at every turn.

The Chicken Who Saved Us: The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful


Kristin Jarvis Adams - 2017
    He spoke English – and Chicken. But the day he told his pet chicken Frightful that his body was trying to kill him, Andrew’s family and an entire medical community were launched into a decade-long quest for answers. This honest memoir of fierce and faithful parenting takes readers on a heartfelt journey through chronic illness and Asperger’s syndrome to discover the healing bond between a boy and his chicken. Navigating the complex landscape of modern medicine and genetics, through a rare diagnosis of Trisomy 8 Mosaicism and an experimental bone marrow transplant, readers venture to places where chickens talk, superheroes come alive, and a boy on the brink of death finds the courage to survive.

I'm Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond


Geri Jewell - 2011
    The book's title -- I'm Walking As Straight As I Can -- has a double meaning, referring to both Jewell's sexuality and her extraordinary struggle growing up with cerebral palsy. This candid memoir details her experiences from her traumatic birth in Buffalo, New York, to her rise to stardom as a stand-up comic to becoming a television star. She documents the harsh realities of show business by recounting the relentless discrimination and abuse she suffered at the hands of people she trusted. Her experiences in the shark-infested waters of Hollywood led her on a journey from the Comedy Store to the White House, followed by a downward spiral, tax problems, drug addiction, marriage, and an accident that nearly claimed her life. When Deadwood creator David Milch recognized Jewell at a pharmacy, he offered her a role in his new HBO series on the spot, and she began to find hope and happiness once again. I'm Walking As Straight As I Can is an inspiring story, told with grace and self-deprecating humor, one that gives readers a rare glimpse of true courage and perseverance.