Angela is a girl who knows what she wants in life; her dreams and aspirations echoing so many others round the world. Gain an education, find love, and make lasting friendships. There is one however that sets her a bit apart from the crowd. One wish that she would rather not have on her list of wants and desires; one hope that if given the chance, she’d gladly erase from her “things I want in life” tally with a smile upon her face. That deep seeded wish…for her recently transplanted kidney to remain healthy and strong. Unfortunately, the things we want most don’t always come true…and yet even in those darker times all hope is not lost. In fact, sometimes the best things in life are discovered at the most inopportune moments and in the discoverer’s eyes their value increases ten fold for it.
The touching story of one woman’s life, love, and search to find herself….with a transplant or two along the way. The unique part about this particular memoir is that while the topical issue being dealt with is kidney failure, in all its not-so-glorious and heart-wrenching moments, the heart of the book lies in the sharing of how life came to be where it is now and where it seems to be headed. It’s about more than a disease; it’s about a life lived to its fullest with a disease tagging along. It didn’t define her even if it did try to control her every waking moment, at times successfully. She rolled with the punches come what may and found not only who she wanted to be but a life long partner along the way.
The stars didn’t part and gift them their guiding light. The moon didn’t hang lower in order to illuminate the beauty of a new beginning. It was more the “shine” of another type of moon that took the edge off a chance meeting at a college party and the rest…well, it wasn’t exactly history yet, but it eventually came to that foreseeable end. The trials and tribulations they met were similar to most couples, at least until her health took a turn for the worst. It is bad enough to see a loved one sick with a cold or in bed with the flu but factor in a life changing possibly life ending illness and things get serious fast, grant it not in a “marry-me-now” sort of way as that would come later in life, but definitely in the “for-better-or-worse” way.
Ms. Balcita had a hard journey with multiple medical interventions along the way to stave off the end her health was bringing her to. At times crushing in its intensity, her delivery still remains light with a comedic touch much like the “routines” her and her husband put on from time to time when delivering their story to a crowd. Why the theatrics? Well, laughter IS the best medicine after all. Why not leave people with a smile? You would think that would be hard to do with all she endures, but it’s pulled off with great success making this a story to remember.
As I see it, that’s just a surface glance and perhaps a shallow one at that. I believe that it’s not merely the strength of the person, but the strength of the love they share that sees them through those tough unexpected times. It can be newly discovered or in the greyer shades of aging, but that connection they share will empower them to catch each other if ever they fall, laugh when they should be crying, and see the hard times through to another day. It is special and hard to find, but once found, it never lets go.
Recommended read for older teens through adult readers. This story, while not a fairytale come true, is in fact about seeing the wonder of life unfold despite the circumstances thrown your way. While dealing with a serious subject, the author reminds us that life is more than simply the sum of what ails us, it’s about “sucking the marrow out of life” (which I totally borrowed from the Dead Poets Society movie…great movie by the way...and Thoreau) and truly enjoying every moment. A lesson hard learned even from the author’s inside perspective, but words to live by once discovered.
Harper Perennial. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, you can find them online via their website, blog, or Twitter feed. For more information on the author, visit her online via her site. On her page, there is also a link to find out more about the National Kidney Foundation Living Donor Council on her web page for those seeking to to learn more about how they can help. This book was released earlier this month so be on the look out in a bookstore near you to check it out first hand.
Until next time…happy reading!