True health stories-3 medical memoirs that share the HEART of health

I read lots of books for my own pleasure and to review for this blog. Although health/medicine can be a genre in itself, many different types of books and media can illustrate medical science.

Some are fiction including drama, comedy, and often science fiction. One I have reviewed here is

Say Goodbye for Now.

SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW- A Novel
SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Most however are non-fiction. One in this category that I reviewed relates medical history.

Pandemic by Sonia Shah
PANDEMIC BY SONIA SHAH

Pandemic

Medical writers often explain medical conditions, offer information on treatment options, give advice, and encourage healthy habits. One of these is

Mind Over Meds

MIND OVER MEDS- book cover
MIND OVER MEDS BY ANDREW WEIL, MD

But as helpful and interesting as these are, I think the best medical books are those about real people who face real health challenges that are often life changing or even life threatening. There is nothing like experiencing a serious illness or injury to make you an expert about it.

And when the person with the problem writes or tells the story, we don’t just learn about it, we feel the emotions it provokes also.

Share your story

I have reviewed several of these “medical memoirs” here and will likely continue to do so. In a way, we are all living our own health journeys and many of you could offer reflections on how you and your family deal with your unique medical challenges.

If you are willing to share the perspectives you have gained through a health issue or medical experience, contact me; I would love to read it, and maybe share it here with my other readers. Your remarks may remain anonymous if you prefer.

Explore these “medical memoirs” with me.

The Best of Us

A Memoir

by Joyce Maynard

Ms. Maynard’s story opened with a  failed marriage/bad divorce saga with adult children torn between the two parents, persistent anger and bitterness, and attempts to ease the pain with a series of bad choices in lovers. Equally sad was her telling of a complicated  and ultimately failed adoption attempt.

Finally she and we can breath a sigh of relief when she meets a man and seems to have found true love at last. But that comes to an abrupt halt when he is diagnosed with cancer.

From then on she poignantly describes a life turned upside down as she enters new territory as a caregiver. As she relates how their lives changed, we the readers are changed also, learning to recognize what is truly important in life. As Ms. Maynard  writes,

“success, money, beauty, passion, adventure, possessions- have become immaterial. Breathing would be enough.”

Read this book if you want your assumptions about life and death to be challenged and changed. You may read an excerpt at this link

The Best of Us-Chapter 1

Tears of Salt

A Doctor’s Story

by Pietro Bartolo; Lidia Tilotta

Dr. Pietro Bartolo practices medicine on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Mediterranean Sea. Lampedusa, known for its friendly people, sunny skies, pristine beaches, and turquoise waters famous for fishing, seems an idyllic place to live, work, and visit.

But for the past 20 years, Dr.Bartolo has cared for not just residents and tourists, but for hundreds of refugees- people who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean from northern Africa, fleeing poverty and political unrest. The lucky ones land on shore injured and sick. The unlucky ones wash ashore dead, having died en route or drowning after falling from a capsized or wrecked boat, sometimes only a few feet from shore.

In this memoir, Dr. Bartolo shares the stories of many of these people, giving them the names and faces that we don’t see watching news stories about the refugee crisis. He also shares his own life story of growing up on the island, leaving for medical school, and returning to raise a family and to practice medicine.

Dr. Bartolo’s story was also told in the documentary film FIRE AT SEA

He never expected to become the front-line help for hundreds of desperate people. With no specific training on how to manage an avalanche of desperate, sick, and injured refugees, and with little resources, he manages to put together a system for triaging, evaluating, and treating these people, then sending them on for more advanced medical care or to immigration centers in Europe.

For the less fortunate, he serves as medical examiner, to determine the cause of death for those who do not make it to Lampedusa alive; sometimes taking body parts to extract DNA to identify them, so families can be notified. He states he has never grown comfortable to this aspect of his job.

As a physician myself, I marvel at Dr. Bartolo’s caring and commitment to people who will never be able to repay him for his sacrifice. He approaches his work as a mission of mercy, and treats every person with the utmost respect, no matter their circumstance. Some of the people he treats become almost like family; he has even tried to adopt a couple of orphaned children but cannot due to legalities.

Dr. Bartolo’s story reads like a conversation. I think you will like him, and admire him for his dedication and selfless service.  His life should encourage all of us to consider what we can each do to lessen someone else’s suffering.

Follow this link to my review of

Love conquers fear-a memoir of hope

The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

I received a free digital or paper copy of these books in return for posting a frank review on my blog and/or social media.

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explore the HEART of health with me

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

Please follow me on social media (links in the side bar). I look forward to sharing more information and inspiration to transform your health journey.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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How to satisfy hunger and thirst

Matthew 5:6 ERV

Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else.
    God will fully satisfy them.

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

In her memoir, FIRE ROAD- the Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace ,  author  Kim Phuc Phan Thi  wrote,

“One of the passages that never failed to comfort me when I was feeling especially down was the list of blessings Jesus proclaimed to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.

There he says,

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

I would run my finger along those phrases, wondering if those words could really be true. If I pursue your ways, God, will you really satisfy that which is hungry in me?

What exactly did I hunger for back then? That which we all crave, I suppose:

  • safety and security
  • provision and unshakable peace
  • hope in the quietest of moments
  • the sense of family, so far from home.”

Read more about Kim’s memoir; my review is at this link-

FIRE ROAD- the Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace 

Fire Road was published by Tyndale House Publishers. I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House Publishers.

My Reader Rewards Club is a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.

(By your signing up through these links, I can earn free books that I may review for this blog.)READ.REVIEW.REDEEM myReader rewards club

As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

You can also earn points when you:

  • Shop at Tyndale.com or NavPress.com
  • Refer a friend
  • Write reviews
  • Take surveys
  • Sign up for e-newsletters and e-devotionals
  • And more!

This post is part of a series based on verses from the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible book Matthew. Here are links to others-

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

Opportunities to do good

Thank you for reading and sharing these words of faith, hope, and love.

This post used affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, using these links will help us support the HEART of health all over the world. Thank you!

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love

Love conquers fear-a memoir from the Napalm girl-listen to the book

Even if you are not old enough to remember the war the United States fought in VietNam in the 1960s and 1970s, you likely have seen the Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the “Napalm girl” running down a dirt road, fleeing an attack that burned most of her body. Taken to a hospital, she was presumed dead. But Kim Phuc Phan Thi survived and lived to lead a life worthy of being told. And she did, writing her memoir,Fire Road-The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

Get Fire Road from Christian Audio

FIRE ROAD   by Kim Phuc Phan Thi

The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

In war time Vietnam, 1972, 8 year old Kim Phuc Phan Thi almost died after being severely burned when a napalm bomb fell on her village.
Initially left for dead in a morgue, she survived after multiple surgeries on the burns which left her permanently scarred on much of her body. She was known as the “girl in the picture” the memories of which haunted her.
A devout follower of the Cao Dai religion, she lived  in shame, fear, pain, and despair, until she encountered Jesus in the Bible and dedicated her life to living for Him.
After years of  poverty and persecution in Vietnam, Russia, and Cuba, Kim and her husband  resettled in Canada where they tried to rebuild their lives.  But she still felt unease, with nightmares interrupting her sleep.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Romans 8, New International Version,

In her book, Kim wrote

“For many years I had lived in outright fear, knowing that I was always within two or three days’ time of being detained by communist minders. The incessant guardedness left me cynical and exhausted, and I had simply had enough. I determined in my heart that I would no longer live like that, always fretful over what the days might hold, always fearing the worst.I went to Toan (her husband) and said that I would no longer live in fear, that I would practice the courage Jesus promises his followers all through Scripture. I recounted several Bible verses, especially the idea that we are no longer slaves to fear because we have been adopted into the very family of God. (verse 15, above)I will stop running from my fears, from my picture, from my past. Starting now I refuse to hide.The following morning I woke with fresh resolve, determined to simply live my life.”

Now Kim’s dedication to her Christian faith and to sharing her joy and peace takes her all over the world. She has met Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, billionaire Richard Branson, and the grand duke and duchess of Luxembourg. She speaks to business people, government officials, college students, and the news media. She has been awarded six honorary doctorates.
In her speeches and in this memoir she explains what compels her to leave her home in Canada several times a year to tell her story and urge the world to embrace forgiveness and love.

“My faith in Jesus Christ is what enabled me
to forgive those who had wronged me
to pray for my enemies rather than curse them
to love them, not just tolerate them, but to love them. “

Kim

Kim founded a non-profit organization KIM Foundation International to serve children who are disabled, disenfranchised, or displaced as she was as a child in Vietnam.

Kim’s message-Hope and Forgiveness

I found  Kim’s book riveting, challenging, and faith-building and I believe you will also. Kim’s belief in and reliance on the power of prayer challenges me to pray more for my friends and family and expect answers.

 Please let me know how this book speaks to you.

Follow this link to read the first chapter of Fire Road 

TRANG BANG, VIETNAM
WAR? WHAT WAR?

rice paddy with people in asian hats and a water buffaclo
a rice paddy in Vietnam, photo by Dr. Aletha

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House Publishers. Find Kim’s book at Tyndale and join the rewards club to earn free books.

Join my Reader Rewards Club
READ.REVIEW.REDEEM myReader rewards club

My Reader Rewards Club 

As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

You can also earn points when you:

  • Shop at Tyndale.com or NavPress.com
  • Refer a friend
  • Write reviews
  • Take surveys
  • Sign up for e-newsletters and e-devotionals
  • And more!

My Reader Rewards Club is a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.

(By your signing up through these links, I can earn free books that I may review for this blog.)

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links that support this blog.

FAITH LOVE HOPE
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
graphic from the photo site LIGHTSTOCK.COM, an affiliate link

exploring the HEART of hope and healing

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha