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Eighteen Months To Live [Kindle Edition]

Rachele Baker DVM
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the spring of 1990, Midge Rylander rushes to the hospital because of a persistent cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. She believes she has pneumonia but her diagnosis turns out to be much worse. Malignant pleural mesothelioma. Lung cancer from prior exposure to asbestos.

Midge’s doctors advise her that she has less than eighteen months left to live. While recuperating at home, Midge begins a daily journal to document her experiences during her final months. Eighteen Months To Live is the transcription of Midge’s handwritten journal as well as letters that Midge wrote to her daughter Rachele during that time. Midge writes about her emotional struggles, her physical pain, and her search for answers.

After reading Eighteen Months To Live, E.D. Brady wrote in her review on Goodreads that this true story “shows a woman who handled herself with grace, poise, and dignity, as she tells of her daily trials and tribulations, her refusal to go down without a fight, and finally, her acceptance of the inevitable. It highlights the beauty of the human spirit, the vulnerability of life, and the need to remember that every day is precious. I found myself quickly bonding with Midge and commend Ms. Baker for putting this beautiful book out in the world for those who may be facing similar struggles. One word of advice: have a tissue or two ready for the epilogue.”

Editorial Reviews


From Goodreads: 5 STARS - You feel every emotion, live every moment, and understand what it's like to live with such a horrible disease. Losing my mother to breast cancer when I was only 18, this book helped me understand the feelings, emotions, and pain she went through. Do not look upon this book as a sad story, but one of how to live life to it's fullest. -Cindy Holdmann

From Goodreads: 4 STARS - This is not a novel, in the truest sense of the word. Nor is it a memoir, looking back over a lifetime. It is an awakening. It is a painful, poignant expression of one truly amazing woman's outlook to the future, however limited that future may be. It is, in its own way, beautiful: heart breaking and heart warming.

For such a sad book, it is a happy book too. Although you know that Midge is terminally ill, and this made reading it weigh heavily on my chest at times, she is so full of life, hope, and love, fighting the cancer that is trying to defeat her from the inside. It is an account of slowing down, of taking life each day at a time and appreciating the truly wondrous things around oneself in a way that we often don't get time to. It is a lesson to us all, to take that time, to enjoy it, to live in the moment, and love those around us. -Andrea

From the Author

The Story Behind My Book Eighteen Months To Live:

One day when I was organizing and cleaning my garage, I decided to look in a box of memorabilia I stored there. I hadn't looked in the box for many years. The box contained drawings and stories written by my daughter when she was young as well as some things I had written and drawn when I was a little girl.

As I was looking through my memorabilia box, I came upon my mother's handwritten journal. Her journal was very prominent in the box because she kept it in a bright orange binder. In addition to my mother's journal, I found a large stack of letters that she had written me during her final months of life. I hadn't looked at my mother's journal since immediately after her death. I started reading my mother's journal for the second time and I realized that she wanted her journal published so that her story could help and inspire others. I then spent months transcribing my mother's handwritten journal and letters and finally published them in my book Eighteen Months To Live.

Transcribing my mother's journal was a very emotional experience for me. It made the last months of my mother's life and everything she experienced fresh and real and very painful. I often experienced actual pain in my entire chest while I was transcribing her journal and letters. Sometimes I had trouble breathing. But I diligently kept transcribing until I had transcribed everything that she wrote. Then I wrote the heartfelt prologue, epilogue, and narration.

The book vividly documents my mother's personal struggles and her search for answers during that time. Despite her diagnosis, her strength of spirit allowed her to find joy in the simple things around her and to appreciate each day of life that she had left to live.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1286 KB
  • Print Length: 145 pages
  • Publisher: Rachele Baker DVM (December 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AG9X0R0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,104 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Rachele Baker's Eighteen Months To Live is an insightful look into her mother's battle with mesothemiola. Put together from journal entries, letters, cards, and transcripts with brief editorial notes here and there, it details one woman's journey with terminal illness. It is at many points repetitive and, as one would imagine, more than a little depressing. It also contains moments of inspiration and perspective into the process a person with a terminal illness goes through... a perspective that should evoke both our compassion and our determination to change things.

While I do not often give spoilers, I must say this. Rachele's mother's story could have ended very differently. Despite her obvious faith and the love her family shows her, her battles with pain, loneliness, increasing helplessness, and overwhelming expenses left her embittered.

"Spend time doing things for yourself. I didn't do that. I spent most of my life doing what others expected me to do and then doing things for everyone else to make life easier and happier for them. I never learned to "play." I never had time for Me until it was almost too late. So many people profited from my efforts and I was happy doing things for them. Funny thing though, those people have all forgotten me and that I find to be so sad. I can only hope they do something
for someone else because all they ever gave me was their backs. Yes, I am bitter, but before I die I will have forgiven all of them for the hurt I've endured and I will wish them all well." (Page 91).

Yet even in her bitterness, she asks her children to forgive one another and learn to love one another, for the dearest lesson of this memoir is this: the relationships we have in this life are the most important blessings we have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marking time December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Rachele Baker has assembled this brief Kindle book to share her mother's battle against disease. In 1990 Midge Rylander was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, the etiology of this disease being exposure to asbestos whose fibers set up a reaction in the pleural and become carcinomatous in time. The book has an introduction by Baker and closes with the words she offered at her mother's demise in 1992. The book itself is a journal Midge Rylander kept, along with letters form family, while she battled her terminal illness by herself: after surgical extirpation she decided against chemotherapy and radio therapy, electing to all the last months of her life to be free of medical intervention.

The journal is valuable in that it goes through the processes of grieving after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Rylander speaks of her true feeling for doctors (not very positive), communicates in detail the pain she feels and the medications she lives on. The anger, the bitterness progress into a sense of restored self worth and making the most of the time she has left.

Books such as this may be difficult reads because of the subject matter, but for patients and families who are searching for some touchstone of coping with the diagnosis of a fatal illness/disease, the book can bring some insights - if for no other reason than it is the daily honest responses of a woman who fights her challenge alone. Grady Harp December 12
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant, inspiring memoir November 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Eighteen Months To Live is the story of a woman who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Mesothelioma, told through her journal entries. Midge Rylander writes down a daily account of coping with advanced cancer, her fears, joys, and frustrations with communicating with her specialists.

With each new ache or swelling, she is anxious that the cancer is spreading, and she looks forward to X-rays that show no progression. She goes about her daily tasks of keeping a home, chopping wood, and enjoying her home on the lake. She continues to be a loving mother and grandmother, and looks forward to a new baby in the family.

We see the reactions of her family, how they support her, worry about her, and appreciate their time together. Her daughter, Karen will be her caretaker and takes an active roll in talking to her mom's doctors, to prepare for end of life issues.

I was a little hesitant to read this because my mother died of Stage 4 cancer, and I was her caregiver. But I'm glad I did, because there were so many similarities in both lives.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Rylander had this disease over 20 years ago, when there was not very much information. She was frustrated by the outdated pamphlets available. She was interested in talking to people that shared her diagnosis. We've come a long way since then, and there is a lot of information on the internet, and support and chat boards where patients and families can connect for support and advice.

This would be a good book for patients and families of who are facing terminal cancer. It would also be wonderful for doctors and nurses who care for them to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Gift March 16, 2013
By Miki
Format:Kindle Edition
I was provided a copy of this book for my honest opinion.

How do you give a review on a woman's last words in this world? How can you put a star rating on them? I don't know but that is my task here.

Midge Rylander found that information about her disease, malignant pleural mesothelioma, was extremely scarce. Eighteen Month's to Live is a collection of her journal entries and letters from the time she was diagnosed until her death in the spring of 1992. Midge dedicated her life to helping others and this journal is no different. Her final wish was to provide much needed information about her disease to doctors and patients everywhere. In this, with her daughter, Rachele Baker's help, she succeeded.

Taken as a whole, the journal shows Midge's journey of self-discovery and her struggle to deal with her physical and emotional issues. Half of the entries are limited to her physical symptoms and daily life. It is a challenge to read. However, between the lines, we all bear witness to her bravery, determination and will to survive. She chose to refuse treatment and live alone but she chose to live.

I can't say that I enjoyed this `book'. Who would? But I am glad that I read it. If you pay attention, Midge can teach us all a thing or two about what is important in life and in death. Everyone should read this `book' at least once but those that have a terminally ill loved one especially. Thank you, Rachele, for sharing your mother's wonderful gift. It is truly priceless.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Different and Insiteful
This in many ways is a unique book in its own category. It certainly cannot be described as ‘conventional’. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tanya Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Interesting to follow progression..not many books available than describe details of mesothelioma. Wish more were written to help those going through it.
Published 1 month ago by Paula S.
5.0 out of 5 stars sad, but brilliant...
This book is the journal and letters that the author’s 57-year-old mother, Midge Rylander kept in the last few months of her life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Dawes
3.0 out of 5 stars i gave it 3 stars because i would have like to no what happened after...
i gave it 3 stars because i would have like to no what happened after her last entry..i wasnt satisfied with she just got worse and oookkk..details details please..
Published 2 months ago by maria fores
4.0 out of 5 stars Loss of a mother
I too lost my mother to cancer back in 1985. My sister and I were only 15 and she was the most important person in our universe. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kim perow
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moving and Inspirational True Story
How would you cope, if you were handed a death sentence of only eighteen months to live? It doesn't bear thinking about. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ali Isaac
4.0 out of 5 stars It felt a little confusing
The story was one that I needed to see to the end but was feeling left out of the story. All of her relationships seemed too vague
including the one with her doctor. Read more
Published 12 months ago by greatnana
2.0 out of 5 stars Eighteen Months To Live
Eighteen Months to Live is the journal of a woman living with cancer. The title is the amount of time that she was told that she would live by her doctor, though it was incorrect... Read more
Published 16 months ago by KarenRachel
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathetic/empathetic
This is both a sympathetic and empathetic look at the last months of a cancer patient seen through her own eyes and that of her daughter. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars quick read
this is a great read. its full of knowledge for cancer fighter. I was sadden yet felt the wisdom was very important part of this story
Published 17 months ago by laura auciello
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More About the Author

I am a veterinarian and writer living in California in the United States. I have been a veterinarian for over thirteen years. I am in the process of writing a series of short books about medical problems in dogs and cats entitled My Virtual Veterinarian. The first book in the series will be published soon and will be entitled Allergies In Dogs: How Can You Stop The Scratching And Chewing?

I would like to invite you to subscribe to my blog where I have published a number of blog posts about veterinary medical topics. As I write each chapter of my book about allergies in dogs, I will be writing blog posts related to that chapter.

I published Eighteen Months To Live which is the real life story of my mother, Midge Rylander, in her final months of life. Eighteen Months To Live contains the daily journal my mother kept as well as letters she wrote me after her diagnosis with malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is a heart-wrenching yet heart-warming and inspirational story. Eighteen Months To Live is available on Amazon.

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