As an open heart surgery patient myself, I found Amy to be an especially well spoken advocate for those of us who perhaps placed too much trust in medicine. Just fixing a heart problem is not the end of treating the underlying issue, and this book helped to open my eyes to that fact. What an amazing and honest life story she shares with us. A truly wonderful telling of an absolutely horrifying experience.
What a wonderful book and I'm so glad I found it. I have congestive heart failure and my doctor is suggesting getting a heart transplant. I was searching the web for both the good and the bad of heart transplantation. All I could find was the good stories. It seemed like all the information out there from various hospitals and their paid shills was only promoting transplantation. Then I found Amy's book and read it. I got the real cold hard truth of what it's like to live day to day post transplant. I now am of the persuasion that I don't want to go through with it. Quality of life is just as important as life itself. It amazes me reading all the posts from people who say she's on a pity-party or ungrateful or what have you. These people are PERPETUATING THE PROBLEM of having to put on a smiley face all the time when living with a terrible illness. It's perfectly human and OK to tell it like it is. Kudos to Amy for being the brave soul that she is. Unfortunately, there are two sides to every story, and some people only want to hear the happy side.
You see, as I stand here writing this review, I am swiftly bearing down on the 20th anniversary of my own heart transplant.
I would never criticize her for her attitudes, as our attitudes are shaped by our upbringing and our nature. Amy has the right to feel the way she feels. Period. I am as shocked at her continual health crises as I am grateful she has shared her experience. I also, was a youngish woman, born with my defect. But we knew about it. I did not have to suffer the incredible shock of having the transplant. I'm so sorry she has suffered so many health problems since then. I have been gifted with few infections, and I have a pacemaker that negates the lack of response to exercise. This story drives home the incredible differences of experience we have in our journeys as heart transplant recipients. How vast is the difference between the treatment philosophies of the many transplant programs across the US and world. I'm glad Amy wrote this book. I imagine it was the cathartic experience she needed. Yet I am concerned that the general public and new transplant recipients will think her experience is the norm. It's not. Her's was horrific. Most are not as awful. I would recommend this book to all staff involved with organ transplant and those if us who are "old timer" recipients. Thank you, Amy, for sharing.
I'm glad I read Sick Girl. Amy Silverstein adeptly describes what must be the painful, frightening, rollercoaster ride of chronic illness she has experienced after her heart transplant. I had no idea transplant patients have the ongoing struggles she tells of. I knew they had to take many meds with side effects but didn't realize how the meds worked to both suppress the immune system and leave the patient dangerously susceptible to infections and cancers. This book helped me get it. I will never look at transplant as a cure again. I admire her bravery and the bravery of anyone who opts to press on through their life amidst the suffering. My eyes are definitely opened. Yet I got tired of her anger. Anger at her friends and her husband for not understanding how she felt. How could they? Anger at her doctors because they couldn't do more and couldn't always hold her hand. Her expectations of people in the medical field are as unfair as she claims their expectations of her as a transplant patient. They have lives, families, troubles of their own. They deal with illness, death and heartache daily. Can they always meet her need for comfort, the right words, etc. Probably not. They would burn out quickly. Only God can supply this need Amy and all of us have when we come face to face with the unthinkable. And Amy doesn't seem to believe in God.. I wish she did.
Incredibly helpful book for our family, as we pondered a heart/kidney transplant for a 69 y/0 family memeber. Hey guess what, it's not just like the TV programs - everything goes perfect, the patient gets 20 more years of normal life, and insurance pays for everything. Even this family, with adequate family support and financial privilege, struggled a lot. This book addressed issues and answered questions that the transplant team avoided. Thank you thank you thank you.