Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Excerpt - Between Me and the River: Living Beyond Cancer

PhotobucketBetween Me and the River: Living Beyond Cancer (304p, Harlequin, 978-0373892143) by Carrie Host is a candid and uplifting memoir of how she found the strength and fortitude to triumph over a rare form of cancer, and craft a new and meaningful life.

While dealing with practical issues such as how to find the best medical team and what to tell the children, Host also recounts the many spiritual and eye-opening lessons that made her journey so bearable: how to see what is available rather than what is absent, how to free up energy to heal by letting go of anger and fear, and how to believe in the future.


Twelve Hours Gone

I should have known that, as a mother of three, the only possible way to get 12 uninterrupted hours of sleep would be surgery. One thing about sleeping—if I can call it that—during a surgery, is that I have no sense of time passing the way I do in my own bed. Some 12 hours have disappeared, and it is now roughly 8 p.m.

Finding and removing all the cancer that is there has extended my five-hour surgery into nine hours. Sadly, this fact leaves my mother and Amory pacing in the waiting room for an extra four hours without word of my condition. While I’m unconscious, they have the really difficult job. It isn’t easy to be the one who is sitting there waiting. I can only hope that answering all of the continuously incoming calls from my five siblings, not to mention in-laws, friends and relatives, kept them both occupied. Luckily, being Italian, my mother, Elma, loves to talk. She makes the perfect “surgery update relay point” for the rest of my large family that stretches from coast to coast.

That’s how they probably remember it. My first post-operative memory is of me sliding off a giant blue-plastic-spatula thing onto a bed, like a fish from a Teflon pan onto a plate. The weight of my body bears no significance as they easily move it from one surface to another. Amory’s standing right there at the end of my bed, a giant archangel from a Renaissance painting. He is a vision at six-feet-four: handsome, healthy, bold and glowing against the backdrop of the drab confines of this tiny hospital room.

I’m wondering in a fuzzy way whether Amory is really here with me or if I’m in Heaven, because just over his shoulder I see the profile of Jesus. Then I make out that it’s in a frame on the wall, so I figure I must’ve made it. I’m still here on earth, which reminds me to thank the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost for the favor I had bartered for.

There are nurses on both sides of me, as well as others coming and going, clipping, snipping and rearranging. They are checking the tubes that are running in every direction, and adjusting things in general. Apparently, there are a lot of things to check on in a person whose abdominal cavity has been completely disassembled and then put back together again.

My eyelids weigh more than my thoughts. Like shutters, they open slowly, then close, capturing only single frames: Amory leaning over me…sliding my wedding rings back onto my finger…squeezing my left hand with both of his. Without a word, he restores my sense of belonging somewhere, to someone.

Good night, my love. I love you, Carrie,” he whispers past my closed eyes. His deep, gentle voice climbs over the wall of sleep. I hear him, though, because no matter how faint my conscious presence may be, I can permanently recognize the sound of love.

Thanks to Lisa Roe, Online Publicist, for providing this excerpt.
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  1. Thank you for featuring this book! My best friend valiantly fought cancer and triumphed. Books like Between Me and the River helped her during the most difficult times.

  2. I love the first line: "I should have known that, as a mother of three, the only possible way to get 12 uninterrupted hours of sleep would be surgery." :-) I look forward to reading this book.

  3. What an inspiration. This book is wonderful. We always learn from struggles. Our own and others. I'm happy she wrote this. I going to look for it. Thanks.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  4. Shawna L

    I love reading uplifting memoir's from Amazing survivors how have gone through so much and yet come out to tell their story to inspire others these book are needed and are very important to those going through the same kinds of things or family members who need a little up-lifting of there own. Thanks for this review!!!