Thursday, April 3, 2014

#Review: Regine's Book (#Cancer Awareness Week)

Book Title: Regine's Book
Author: Regine Stokke
Publisher: Zest Books
Genre: Non Fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperbook
Cost: $9.99
Pages: 333
How I got it: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher
Publication Date: 4/1/2014
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Regine’s blog about living with Leukemia gained a huge following, and eventually became the basis for book. She writes openly about emotional and physical aspects of her 15-month struggle to recover, and explains how her disease impacts her life. In the course of her illness, Regine has photography exhibits, goes to concerts, enjoys her friends and family, and advocates for registering as a blood and bone marrow donor. She was a typical teenager with an amazing will to live; and the lessons she learned have relevance for all of us. She died at home on December 3, 2009 with her family and cat by her side. Originally published in Norway, the book was selected by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture for a translation grant and became a bestseller there.

Bring tissues. I'm just warning you now. I didn't get far into the book before the water works started and they only abated for little bit.  As a person in the medical field, I would flinch each time she described her meds (because I knew the side effects of most of them, those I didn't I found myself looking up) or her procedures (the bone marrow biopsy is pretty gruesome when you consider what's involved and how it all works).

I don't say this to discourage you. I would recommend that everyone read this. As a healthcare professional I have some knowledge of the things she's talking about, however knowing the knowledge clinically and reading her personal accounts?? Not the same, I mean it was a beautiful but brutal battle   As I was reading I kept remembering Hazel Grace's mom saying that is she lost her daughter she would no longer be a mom(John Green's The Fault In Our Stars), and that just struck me so hard.  Especially when reading her mothers words at the end. while she's still a mom, she's a mom of one instead of two, and her sister Elise isn't a younger sister anymore, she's now an only child.  That's gotta hurt. Regine talks about that, how in the end of all of this she gets to leave and those left behind suffer for it.

Reading Regine's words, looking at her photos, seeing how much she and her family accomplished and how well she took it (granted she had her moments of wondering if why her, but ummm everyone wonders that) even the comments they shared from others also helped to put her posts in perspective.  I hate to say I enjoyed reading the book since the subject is such a brutal one, but I did, I loved reading Regine's words, seeing her pictures, & knowing even though she didn't get to see it all that she's made a difference even with the limited time she had.

I know walking away from this that we all have a chance to do better and accomplish more each day. I know I'm grateful that my disease isn't as horrible as it could be ( I have Lupus). Reading Regine's story helped me to clarify somethings, and want to get even more motivated to do more. Regine made many memories in her short time here, she loved her family fiercely, her friends dearly and her passions even more.

Regine's mom did a wonderful job putting the book together, finding the right songs, and showcasing the right comments. Although I didn't know her, or of her blog, reading this has made me think I do. The book has it all, the entries from Regine, a few comments, a few recipes, family photos, entries from her friends  and also clinical information for those who won't know what the disease is, the process, prognosis, or the diagnostic procedures.  It manages to balance being a good biography with a clinical background without being boring or too morose.

I highly recommend this one.  If you loved Hazel Grace from John Green's The Fault In Our Stars then your going to love Regine.
Regine's original site is still up you can find it here. I included the google translated version but if you speak Norwegian you can find it in the original language.
Happy Reading

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