When Janie was diagnosed in 1985, at age 22, with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, she was told she would eventually need a liver transplant. Her PSC was mostly asymptomatic until 2013 when she had to spend January in the hospital due to acute internal bleeding and a failing liver.
Due to the slow progression of the disease Janie had the opportunity to pursue her graduate education, and to enjoy a short career in film, and a longer career as a property manager. Following that, for ten years, she lived on a farm in the rolling hills of Tennessee, and she learned to grow food and to preserve and can fruits and vegetables. Her lime curd and cherry-orange marmalade are family favorites. Always a writer by inclination, she wrote for a local magazine whose primary goal was to promote food sustainability and local farming She has always cherished and nurtured the ties of family, arranging family reunions and weddings, and offering guidance and support to younger family members.
May 6, 2015
This REVIEW by Jim Gleason
Friends forever, in good times and challenging ones
Sweet, Sour, Bitter: A Tale of a Transplant, a Friendship, and a Lemonade Stand (Paperback)
There is not much written by and about the caregiver role in the transplant process. In this reasonably short (71 pages) autobiographical book, through chapters alternately written by Lisa, the caregiver, and Janie, the liver transplant candidate (dealing with life threatening hepatic disease), we have a unique insight into how a friend and candidate come together after a long ago college friendship at a time of need. Both authors are well written and offer a very personal balanced reading style as they share their life challenge events from both perspectives, those of a caregiver friend and the supported patient, a very interesting dual story reading.
My only disappointment was the lack of closure to the liver transplant story when the book ends before that desperately awaited ‘call’ that an organ is available comes for Janie. Maybe that’s for another book or a revised version of this ‘first edition’ book. The reader, like the patient, is left waiting for that hoped and prayed for outcome, a successful transplant and recovery that will give both many more years of precious friendship. In that shared waiting between reader and the authors, maybe we have a new dimension in writing where the reader feels the uncertainty of there being no schedule for when a donated organ will be offered.
Their story makes for interesting and insightful reading for patients and their caregivers certainly, but maybe medical professionals would gain better insight into what goes on in their patients’ lives in reading this quick study book. Any patient would be blessed to have the support of such a dedicated caregiver friend as they navigate the unknown waters of facing possible death or the long-term and anxious wait for that ‘call’ coming in time. As they share in summary of their purpose in writing: “Our story is one of surprise, a friendship that had no particular reason for enduring other than it did. Two vastly different people who took strength in common ground and who glide through middle-age hoping it may glide a little longer.” Isn’t that what we all wish for in facing the challenge of a lifesaving organ transplant?
Oh, and that “Lemonade Stand” reference in the title, that’s their effort to raise needed funds for the medical expenses.
May 6, 2015
Janie and Lisa’s Book on Amazon and Kindle
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April 23, 2014
Sudden and surprised by this info. Janie you will be fine and many people will help to support you financially and emotionally.I wish you well and you will be in my thoughts and prayers for a successful transplant. May God be with you in every step on the way to surgery and recovery.<3