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Sick Girl


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Silverstein's autobiography draws readers inside her mesmeric human drama of living life as a heart transplant recipient. Make no mistake: the author, an Ivy League-trained lawyer and superb writer with a wry, biting sense of humor, immediately debunks preconceptions about a transplanted heart as a "cure" for a failed one (she was 24 at the time of the procedure). Indeed, she strips away the layers of her 17-year medical "recovery" and reveals her anger toward the "white coats" (as she refers to her physicians), her desire to one day have some semblance of a "normal" life, and her unshakable love for her husband, Scott, and their son, Casey. Silverstein is a natural raconteur with a story so compelling readers won't want to put this book down. Required reading for anyone involved with patient care and essential for the shelves of all U.S. medical and nursing school libraries; highly recommended for all public, academic, consumer health, and other health science libraries.-Maura Sostack, Virtua West Jersey Hosp. Medical Lib., Voorhees Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Silverstein's memoir offers a rare glimpse at life as an organ-transplant recipient. She was a young law student when the first signs of a deadly virus in her heart appeared. When her doctor said she merely needed to keep her stress in check and add salt to her diet, she happily complied. At 25, after several months of terrifying symptoms and misdiagnoses, she received a heart transplant. Like all organ recipients, to prevent her body from rejecting her new heart, she depends on high doses of immunosuppressants-bitter "poison" that leaves her nauseous, trembling, aching, and highly vulnerable to infection-for the rest of her life, which was only expected to last another 10 years. To better her chances, she heeded her doctors' advice, sacrificing everything from coffee to alcohol to pregnancy. Still, it seemed that the best she could hope for was the illusion of a normal life, so she kept her body's punishing blows from her friends, her adopted son and at times even from her loving husband, her "ever-confident coach" through years of devastating illness. "[T]o make myself `normal' again would be the most extraordinary feat that I would never quite accomplish," she writes. Now, more than 17 years after her transplant, Silverstein reflects on the often misunderstood journey through "the torments of being saved" in a stirring story of survival and unyielding love. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Amy Silverstein is not an easy patient, with good reason. She has lived nineteen long years with a transplanted heart, much longer than any doctor could have predicted. And she has, arguably, done more with a transplanted heart than anyone else, including the publication of this remarkable book. It documents her fears, frustrations, anger, and perseverance. She recognizes that the world expects a simpering bundle of gratitude. In her compelling memoir, Sick Girl, Amy delivers a searing insight into the battle to stay alive. And yet, there is also love and humor, and a radiant courage."
"Silverstein is an inspired storyteller. Her engaging language and sharp insight make Sick Girl both compelling and moving. Few of us undergo a heart transplant at twenty-four, but we can recognize our own stories in this incisive, unflinching look at life, love, and extraordinary courage."
"Spectacular ... Heart transplant patients live along the jagged edges of the abyss that most mortals fear. By bravely peeking over the edge, Amy Silverstein shares with us the brutal reality of being a 'survivor.'"
"Truly compelling, Sick Girl sucked me in from the get-go. Amy Silverstein's story is amazing and inspiring."

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