|John Han-Chih Chang, MD|
|University of Pennsylvania Health System|
| Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Sheila Ethier is a nurse and single mother whose life began down a difficult path one fateful day in October of 1987 when she was told that her younger son had T-cell leukemia. Her story is one of inspiration and encouragement to all who have had to deal with hardships.
She describes the subsequent years of mental and emotional pain experienced in caring for her "ill" son and nurturing her older and very sensitive son. The book is her journal, beginning 10 years after "the diagnosis." Its main focus is the major depression or "chemical imbalance," that she so valiantly battled in those years. The writing seemed to be an outlet to release much of her tension and stress. Sixteen months of her life were chronicled in this fashion. Her writings draw the reader deep within her suffering.
Among her descriptions of her war with emotional breakdown, she discusses her son's treatments and the subsequent treatment related morbidities that he endured. His attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and subsequent lack of inhibition has lead to many difficulties as she describes. Through it all she continues to seek the "Joy" in life and "wait for the healing." Despite her being on mental disability from her formal work, she does tireless volunteer work to help children with cancer and began the "Blanket of Love Project", which has brought brightness into the lives of those less fortunate
This is a story that transcends cancer and applies to all who have had to deal with hardships. Adapted from the Bible verse from the Book of James, she writes, "the foundation for my survival . . . Count it all Joy when you fall into the various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." This is a simple yet tremendous work that was very inspirational. For the sale of each copy, the author is making a donation to the Kids with Cancer Society.