Chief Complaint Brain Tumor
By:: John Kerastas
Publisher:: Sunstone Press
Type:: Non- Fiction
About the Book::
At 57 years old, I thought I was the poster child for fifty-year old healthiness: I competed in triathlons, rode in 100 mile biking events and ate a healthy diet chock full of organic vegetables. Then I discovered that I had a brain tumor the size of my wife’s fist.
My memoir chronicles the first year I spent addressing tumor-related health issues: preparing for my first operation, discovering a dangerous skull infection, having the infected portion of my skull surgically removed, learning about my substantial vision and cognitive losses, undergoing rehab and radiation treatments, and learning to live with my “new normal.” And, as best I can tell, the phrase “new normal” is the medical community’s code words for “You’re alive, so quit bitchin’.”
As my health changed, so did my sense of humor. My humor started out superficially light-hearted prior to the first operation; transmogrified into gallows humor after several subsequent operations; and leveled out as somewhat wry-ish after radiation and rehab.
Topics I write about in the book include:
How not to tell everybody you have a brain tumor
Why it’s a lot of work to die in this country
Why I had difficulties in naming my tumor
How I negotiated bathroom visits with “Nurse Don’t-Bother-Me”
Why I could prove that I was the “dumbest guy in the room”
Why someone compared the back of my head to a diseased goat
How I flunked a job interview with myself
This is a book for anybody interested in memoirs about people dealing with personal crises, for patients trudging through rehab, for caretakers helping victims of serious illnesses, or for anybody looking for an unexpected chuckle from an unlikely subject.
I’ve worked at a global advertising agency, at several technology start-up companies and as a free-lance writer. Currently I spend most of my time blogging, speaking and writing about brain health, brain tumors and rehab. I speak to hospital rehab groups, stroke and aphasia groups, and last summer spoke at the American Brain Tumor Association’s annual “Patient and Caregiver” conference.
My charity and non-profit efforts includes work through the Taproot Foundation on behalf of Apna Ghar (a Chicago-based non-profit providing domestic violence services to immigrant communities). I also go on Appalachia Service project trips through my church, participate in Early Response Teams that follow first responders into disaster areas, and teach and certify Early Response Teams through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (e.g.UMCOR).
Review Thoughts from Tara ::
Chief Complaint Brain Tumor is a touching and humorous non-fiction account of the author's diagnosis, surgery, and recovery from a benign brain tumor which left him partially blind.
Kerastas begins with the symptoms which led him to seek out a doctor's care, all the while explaining away his initial lack of action as the consequence of being a male. He keeps this same cheekiness even as he describes his reaction to hearing about the fist-size brain tumor, which he nicknames The Blob, and in his dealings with the hospital staff.
As the author is dealing with his own health issues, the health of his beloved dog is also affected. Kerastas masterfully melds the two stories together, allowing the reader to become involved with his own internal struggles relating to his own diminishing abilities and those of his pet.
Although the end of the book is not the end of the author's struggle with the brain tumor, it does leave one with hope. This book is not just for those looking for answers with their own health struggles but serves as a handbook for anyone needing help looking for the bright side of any struggle in their lives.
FTC:: This post was written for CMBooks, who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.