Two rare diseases - Two stories of survival
Wendy Chapin Ford survived a rare and deadly neurological disorder and lived to write about it. To Get Back Home - A Mysterious Disease: A Fight for Life is the stirring and acclaimed account of her struggle to survive coma and quadriplegia, against all odds, and return to health and home.
Ten years later, her supportive husband was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer, cholangiocarcinoma. She has written another book, Normalcy -- How one family made it through a devastating diagnosis: A Primer for Dealing with Cancer, available on this site as a free download, under a Creative Commons license.
On this site, you will learn of both stories, and of the strength, love and compassion of family and friends and of the medical talent behind the scenes at two Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals in Boston that got the Ford family through it all.
Now includes the poem, "Clutter," by Providence-based poet David Riley, (p. 49).
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If you would like to help:
The CureLiverCancers team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is dedicated to curing all types of liver cancers, including cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder cancer and hepatocellular cancer. Our multidisciplinary clinical team provides comprehensive care for all aspects of liver cancer care, from screening to transplant and specialized liver procedures to chemotherapy and palliative care. Our collaborative research team brings together the best in basic science, clinical trials and state-of-the-art health services research to achieve our goal of improving outcomes for patients with liver cancers.
If you would like to make a donation to BIDMC's CureLiverCancers team, please click here:
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To Get Back Home
A Mysterious Disease: A Fight for Life
Wendy Chapin Ford
A true and inspiring story for all ---
"Should be mandatory reading for all in healthcare."
--- Lynn W., RRT, RPSGT
"Reading this precious book...a tribute to the medical establishment itself...is a 'natural high.'" --- Marc C., M.D.
To Get Back Home - A Mysterious Disease: A Fight for Life is a medical thriller of the first order, a true story of triumph of survival over astronomical odds, as an otherwise healthy and active young woman fights for her life after being suddenly stricken by a rare neurological disorder, Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (ADEM). To Get Back Home takes you on a harrowing journey as Ms. Ford forges her way back from a coma and quadriplegia, desperate to return to her family and young children.
Her life seemed perfect until Wendy Ford was stricken and rendered comatose within days, and then, after a tense weeks-long battle for survival, quadriplegic. At one of the most renowned hospitals in the world, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the Harvard teaching hospital known as "Harvard with a heart," her doctors ─ Harvard Medical School professors all ─ were helpless to diagnose and treat her, hard as they tried, as the rare malady, Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), confounded even them and she slipped further and further away. Initially, she was not expected to live, nor, ultimately, to walk again or recover her prior intellectual abilities. Doctors have referred to hers as a medical miracle case, and the mysteries persist to this day.
To Get Back Home, an Editor's Choice selection, is also part of the Reader's Choice Recognition Program.
To Get Back Home is available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.
"An engaging, moving memoir that unravels at a quick pace. Straightforward and honest, emotional realism is achieved with quiet dignity, making it all the more poignant..."
—Kate Darnton, Contributing Editor, PublicAffairs
"Impeccably done and so fascinating. Sometimes you read something that's really important and you have to at least try to get it out there..."
—Philip Spitzer, Literary Agent, NY, NY
"A poignant narrative...I was spellbound. You are a role model for your life-affirming persistence..."
—Weston Boer, Writer and Historian
"Immensely valuable to anyone in the clergy as they help people through dire straits."
—The Rev. Susan Flanders, Washington, D.C.
"Very moved by your manuscript, which I read from cover to cover, at once...Remarkable..."
—Diana Barrett, Harvard Business School
"Your very desire to live and not die was itself a kind of prayer."
—Professor Kimberley Patton, Harvard Divinity School