The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts by Charity Tillemann-Dick
Not many people have reason to rejoice on hearing the news, "We have lungs, we have lungs!" In ENCORE, we hear about the remarkable, uplifting story of one young opera singer who got to hear that news TWICE.
I wept reading this book. All I could think was, "Thank you, God, for saving this young woman!" The author survived not just one double lung transplant--but TWO! Charity went through horrific operations, dodging death and disability each time. After the first transplant, the doctors had to put her in a coma for FIVE WEEKS. I cannot fathom what it would be like having to endure this.
Reading ENCORE, I learned a lot about lung disease along the way. It is neither a pleasant or pretty picture. Here's just one example: After the second transplant, the anti-rejection drugs compromise the immune system, making one susceptible to skin cancer. Charity recalls:
"My vulnerable porcelain complexion has already been invaded ty soon-to-be-visible clumps of spindle squamous cells. They'll breed at astonishing rates. . . "
This story is an inspiration to us all. Next time you feel sorry for yourself, or think that maybe life is too hard, think about THE ENCORE, and Charity Tillemann-Dick. Charity writes near the end:
"Ten years after I first embarked on my great medical saga, I no longer feel the stage fright I used to get before doctor's appointments. I no longer fear rejection."