A Memoir of Love, Loss, and AcceptanceeBook - 2013
'Dodging Dandelions' is a memoir from first-time author Ron Richards. The story is a feelings-filled male perspective on a family's ability to remain positive despite, at times, seemingly insurmountable challenges that revolve around cancer and the struggles that come with trying to manage a child who is severely mentally ill. The book recounts how a husband, and his family, chose to travel the high road through multiple bouts with breast cancer; a daughter who regularly spirals out-of-control; and his two episodes with kidney cancer. In the opening chapters, Ron and his wife, Sara, deal with her initial breast cancer diagnosis when she is only 30 years old. After a six-year remission, the disease re-appears and causes another round of treatments. That occurs as their adopted daughter is only a year old and it's becoming apparent she has significant behavioral/emotional issues. As she ages, her behavior becomes increasingly abnormal and by the time she turns seven, she is hospitalized and placed on a significant regime of medicines. As time passes, her behavior continues to deteriorate and she ends up hospitalized in locked, psychiatric facilities for virtually all of her high school years. After her first recurrence, Sara's cancer remains in remission for nearly 11 years before the disease returns with a vengeance, tumors filling her liver to the point that she may not survive. An intense round of chemotherapy saves her life. Just as the eight months of chemo are coming to a close, and the couple is looking forward to time away from cancer and medical care, a coincidental ultrasound finds that Ron has a cancerous tumor in his left kidney. The disease is treated surgically and his left kidney is removed. After he recovers, the couple enjoys a few months respite from the disease but is jolted back to the cancer world when a scan shows Sara has tumors in her brain. As he considers their situation, Ron decides to change careers to serve as Sara's primary caregiver. While that allows him to be with his failing wife on a daily basis the final 3+ years of her life, the reality is that his new career provides only a fraction of their previous income. The resulting financial strain compounds the stresses of Sara's cancer in ways the couple could never have imagined. As this is happening, their daughter remains locked away in psychiatric care and the family wrestles with the mental anguish of dealing with a family member who has severe mental illness. As months pass, Sara has additional treatments and procedures and finally ends up having surgery to remove the most troublesome tumor in her brain. The surgery seemingly goes well but she loses her swallowing function, resulting in Ron feeding her four times a day through a stomach tube for the final 11 months of her life. Through it all, Sara never wavers in her commitment to 'be the best patient I can be,' and she - and the family - remains positive to the very end. As her 22-plus-year breast cancer battle comes quietly to an end, the family plans and conducts a memorial service that proves to be a testament to the lives she touched as more than 300 people fill the church sanctuary for a standing-room-only service. Throughout the book, Richards offers a genuine and honest husband's point-of-view that is filled with feeling and emotion on a level rarely seen from a male perspective. He openly shares what he learned as he negotiated his way through the disbelief, fear, anger, sadness and uncertainty he faced time and again as his wife was losing her battle and he attempted to remain upbeat and positive as he kept the family together.
Publisher: [United States] : BookBaby : Made available through hoopla, 2013.
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource