I just wrapped up a difficult memoir.
Sick Girl, written by Amy Silverstein, is described on the back cover as a story that has ignited controversy and put the author at the center of an ongoing debate on patient rights, the omnipotent power of doctors, and the challenges of living with chronic illness. Beginning with the onset of her symptoms when she was a twenty-four-year-old law student, Sick girl chronicles Amy’s medical journey from the first misdiagnosis to her astonishing and ongoing recovery after heart transplant surgery.
As one would expect, Amy is grateful for her new heart. But her life is not flowers and butterflies. She has to take nausea inducing medicine every day to suppress her healthy immune system so that it can’t attack her new heart as a foreign invader. In essence she gets a healthy heart, but lives almost like an AIDS patient, with a dangerously low immune system, susceptible to disease, infection, and chronic illness.
Sick Girl is not a feel-good memoir. The author did not write this book to teach tender life-lessons the reader could apply to their own lives. This is NOT Eat, Pray, Love.
Sick Girl is an education in the reality of life after a transplant. It shows the fog of medicine from a patient’s perspective. It is often painful to read.
I’m glad Amy Silverstein wrote her story, and I’m glad I went along on her journey. I could relate to her struggle of feeling different. More importantly, I walked away with a whole new level of compassion for the chronically ill.
This was a fascinating story and I feel smarter and more well-rounded for witnessing her struggle. Amy Silverstein is a smart, determined, often bitter and resentful soldier in a constant fight for her life. This is not a book for the tender-hearted (no pun intended), but it is a book worth reading. I give it 3 1/2 out of five stars.