Not in Vain, A Promise Kept

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 15 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022

Talking about this book? Use #notinvainapromisekeptmemoirselfhelpcancerpatientadvocacy #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

★★★★★ "Absolutely powerful, heartbreaking, and helpful!" - Reader Review

An unflinching chronicle of loss that takes a hard look at the state of medical care in the United States.____Kirkus recommended 

What sets the author’s work apart from other memoirs of grief, however, are her expressions of anger a decade since her mother’s passing, and how accessible she makes these emotions to the reader. ---Kirkus

At 68, my mother calls me crying. She's been hiding a distended abdomen.

It turns out she has ovarian cancer. We schedule surgery to remove the mass in her stomach, but her platelet count makes the prospect too high risk.

We postpone. Days later, they again determine she is too weak for surgery. I am livid. We still don't have an official diagnosis confirmed with a biopsy. The possibility of chemotherapy is discussed, instead of surgery. The fluid around her tumor is sent for biopsy. We are promised a 24-hour turnaround, but four days later, nothing. Until a nurse walks in and states she's ready with the chemo.

This is how we learn she has cancer. We learn she has stage 3C ovarian cancer. After my mom's second round of chemo, her numbers improve!

The tumor seems to be shrinking. We are fighting this. We begin to have hope. We are wrong. After a month, my mom is scheduled for another round of chemo. She is getting sicker and weaker by the day. We order a cat scan first because we are not going to continue treating with chemotherapy if it isn't helping; we can only see suffering.

A nurse practitioner from oncology tells us that the tumor has shrunk by half. We celebrate and schedule the third round of chemotherapy. The day after her third round, her surgeon calls. The nurse practitioner was wrong. The tumor had not shrunken.

She is sick, dying, and we gave her more poison, thinking it was doing...anything.

She opts for surgery but has to wait until the chemo leaves her body-a month. And at the end of the month, while she wastes away in front of us, they push it to fall. I refuse. I will not leave the room until they get it on the books. They tell me I have to leave. I won't. They can call security. Finally, they schedule it.

The evening before surgery, her surgeon enters the room and asks me to step out. She proceeds to tell me that the surgery will most likely be palliative, and she is extremely concerned as to whether my mom will make it through surgery. But it's wildly successful, more than we could have hoped.She is in the hospital almost a month post-op and inpatient rehabilitation.

What was pitched as a layup was the need to start some cleanup chemo to kill any straggler cancer cells left in her body after surgery, and it's horrific.

She hallucinates, becoming listless, has every symptom of toxicity. I tell her doctor, who says she's fine. Her condition worsens considerably. A nurse that we befriended calls me before giving her the third out of four inpatient chemotherapy regimens. She is worried about the way my mom looks as well as her speech.

I go to the hospital immediately and find my mom flat on her back, very close to aspirating and choking on her vomit...

After the final dose and a very long holiday weekend, her oncologist stops in to see my mom and admits I was right: she's toxic.

All it took for me to find this out was Google. The cancer comes back with a vengeance-worse than before. Nothing is helping her, and the negligence of the hospital does not let up. The last option is to go on maintenance chemo. She becomes deeply depressed.

Her condition worsens; she is tired, having fought for seven months, and initiates hospice. In December, she passes away. The hospital agrees to zero my parents' bill because I threaten them with a malpractice suit.

Life goes on, and I choose to remember my mother every day. I want my readers to learn from my experience and advocate for their loved ones.

★★★★★ "Absolutely powerful, heartbreaking, and helpful!" - Reader Review

An unflinching chronicle of loss that takes a hard look at the state of medical care in the United States.____Kirkus...


Advance Praise

What sets the author’s work apart from other memoirs of grief, however, are her expressions of anger a decade since her mother’s passing, and how accessible she makes these emotions to the reader. 

An unflinching chronicle of loss that takes a hard look at the state of medical care in the United States. -- #kirkus

What sets the author’s work apart from other memoirs of grief, however, are her expressions of anger a decade since her mother’s passing, and how accessible she makes these emotions to the reader. 

An...


Marketing Plan

★★★★★ "Absolutely powerful, heartbreaking, and helpful!" - Reader Review

____

At 68, my mother calls me crying. She's been hiding a distended abdomen.

It turns out she has ovarian cancer. We schedule surgery to remove the mass in her stomach, but her platelet count makes the prospect too high risk.

We postpone. Days later, they again determine she is too weak for surgery. I am livid. We still don't have an official diagnosis confirmed with a biopsy. The possibility of chemotherapy is discussed, instead of surgery. The fluid around her tumor is sent for biopsy. We are promised a 24-hour turnaround, but four days later, nothing. Until a nurse walks in and states she's ready with the chemo.

This is how we learn she has cancer. We learn she has stage 3C ovarian cancer. After my mom's second round of chemo, her numbers improve!

The tumor seems to be shrinking. We are fighting this. We begin to have hope. We are wrong. After a month, my mom is scheduled for another round of chemo. She is getting sicker and weaker by the day. We order a cat scan first because we are not going to continue treating with chemotherapy if it isn't helping; we can only see suffering.

A nurse practitioner from oncology tells us that the tumor has shrunk by half. We celebrate and schedule the third round of chemotherapy. The day after her third round, her surgeon calls. The nurse practitioner was wrong. The tumor had not shrunken.

She is sick, dying, and we gave her more poison, thinking it was doing...anything.

She opts for surgery but has to wait until the chemo leaves her body-a month. And at the end of the month, while she wastes away in front of us, they push it to fall. I refuse. I will not leave the room until they get it on the books. They tell me I have to leave. I won't. They can call security. Finally, they schedule it.

The evening before surgery, her surgeon enters the room and asks me to step out. She proceeds to tell me that the surgery will most likely be palliative, and she is extremely concerned as to whether my mom will make it through surgery. But it's wildly successful, more than we could have hoped.She is in the hospital almost a month post-op and inpatient rehabilitation.

What was pitched as a layup was the need to start some cleanup chemo to kill any straggler cancer cells left in her body after surgery, and it's horrific.

She hallucinates, becoming listless, has every symptom of toxicity. I tell her doctor, who says she's fine. Her condition worsens considerably. A nurse that we befriended calls me before giving her the third out of four inpatient chemotherapy regimens. She is worried about the way my mom looks as well as her speech.

I go to the hospital immediately and find my mom flat on her back, very close to aspirating and choking on her vomit...

After the final dose and a very long holiday weekend, her oncologist stops in to see my mom and admits I was right: she's toxic.

All it took for me to find this out was Google. The cancer comes back with a vengeance-worse than before. Nothing is helping her, and the negligence of the hospital does not let up. The last option is to go on maintenance chemo. She becomes deeply depressed.

Her condition worsens; she is tired, having fought for seven months, and initiates hospice. In December, she passes away. The hospital agrees to zero my parents' bill because I threaten them with a malpractice suit.

Life goes on, and I choose to remember my mother every day. I want my readers to learn from my experience and advocate for their loved ones.

★★★★★ "Absolutely powerful, heartbreaking, and helpful!" - Reader Review

____

At 68, my mother calls me crying. She's been hiding a distended abdomen.

It turns out she has ovarian cancer. We...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781734802658
PRICE $14.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 4 members


Featured Reviews

Powerful.
A must read for anyone.
Told in such a dynamic, conversational tone, that I felt at times I was actually the author's friend, and I could call her up and say, "Wow, that part was so sad, amazing, made me so angry..."
I generally dislike the F word being used in books and movies because it cheapens the "need" for it. However, author Melissa uses the F word and this book and these events are EXACTLY when/why the F word SHOULD be used.
This is a story about a wonderful family; hard working, loving, loyal. Melissa's mother watches Dr. Oz and realizes her extended abdomen that she has been hiding from everyone is ovarian cancer.
This is about the journey (quite short) from going to the ER to losing her mother. Horrible mistakes were made. The author is still having a hard time (after ten years) of dealing with the loss. This is a beautiful, sad, loving, tribute to her mother, Constance Burns. And it's also a sort of "how to navigate" and "how to advocate" for yourself or a loved one.
What struck me most, was the tight family bond this family shared. Many people lack those bonds in todays society. I have long been an outspoken person like Melissa. I've had to advocate for myself and my family. I understand what it's like, so this book resonated with me. I feel it would be a wonderful helpful book to ANYONE (I think it should be required reading in highschool!) because there will always be sickness, there will always be human errors, and one needs to be prepared to advocate for oneself (especially today when hospitals are limiting visits - a practice I'm afraid is here to stay because it's "less work" when there is a family member advocating for patients).
Mrs. Burns sounds like a great woman, gone far too soon, and this book is a treasure, one I wish I didn't have to be written, but no doubt, will help countless people.

Was this review helpful?

Excellent short story on the unfortunate shortfalls of our healthcare system. I am so sorry for what this author and her family endured. She has brought the perils of dealing within our healthcare system to light. Very good information for those who are entering into our institutions. It holds very good advice for navigating within its borders.

Was this review helpful?

Not in Vain, A Promise Kept is a real and raw collection of events that clearly display the need for a health care/medical system overhaul. As a cancer survivor myself, I could not help feeling every emotion and the ups and downs. It was like I was there! Melissa Mullamphy does an excellent job showing all of the work that goes into advocating for a loved one or even yourself. It is necessary! I like how Melissa summarizes what she and her family have learned. These summaries serve as a very helpful manual in themselves. This is a must-read for everyone whether you or a loved one are sick or not. It is bettered to be as prepared as possible! This book can help.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: