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The Power of Two: Surviving Serious Illness with an Attitude and an Advocateby Brian Monaghan
Synopses & Reviews
This much-needed book is for anyone facing cancer, or any other serious medical challenge. And it is a much-needed book for that person's partner or loved one. It is a book that combines an inspiring story of hope, courage, and survival with a compelling practical blueprint for how to be an advocate and make a potentially life-or-death difference in a patient's life. It is a book that has the power to change everything.
When Brian and Gerri Monaghan stepped into the doctor's office and heard Brian's diagnosis--two brain tumors resulting from Stage IV melanoma, with a 15 percent chance of survival--they knew it wasn't the beginning of his journey, but their journey: Brian the patient, Gerri the advocate, traveling side by side. And they knew they had just two options, fight or flight, with flight no option at all.
That night Gerri started a folder and labeled it "To the War," a phrase Brian had long used in his law firm when preparing for trial. The ammunition would be love, information, humor, intuition, faith. The battles themselves ranged from inconceivably grueling (eight and a half hours of brain surgery while awake) to the futuristic (Gamma Knife radiosurgery and an experimental dentritic-cell vaccine). Along the way they dealt with the uncertainty of contradictory advice from some of the finest doctors in the country, as well as more tumors, blood clots, and Brian's most enduring day-to-day challenge, aphasia. Yet their attitude, and Gerri's advocacy--symbolized by her dimestore spiral notebook with the flowers on the cover, in which she recorded every treatment, every question, every breakthrough--kept them always moving in the right direction.
Any patient, and any loved one of a patient, will benefit deeply from this story. From Brian's utterly riveting memoir of his illness and remission to Gerri's fifty essential tips, The Power of Two is an uncommon gift.
This much-needed book combines an inspiring story of hope and survival with a compelling practical blueprint for how to be a loved one's advocate if he or she is faced with a chronic illness or disabling disease.
The Power of Two has the power to change lives. This much-needed book combines an inspiring story of hope and survival with a compelling practical blueprint for how to be a loved one's advocate. And if ever there was a time when a chronically ill or disabled person needs an advocate, that time is now, with HMOs, the medical establishment, and patients in a chaotic free-for-all.
Brian Monaghan, a fifty-nine-year-old lawyer at the top of his game, got the news that all of us dread--Stage IV melanoma had metastasized to his brain; he was given three to six months to live. That night Brian and his wife Gerri made a pact: "We are going to love and laugh and fight this. And we are going to win." That was ten years ago. Between Brian's courage and attitude, and Gerri's determination to stand up for him--tirelessly researching options, reaching out to friends, family, and anyone who could help, resisting the status quo, and always thinking in terms of "we"--they did win. This book is the story of that journey, told back and forth between them. utterly riveting, inspiring, and uplifting, it is a road map for everyone facing a tough medical challenge, and for the people who love them.
Along the way, Gerri lists her top 50 tips for how to be an advocate: #1 Trust your intuition. #6 Create a battle plan. #15 Get copies of records. #26 Make doctors speak in a language that you understand. #49 This is not a dress rehearsal.
About the Author
Gerri Monaghan met Brian when applying for a paralegal job at his firm. They married in 1995 and live in San Diego.
Brian Monaghan was, until diagnosed with his illness in 1998, a highly successful plaintiff's trial attorney in San Diego, earning numerous awards and citations. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Ireland Fund, the Salk Institute International Council, Hastings College of the Law at the University of California, and the San Diego Padres.
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