Monday, April 8, 2013

A book review of I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours



Non-Fiction/Health/Cancer
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco—Where’s Yours?
Authors:Rick Redner & Brenda Redner
2013
West Bow Press
255 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4497-7961-0

I left my Prostate in San Francisco—Where’s Yours? is by no means a ringing endorsement for robotic prostate surgery. However, it is a candid and courageous explanation of what patients—and couples—should expect in the months preceding and following this procedure. Through an autobiographical account of their experience with prostate cancer—from diagnosis, to pre-surgery preparation, to the surgery itself, to the recovery process—Rick and Brenda Redner touch upon nearly every aspect of the disease.

After reluctantly allowing his physician to perform a routine examination, Rick learned that there was a suspicious lump on his prostate. Then the biopsy confirmed Rick’s darkest fear: he had prostate cancer. This disease would disrupt—and irreversibly change—his life in ways that he could not imagine at that time. It would also profoundly alter his relationship with his wife, Brenda.

A cheerful heart is good medicine.” This proverb highlights the attitude that enabled Rick and Brenda to endure this difficult period in their lives. Their faith in God—and the support of the Christian church—helped them remain sane and optimistic during their darkest days. The couple’s reliance on the healing power of laughter, and, more importantly, their commitment to the Christian faith, comes across in every chapter of the book. Aided by humor—and the inspiration of the Scriptures—the authors offer readers (dealing with this disease) vital information relating to the emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual, and psychological effects of prostate cancer.
The majority of the book is written by Rick. He begins by describing his emotional reaction following the dreaded diagnosis. Next he discusses how the biopsy and bone scan affected him physically. Then he explains the reasons for choosing robotic prostate surgery. Finally, he describes the surgery, and the direct effects this procedure had on his urinary control and sexual ability. Yet throughout the book—in various chapters dealing with how to tell family and friends about the diagnosis, who to let into one’s circle of confidence (or on one’s team), and how he felt at every stage of the journey—he dispels popular myths regarding the nature of prostate cancer and surgery. This is invaluable information that one will not find online or in most books written on the subject.

In particular, Rick touches upon the taboo subject of sexuality, discussing specific ways the surgery affected his ability to perform ‘in bed.’ This is a chapter of utmost importance: here the author carefully chronicles the crippling emotions that accompanied his temporary impotence; and compares his experience with other post-surgery cases. He also provides fellow prostate patients dealing with this problem a list of possible solutions, ways to cope, and steps to take in order to regain one’s sexual abilities. Since erectile dysfunction dramatically changes the way couples achieve intimacy, this chapter is especially useful for those who are in a romantic relationship.

Rick writes in a friendly, succinct, journalistic style. This makes the book extremely easy to read. Similarly, Brenda’s prose is very clear. Rick’s humorous and precise account, coupled with Brenda’s spiritually insightful interpretation of this experience (in the concluding chapters), creates an organized and compelling chronicle. Despite the comprehensive nature of the book—as the couple covers a broad array of issues, studies, spiritual perspectives, financial considerations, and medical facts associated with the disease—the authors manage to present their testimony in a coherent and entertaining linear storyline.
Travelers would not want to venture into a dangerous foreign country without the appropriate maps and guidebooks (written by experts who have experienced and studied this region of the world). In the same way, couples dealing with prostate cancer do not want to go on this difficult journey without Rick and Brenda’s book. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco—Where’s Yours? is a work of great medical value told from the personal perspective of two people who fought the disease head-on (with intelligence and passion); and who, remarkably, came out of the experience as better people. This book is a must read for individuals, or couples, facing prostate cancer.

Christopher Ackerman
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers