Bookshelf

We created the Bookshelf for a place to highlight CaringBridge website authors who have written books about their health journey. Some people publish a book to close a chapter, and others publish a book as a way to honor and grieve the loss of a loved one. If you are a CaringBridge website author or co-author who has written a book about your experience, and would like to have your book appear in this list, please send us an email at bookshelf@caringbridge.org.

Chemosabee

Chemosabee: A Triathlete's Journey Through the First Year of Breast Cancer

By Nancy Reinisch

After a diagnosis in 2006 of invasive ductal and lobular breast cancer and the BRCA gene, triathlete and psychotherapist Nancy Reinisch of Glenwood Springs, CO, wrote a book based on her CaringBridge Journal entries and personal photos, as well as words of wisdom posted in response from family and friends.

In “Chemosabee,” Nancy shares how she maintained her health, fitness and sanity through a year that included chemo, mastectomies, reconstructive surgery and a BRCA 2 diagnosis. She uses her psychotherapy skills and coaching tips to describe what healing can look like, and to inspire others on cancer journeys.

Nancy continues updating her CaringBridge site as treatment continues for a recurrence of cancer diagnosed in 2016.

Buy Chemosabee on Amazon

Strong is the New Pretty

Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves

By Kate T. Parker

Fourteen-year-old Grace Bunke of Marietta, GA, whose health journey with malignant osteocarcoma has been captured in the CaringBridge series How We Heal, is among the fearless girls featured in Kate T. Parker’s “Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves.”

A photographer and mom of two daughters herself, Kate traveled the country to capture what strength looks like. In the case of Grace, diagnosed with bone cancer at age 11, in 2014, she swam over three years through chemo, lung surgeries, partial amputation of her leg, and an immunotherapy clinical trial.

Not only did she swim, but Grace set PRs (personal records) in seven swim events, in the midst of radiation to her spine, after her cancer came back in 2017.

In this video, watch and hear Grace talk about going for your dreams.

Buy Strong is the New Pretty on Amazon

Life With Grace

Life With Grace: A Reference Guide for Parents of Premature Babies

By Jennifer Schwertfeger

Grace Schwertfeger of Mankato, MN, arrived in the world in October 2004, much sooner than expected. Born at 24 weeks, Grace was a micro-preemie. She spent her first 9 months in the hospital, during which she endured seven life-saving surgeries, followed by 9 more months of in-home nursing care.

Today, Grace is a junior-high student, whose life is not defined by the developmental and cognitive delays associated with her premature birth. As her mom, Jennifer said, “Grace is a true miracle.”

Through “Life With Grace,” based on the experience of the Schwertfeger Family, and the prayers and support that came through Grace’s CaringBridge site, Jennifer wants families of preemies to know that they are not alone. She said, “I hope that everyone who reads our story will walk away knowing that we are in charge of how we handle all that we are given. Even when going through tough times.”

Buy Life with Grace on Amazon

The Bright Hour

By Nina Riggs

North Carolina wife and mother Nina Riggs’s memoir of her final years as she faced breast cancer at age 39, was published posthumously, in 2017.

As Nina’s husband, John Duberstein, shared her legacy through “The Bright Hour,” he and Lucy Kalanithi, widow of “When Breath Becomes Air” author and CaringBridge user Dr. Paul Kalanithi, forged a bond based on hope and healing that can happen even when health cannot be restored.

Both books focus on how the power of love can transcend even death.

Buy The Bright Hour on Amazon

If I Could Mend Your Heart

By Mary I. Farr

Retired hospital chaplain and minister Mary Farr’s book, “If I Could Mend Your Heart,” has a direct connection to the very start of CaringBridge.

When Mary was a chaplain at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN, back in June 1997, she provided emotional and support to JoAnn Hardegger and Darrin Swanson, a young couple from Wisconsin, as they awaited the birth of their baby.

Brighid was born at 24 weeks, on June 7, 1997. Her health was so fragile, she lived just 9 days. But CaringBridge, named after Brighid, is her legacy.

And this gentle, sweet, beautifully illustrated book honors the experience of  JoAnn and Darrin, and families everywhere who need healing after a health journey.

Buy If I Could Mend Your Heart on Amazon

Staying Resilient: When Life Throws You More Than a Curveball

By Lawrence R. Blundred

After Donna Blundred of Cincinnati, Ohio, received a diagnosis in 2012 of glioblastoma multiforme, the worst kind of brain cancer, her husband, Lawrence, wrote “Staying Resilient: When Life Throws You More Than a Curveball,” to encourage CaringBridge families, and others, to view a health journey as a catalyst for resiliency.

In the book, Larry invites patients, caregivers, family and friends who have “stepped into the batter’s box” of a health crisis to add God’s perspective into the mix and develop a plan for coping, and thriving, even when a positive health outcome is not guaranteed.

Buy Staying Resilient on Amazon

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