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Book Review: Brain Tumor, A Love Story by Kathy Eliscu and Ted White

Published by Maine Authors Publishing

Brain Tumor is not a sad memoir.

“But,” you say. “How could a memoir about a woman losing her husband because of a primary malignant brain tumor called glioblastoma, be anything but sad?” When I started to read the book, I had the same question. What I found was a touching story of love between two medical professionals; a story which unfolded to document the turmoils, terrors, and truths of how a disease can upend one’s life.

Ted White is a physician, an athlete. Kathy Eliscu is a nurse with a thirty-year career.

They find each other after earlier marriages have given each of them loving children. In their retirements love blossoms, rewarding them with happiness and a hopeful future.

When Ted shows symptoms of a debilitating illness, the couple climb aboard a medical

treadmill which is unfortunately all too common. Visits to numerous specialists and

hospitals begin to take much of their time, often separating them for days at a time.

There are hundreds of tests, biopsies, x-rays, more tests; all leading to the conclusion

that Ted has a terminal disease. At each stage of treatment, one nagging question is

whether “big insurance” will cover each procedure, each hospital stay, all the

medications or not.

Fortunately, the pair is surrounded by loving caregivers: family, friends, neighbors, and

many strangers. These angels are always there to assist when the going is toughest. It

is witness to Kathy’s deep faith that she always recognizes a divine presence guiding

them forward even in the worst of times.

Within these pages is the story of a partnership. In the midst of the crisis, both people

agree to keep journals of their travails. Their belief is that the wedding of two personal

and professional perspectives would provide a fuller view of the elements required to

deal with disease and dying. Ted’s journal is surprisingly rational for someone living with

physical and mental limits and possible death. As in her first novel and other writings,

Kathy’s voice is very personal and pulls the reader into both the objective and emotional

aspects of their predicament.

I like the way in which her own fears are pushed aside even though she knows her loss

will be devastating. After all, “it’s his head,” not hers. It is a tribute to her perseverance

and strong love for Ted that she completed their writing project during her grieving. I’m

not sure I could have done the same thing.

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