Book review: The winding road by Miriam Hurdle- A journey of survival

I want to thank Miriam for writing this book which is a real-life account of her battle with cancer in 2008. In the foreword, she says, ” Life is precious and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living.’ This very honest, straight-from-the-heart line, sets the tone of the book and forms the backbone of her fight against cancer. It was this line that made me read on. It reminded me of my very recent brush with the hospital and how I felt when I was wheeled into the operation theatre. I thought, ‘Well if it ends, the pain is gone. But, there’s so much love to live for.

Miriam recounts her experience with the dreaded ‘C’- the chance identification of it, the subsequent tests, and adjusting her life so she could continue to work. Gratitude, faith, prayer, support from family and friends and her immense willpower to get through it, saved her. She says, ‘ What if there was no hysterectomy? How would I have found out about melanoma? There was no pain or any warning symptoms. I’m grateful for the hysterectomy. The treatment provided by Doctors is pretty much the same in most countries which are fairly well-developed.

In a frank, candid manner Miriam talks of real-life challenges that a family goes through when a family member is detected with cancer- not just the emotional and physical challenges but practical ones such as getting leave from work for the treatment and rest thereafter but also managing the costs involved. The author explains the illness, the after-effects of the treatment, getting back to work and the rules of the educational system with regards to leave, pay and gratuity – those that I’d heard my mother speak of when she went through it in 2006 ( at the time, I remember wondering why she cared about her job so much and couldn’t just leave ).

From August 2008 to October 2008, three months after detection, while Miriam waited for the necessary insurance approvals so the hospital can begin treatment, the cancer was spreading. It is ironic that a patient must wait even when everybody knows that cancer does not wait and that the longer it takes for the treatment to begin, the greater the damage that needs to be fixed. Yet, that’s how the medical system works. Reading this book made me realize that things were no different in the United States in the early 2000s than it was in India. The author shares her fear; one that may be true for every cancer patient, ‘ Oh no, my cancer is spreading. It’s true that melanoma spreads fast. I must wait for an entire month before the surgery. How fast will the cancer spread during this month? Will it spread to my brain before the operation?’

Miriam gives the little details that nobody tells you when you go to the hospital for a surgical procedure. She says, ‘They asked if I could scoot from the gurney onto the operating table. I did it with little effort. The anesthesiologist greeted me and injected the anaesthesia into the back of my left hand. He told me Dr Eisner was on the way. In an instant, his face faded away.’ In 100 pages, she manages to write an informative, heartwarming, inspiring story of strength.

Miriam’s hope to see her daughter’s wedding and grandchildren, thereafter, kept her going. In the book she says, ‘ My mind came to a halt. There are two roads in front of me. Which one should I choose? The road to the single chemo drug is ineffective, It may lead to a dead-end, eventually. The other road is unknown, with a slim chance of leading to healing. The Road not Taken by Robert Frost came to my mind, especially the last few lines.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I found quite a few things interesting and informative in the book, apart from how the author dealt with the Cancer. For one, how the Church provides support by sharing information amongst the community and how everybody pitches in to help. I know for certain, this does not exist in Hindu temples. Another thing that I found interesting was the concept of the Catastrophic Leave bank, where teachers can deposit one sick leave day to become a member. Then, after exhausting their sick leave days, they can withdraw days at the bank, 20 days at a time to receive half the pay, up to a maximum of 100 days. In addition, to this under the Teacher’s union, after a teacher has exhausted her or his sick leave balance, they can get 50% pay for 100 days, which effectively means that under the two plans, the author was able to get her complete pay for 100 days. There were a few other things too that were new to me but you’ll need to read the book to find out.

Rating

For information and simplicity of language, I’m giving this book, five stars. In this world where there’s no dearth of bad news, it’s important to read stories of survival and community spirit. Despite the tragedy of the situation, this book is inspiring and there’s a lot you can take away from it. The photographs of the author with her family (the people mentioned in the book) at the end of the story will leave you feeling satisfied because who does not like a happy ending?

The book is for :

This is a good book to read, if you know someone who is dealing with cancer ( it will help you understand and support them better because there’s so much to it than the knowledge that the body is being attacked from the inside) , if you’ve lost someone to cancer ( you’ll understand what they went through if you were not in a position to understand it earlier) or for someone detected with it ( it’s inspiring to know that you can get through it). It’s a good book to read for awareness of how hospitals function. Had I read the book earlier, I might have grumbled a little lesser about my own recent visit to the hospital. It seems like it’s the same, world over.

‘The Winding Road’ is available of kindle- free for Kindle unlimited subscribers and Rs 159 in India, for non-subscribers.

P.S. I read the book 10 days ago but couldn’t post the review earlier as I’m moving countries. This note is for those of your who follow my blog regularly, that I will not be writing regularly over the next one month as we move, travel and settle down.

Copyright@smithavishwanathsblog.com. All Rights Reserved.

47 responses to “Book review: The winding road by Miriam Hurdle- A journey of survival”

  1. boundlessblessingsblog Avatar

    Fantastic review Cindy. Congratulations to Miriam for sharing such a beautiful life of hers and her journey. Thanks a lot 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Hey Kamal, it’s Smitha,not Cindy:). Who is Cindy btw? This is the second time you’ve called me by that name 😀.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Yes, Miriam’s done a wonderful job sharing her journey.

      Like

      1. boundlessblessingsblog Avatar

        Ya sorry forgot Smitha. Ya Miriam is too good and she has come out bravely.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Smitha V Avatar

          It’s okay🙂. Hope you are doing well.

          Like

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Kamal! I’m thankful that Smitha did a fantastic review of my memoir. 🙂

      Like

  2. gjef2871 Avatar

    I really want to read this book. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      I’m very glad that the review makes you want to read the book. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

      Like

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much, Gill! I hope you enjoy reading my memoir!

      Like

    1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you for sharing, Ed. I appreciate that.

      Like

  3. Jacqui Murray Avatar
    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thanks so much, Jacqui. The book was an eyeopener in many ways.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much, Jacqui! I’ll be home in CA tomorrow.

      Like

  4. Liz Gauffreau Avatar

    Congratulations to Miriam on the wonderful review of her moving memoir. I had the same experience reading the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you, Liz. I’m happy to know that the review echoed your sentiments on reading the book. Miriam has done a great job writing the book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz Gauffreau Avatar

        You’re welcome, Smitha. Indeed, she has.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you so much, Liz. Smitha did a fantastic review of my memoir. I appreciated your review very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz Gauffreau Avatar

        You’re most welcome, Miriam!

        Like

  5. balroop2013 Avatar

    This is a heart-felt review Smitha. I’ve read this book, loaded with Miriam’s emotional journey. Thanks for sharing. Wishing to all the best with moving.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much, Balroop ji for your warm wishes. Miriam’s book was factual and very real…it had things that very rarely get talked about. It’s good to know that you too have read this book.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you so much, Balroop! Smitha’s review stirred up my emotions all over again. I appreciated very much of your review also.

      Like

  6. Book review: The winding road by Miriam Hurdle- A journey of survival | The Showers of Blessings Avatar

    […] over at Smitha Vishwanath, the blogger, painter, artist, and poet’s blog. She shared a heartwarming review of my […]

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

    Reblogged this on The Showers of Blessings and commented:

    I’m over at Smitha Vishwanath, the blogger and poet’s blog. She shared a heartwarming review of my memoir. Her review stirred up my emotions about my journey all over again. It brought happy tears into my eyes because I’m alive t share my story with you. Please go over to read her excellent review.

    Like

  8. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

    Thank you for this excellent review of my memoir, Smitha. Your review stirs up my emotions all over again. I’m grateful to be here to share my story.
    I know very well about moving. I’m in the middle of packing and working with an agent to sell my house in California. I’m in Oregon with my daughter’s family right now and searching for a home to buy so that we can be close to them. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      I’m very glad you think I did justice to your memoir,Miriam. It was a wonderful book and again thank you for sharing your difficult journey so beautifully.
      P.S. happy moving to you. It’s lovely that you are moving close to your daughter and grandkids. They must be so happy.❤️🙂

      Like

      1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

        You’re welcome, Smitha! 😍💖 Thank you again for your excellent review.
        Yes, they’re very happy. It happened that my older granddaughter had problem breathing due to congestion. My son-in-law took her to urgent care at 1:00 am. The doctor admitted her. My daughter went to the hospital to take over the shift and let her husband come home to get some rest. We watched the little one when they were gone. They were happy we were here to help.

        I read about your move but didn’t catch where you moved to. Did you move to another country?

        Like

  9. harmonykentonline Avatar

    Excellent review, Smitha. I have this book on my ereader waiting for me, and your review makes me even more eager to get to it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Harmony! I appreciate your interest in reading my memoir!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Smitha V Avatar

      Thanks so much,Harmony. I’m pleased to know the review makes you eager to read the book. It’s a quick read packed with difficult information but flows so easily. I hope the book speaks to you like it did to me❤️🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion Avatar

    This is an excellent review of a wonderful book, Smitha. The part where Miriam was waiting for insurance twisted my emotions as I read it.

    Good luck with your move.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Smitha did an excellent review, Dan! Thank you for your visit and comment.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Smitha V Avatar

      Thanks so much,Dan, for your good wishes on the move. We move in exactly a week from today.
      I’m very happy to know that you liked the review, especially since you’ve read the book. Yes, the irony of the insurance, the way the medical system works despite the knowledge of how destructive delay in treatment can be to the human body is the bitter truth. Miriam’s sharing of it shows it doesn’t matter which part of the globe you are…it’s the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rajkkhoja Avatar

    Very interested & helpful Miriam’s 📚 review. Very strong experience sharing in. Amazing words use in. Inspiring & emotionaly.
    “Life is precious and it’s worth fighting……. This lines very very important of life.
    “Well if it’s end,the pain is gone But there’s so much love to live for .”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much, Rajkkhoja! I’m thankful for Smitha’s wonderful review.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you very much for reading the review and appreciating it. The book reminds you of the importance of life and how precious community can be at times of distress.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rajkkhoja Avatar

        Hi
        Thank you so much! Iam so happy!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. robbiesinspiration Avatar

    Hi Smitha, this is a really lovely review of Miriam’s book. You certainly did it justice. All the very best with your move and settling in. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Hi Robbie, I’m so glad you think so. I’d been meaning to write it but one thing and another just hadn’t been able to. Thank you for your warm wishes- we are moving in 9 days…so, it’s quite crazy here. Will speak to you on messenger. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you for giving me a heads-up for Smitha’s review and post, Robbie. Her heartwarming review stirred up my emotions. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. robbiesinspiration Avatar

        It is my pleasure, Miriam. It is a wonderful review.

        Like

  13. dgkaye Avatar

    What an amazing review Smita. I am looking forward to reading this book soon. Congrats to Miriam for sharing her heart and journey and for your review ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much, Debbie. I’m so glad you think so🙂❤️. The book was easy and quick to read,even for a slow reader like me. Miriam has done a good job in sharing her life experience with the world. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Debby! Smitha’s heartwarming review captured the essence of my memoir. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. dgkaye Avatar

        NO doubts Miriam. A beautiful review. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Miriam Hurdle Avatar

          It touched my heart, Debby! 💖

          Liked by 1 person

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