PATIENT 71 – JULIE RANDALL

BOOK REVIEW

Patient 71 Book Cover Patient 71
Julie Randall
Melanoma
June 27, 2017
320

 

An inspiring true story of resilience, tenacity and a promise that fuelled one woman's fight for life.

 

Four days after her fiftieth birthday celebrations, Julie Randall suffered a very sudden and severe seizure at work. Out of the blue she went from fit, healthy, fun-loving wife and mother of two, to not knowing what had happened. Or why.

 

Rushed to hospital by ambulance, it was discovered Julie had a malignant brain tumour. Diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Advanced Melanoma, she was told to get her affairs in order because she didn't have long to live.

 

After getting over the initial shock, Julie fought off the fear and started searching for hope. She found an American experimental drug trial, but was only room for 70 patients and the numbers were full. Julie had promised her teenage daughters that she would find a way to 'fix it' so she refused to take no for an answer. Her tenacity paid off and she flew to Oregon and the Providence Cancer Center to become PATIENT 71.

 

Not everyone survives a cancer diagnosis. Julie is one of the lucky ones. She discovered that when you push the boundaries, refuse to give up and never lose sight of your goal... extraordinary things can happen.

 

PATIENT 71

 

An inspiring true story of resilience, tenacity and a promise that fuelled one woman’s fight for life.

Terminal cancer patient Julie Randall details her life-changing health crisis and her desperate battle to survive in Patient 71. Having pretty much bullied her way onto overseas trials for a new drug and so far lived 5 years down the track to tell the tale, after initially receiving a 12 months to live prognosis for stage 4 melanoma, we follow her cancer journey.

 

Patient 71 is a compelling read in parts but you don’t get much insight into the treatment itself and Julie’s story to me is somewhat held back.

 

There is an underlying theme in the book. One of Julie protecting her teenage daughters. I sense this over protectiveness towards her daughters is the main reason Julie holds back with a lot of her story. It had me questioning throughout the book, if her daughters weren’t too precious and too over protected.

 

I get it though. Wanting to protect your children. I suspect with my ongoing chronic illness {read here: pieces of me} I’m doing something along the same vein. I’m also the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, so I honestly see things from both sides.

 

Filling the gaps in the story is a repetitiveness. Firstly in the motivational chants and secondly through letters to Julie’s late mother that have a tendency to rehash ground already covered. The book also seems to leave you hanging ever so slightly at the end. Treatment appears to be ongoing and although a lot is left unsaid, this is still an inspiring story. This is by no means a how to cure cancer story but it doesn’t promise to be.

 

 

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