“Resurrection Lily” by Amy Byer Shainman

Amy Byer Shainman
Archway Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781480867062
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/19)

When Amy Byer Shainman learned that she carries the BRCA 1 gene mutation, which puts her at risk for breast and other deadly cancers, she chose to be proactive about reducing her risks. She made a difficult but educated decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and have both her ovaries removed.  Shainman educates family members, friends and readers about what is involved with this process by sharing her story in “Resurrection Lily.” She also provides a great deal of information about the genetics involved with the BRCA mutations. It is important to note that both men and women need to be aware of the diseases that can develop from inheriting these mutations. As Shainman did her own research, she discovered that she had several family members that had been affected by this, including her father’s mother Lillian who died young.  Lillian’s story is shared and heard in this book.

While I found myself getting caught up in Shainman’s personal story, especially about people around her that suffered huge losses from this hereditary issue, I also learned a great deal about the process that one should take if they have inherited the BRCA mutations. These steps include how to research board certified genetic counselors and surgeons for both mastectomies and reconstruction. She also stresses the importance of following up with specific tests to make sure that cancer has not occurred. It was scary to learn that there is no definitive test for ovary cancer.  

The medical information is very easy to understand. Readers will not need a medical degree to grasp the information presented.  In addition to information being presented for the person who has a BRCA mutation, readers who want to help those going through either the preventive process or those with cancer will benefit greatly from gaining a greater understanding about what their loved one needs help with when having to go through the processes involved. This information made me feel much more empowered because I truly want to be there to help my friends.  

I highly recommend that both women and men read “Resurrection Lily.” The amount of knowledge and access to resources is priceless. I am truly grateful that Amy Byer Shainman shared her story so that readers can pass this information on. Lives will be saved.

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