A Caregiver’s Response: Our Shared Journey

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When he discovers his wife of thirty-three years has cervical cancer, Gary Pacernick begins chronicling, in the form of poetry, what unfolds over the next heart-rendering year of their lives. In the first phase of his book, he illuminates the early days of Dotti’s diagnosis through the day she learns her cancer has returned. In /Right of Passage/, Pacernick writes, “Some sleep; some stare at me suspiciously with subterranean eyes, till they realize that I am Dotti’s companion in this death-defying rite,” highlighting his observations as his wife receives her first chemotherapy treatment. He outlines the moments they spend together waiting anxiously for exams to be completed and results to be confirmed, sleeping side-by-side in a hospital bed they’ve both come to know. He weaves bits and pieces of the outside world into his work as well. On September 11, 2011, he writes that as her treatments “eradicate those secret cells that terrorize her body,” our country decides how to respond to those who threaten it.

Pacernick details the remaining months of Dotti’s life in phase two of the text. He writes about the pelvic exenteration she undergoes and how the complications from it are more than her body can endure. As the end draws near, he describes the redness of her eyes and the shallowness of her breathing. He kisses her and whispers in her ear words about the afterlife and leaves readers with a ray of hope.

A Caregiver’s Response: Our Shared Journey is authentic and pure. It’s enlightening and harrowing. The author’s poems unveil the everyday concerns of a couple fighting unbearable odds. They provide an inside look at what it’s like to believe better days are on the horizon, only to discover more obstacles await. Light is shed on the impact a professional’s unkind words can have. In First Opinion, Pacernick describes the coldness of the doctor and his wife’s startled response that she’ll never let that man touch her. In another, he details his wife’s condition after undergoing pelvic exenteration surgery. “Her face and arms are bloated to twice normal size. She has a tube in her mouth and another tube in her nose. Her eyes are dilated, opaque, and caked with wax, but her right hand squeezes my right hand and won’t let go.” His love is unquestionable.

This simple collection of poems will touch those who read it. Those who have endeared similar battles as well as students and professionals who would like to better understand their patients’ and their loved ones’ perspectives will likely favor it most. There are some grammatical errors in need of further editing, but overall, it’s a worthy read and a heartfelt account.

Reviewed By:

Author Gary Pacernick
Star Count /5
Format eBook
Page Count 160 pages
Publisher ReadersMagnet LLC
Publish Date 2020-Dec-02
ISBN 0978195177596
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue February 2021
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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