Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"My Journey With Farrah" by Alana Stewart

This book contains the memoirs of a woman who stood by her friend for over thirty years, through thick and thin. The part of their lives that it covers, in particular, is from the time Farrah was diagnosed with cancer to the time Alana no longer found herself mentally disposed to write about it, which was only a few days before Farrah died.

Both these women were Hollywood actresses, seen more on TV than on the silver screen, but that is not of much consequence, except to raise the popularity of the book. Not so much for me, since I hadn't heard of either of them. I just read a few random pages of the book and found it to be heartfelt and touching.

The book talks about the emotional and the logistic aspects of cancer treatments, most of which were carried out in Germany for Farrah, since Alana knew of this particular clinic carrying out the latest cutting edge procedures. In the US, apparently, it takes longer to get everything approved by the FDA, before any new treatment or medication can be used on an actual patient.

Cancer treatments can be a very harrowing experience for the patient and also for those close to her, who are, in a lot of ways, going through all of it with her. This woman accompanied her best friend all the way to Germany (from California) and took care of a lot of her physical and emotional needs in a most selfless manner. She did everything she could - call the doctors, find out about newer treatments, bring food, spend quality time - to try to save her friend and keep her happy for as long as she was alive.

Farrah's cancer went through ups and downs, with doctors declaring that it was gone, then that it was back, then that it was shrinking, then out of control and growing to the size of a tennis ball, but neither Farrah nor Alana ever gave up hope. Farrah kept her strong will to live and her sense of humor through all of it.

This is a story of friendship, love, courage, selflessness - all of these are exhibited in an exemplary way. It is a story that reminds us of the value of life and tells us to savor the moments of happiness, while also giving us courage to power through the rough patches.

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