Alfred Beckler was diagnosed as diabetic at age 15; he lost his sight from the disease at 33, and subsequently had a kidney...

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A GIFT OF LIFE

Alfred Beckler was diagnosed as diabetic at age 15; he lost his sight from the disease at 33, and subsequently had a kidney transplant and two pancreas transplants--a demonstration of the havoc diabetes can wreak even when it's supposedly controlled. His book is addressed to his three sons, so they can know where he was and what he was doing during his long illness-related absences, and understand what has sustained him. ""The two anchors to which I clung, which made survival possible, were the love of my family and my faith in God's promise that He will never allow anything to enter my life that I cannot bear."" Thus Beckler's story focuses on his family--his wife, his mother, his eight brothers and sisters--and his Lutheran faith. He recounts the family's love for practical jokes, and also their fierce loyalty and support in hard times (one brother donated the kidney for transplant, a sister donated a portion of her pancreas for the first, unsuccessful transplant); he tells how faith carried him along after each successive blow to his health. (""Gradually a calmness came, and it was then that I was able to pray. . . I asked God to give me strength to fight depression and self pity. . . ."") For the medically-minded, Beckler's story has interest because he was a pioneer patient in the very new pancreas-transplant procedure; his medical ordeals, though not the main focus, are staggering. A less religious--and less medically harrowing--account, geared to a wider audience, is Lawrence Pray's Journey of a Diabetic.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Rawson/Scribners

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1983