A debut memoir focuses on a man determined to live life to the fullest while in the grips of a ravaging disease.
Darren Cosentino was a man of action. He was winning praise at his construction job by age 11; the next year, he ran his first half-marathon. Later married to a wife he adored, beloved by his community, and enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, Darren had every reason to appreciate life and to crave more of it. He was—in his own telling and the recollections of his wife, Sara Cosentino—an active man: “I go to hot yoga five times a week and I swim in the lake every day during the summer. I paddleboard, fish, hunt, and travel.” By 37, he firmly believed the wonderful life he enjoyed would run along smoothly for decades more. Until, following a bad trip to Club Med in Cancún, Mexico, full of stomach pain and a routine surgery to remove what doctors assumed was a benign obstruction, Darren was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. He was told he’d have to receive chemotherapy for the rest of his days. At best, doctors could get him two more years. Shocked, Darren quickly decided to make the most of whatever moments he had left. Between rigorous chemotherapy sessions, he found time for scuba diving, traveling abroad, and meeting good friends. Just when readers will begin to worry that Darren’s coming across as implausibly superhuman, he drops his voice to confide the sort of thing other patients may well need to hear: “I was ashamed to tell people that I had cancer and ashamed for feeling ashamed.” This poignant memoir—which includes family photographs—shows that Darren was serious about the treatment he underwent. He describes the ordeal lucidly and with enough useful details to make this work something of a handbook for other sufferers. Even in extremis, as Sara recounts, “instead of getting angry or remorseful, he welcomed visitors and fought each new symptom.” Readers will likely see Darren as the inspiration he obviously was in life, and his absorbing story should help them take heart.
A gutsy, nuts-and-bolts account of one man’s valiant struggle against the odds.