In this uplifting debut memoir, a Los Angeles businessman recalls his life before and after a triple organ transplant.
Stavis was no stranger to health problems, having been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, but after suffering a heart attack at 42 in the San Bernadino Mountains, his life transformed. After receiving CPR for 20-plus minutes and being whisked off to a nearby mountaintop clinic, Jim learned that one of his coronary arteries was 95 percent blocked. He also discovered that he had developed further complications due to his ongoing battle with diabetes. His reaction: “How lucky was I?” This remarkably upbeat attitude percolates through the entire memoir, which details a medical odyssey that included congestive heart failure, end-stage renal failure, dialysis, a heart and kidney transplant followed by a pancreas transplant, and the amputation of part of his foot. The author also battled a painkiller dependency and the loss of friend and business partner Doug Carpenter. Stavis was sanguine through all of it, but the hope he gives to others is even more remarkable. The memoir is, in part, a manifesto on how to face adversity. Stavis’ writing crackles with positivity: “Enduring requires perseverance, strength, courage, and determination to pass through this stage. Enduring also takes time. You never know how long you will have to tolerate your situation, so it’s wise to stop fixating on questions like, ‘When will this be over?!?!’ Instead, focus on moving through.” There are some unconventional moments, like when the author unexpectedly offers his email address at the end of Chapter 3. Like his role model, “Dirty” Harry Callahan, Jim rarely plays by the rules, and this strategy, along with the support of a devoted family and dedicated team of medical professionals, has made him a survivor.
Honest, moving, and an invaluable source of hope for those facing all manner of adversities.