Book #19: Chase Away Cancer: A Powerful True Story of Finding Light in a Dark Diagnosis, Ellie Ewoldt
In the stillness of a quiet February night, Ellie and Bob’s lives are dramatically changed by the terrifying sights and sounds of their 2 year old having seizure. And because of this event, they came face to face with the reality that their son Chase had a very large, rare, and aggressive brain tumor. In the subsequent year and a half, the relative tranquility (whatever that is in a family with 3 boys and 1 girl) was upended by the trials, anxieties, triumphs and heartbreaks of cancer as they struggle through a disease that would tear them apart and knit them together as a family. In this experience, they learn what it really means to place their trust in the Lord and to walk by faith day by day surrendering themselves to God’s plan.]
This was a very unique book for me to read; for several reasons.
First, this is probably the first book that I have read that was written by a friend of mine. I have known Ellie for a little over 20 years and Bob for about half that time. My family has lived life in parallel with the Poole family. I have had the privilege of knowing, attending church with and serving with this family. And many of the other people in the book I have known personally through church. So in one sense it was surreal to read about things that I could not only imagine but also understand from personal experience. But as cool is it is to be able to read this book and say, “I know that person,” what is more important is that I know the authenticity of Ellie, Bob and the Poole family. I know Ed as one who always has a smile on his face and is an affable, instantly likable personality with a heart for others. Leslie is a hard working, God focused, coordinated my wedding without a hitch servant. Ellie is a tried by fire but strengthened by grace authentic woman and Bob is a cool headed, humble, tireless servant that in many ways is who I hope to be. I am proud yet humbled to know and call this family friends.
Second, this book was a unique read as a doctor. As an emergency physician, I often interact with people on their worst day. I daily care for patients and families who are in Bob and Ellie’s shoes. I see people who drowning in a sea of uncertainty, fear and loss. But when each patient comes marked with a room number or ICD10 code, it is easy to lose sight of this perspective. It is easy to lose the personality behind the physiology. This book was a poignant reminder that treating a patient is more than picking the right medication or procedure. It is about seeking the awareness to understand what the patient is experiencing. I think it is important book for physicians to read.
We can praise the Lord that ultimately this is a story of triumph. I know, spoiler alert – if you didn’t figure it out from the picture of Chase inside the cover. And while we can rejoice with Bob and Ellie that God saw fit to spare Chase’s life, the outcome for many is not that of joyful triumph. But in the midst of both joy and tragedy we know, God is still sovereign and God is still good. This book is a powerful reminder that we live in a world groaning under the weight of sin waiting eagerly for the day of redemption. Ellie allows us to see first hand her struggle with self doubt and moment by moment trust. But she also allows us to see the transforming power of God put on display in the lives of her family.
So grab a cup Caribou and enjoy Chase’s story. This is an absolute must read