An honest account of a middle-aged man's struggle and gradual ebbing losses in life, based on an online journal he maintained; he was struck with cancer in the colon and the liver in middle of a happy life; the book is a result of Kristian's wife's work at stringing together blogposts from his website.
Kristian Anderson quotes the bible pretty often and loves music.
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
- LEONARD COHEN, "ANTHEM"
He started out as a workaholic trying to come to terms with the truth of his diagnosis. He would come home to run into his children's toys and cherish them. His faith proved to be his footing that spurred him on to stand and keep standing if not run, keep standing and fight.
The wife remains a colossal support and reads up on chemotherapy while her husband undergoes the drudgery of the drug injection everyday. He finds strength in family and hopes of a divine end to a draining, violent struggle. As he writes at one point,
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.
PSALM 23:4 CE
I now know what it means to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But the thing about a shadow is that it is vaporized by light.
First John 1:5 reads:This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
He falls apart, gathers himself and walks on:
As I emailed a friend:
"For some reason my faith is surging when I am normally quite melancholy. I sense a battle ahead, but I also sense a victory. I'm frightened of the medical processes ahead. My body is going to go through hell, not to mention my mind â€” but I have hope. Real hope. I'm going to make it out the other side of this, and there will be tales of miracles. It's time for me to stand up and be counted.
What poor research my enemy has undertaken! His recon team should be hung, drawn, and quartered! What terrible destruction I will bring to his doorstep. What violence I will unleash against him."
It has its moments, like when the couple thought it better to opt for IVF.
"Great. As if this wasn't already awkward enough for me. Fill in all the forms, permissions, power of attorney, etc., in case something happens to me, and then I am introduced to the scientist. Who happens to be a not unattractive Asian woman my age, it just gets better."
'Some days I'm Jekyll; some days I'm Hyde.
But mostly I'm Hyde, and I can't control it.'
I almost feel a sense of_ not pity, but morbidity when I read through his account. Sanguine; reading about the God he is so confident about and so thankful to, the psalms he quotes and the undying hope he has that he will live, and then slap it against the fact that he is no longer alive is almost painful.
It is as if his God was a plushie given to him to distract him from the reality of his life-
"Hallelujah, because my God walks beside me and fights the battle for me. He commands His angels concerning me, and they guard me carefully. He is my fortress, my hiding place while the battle for my life rages around me. He stands between me and the sickness that seeks to take my life and says to the sickness, "No further â€” you will not harm him."
"I'm human. My comprehension of eternal things is limited by the skin that I'm living in, but I know enough about God's character to know that His promises are rock solid. He can't lie, and He is not a man that he should change his mind."
'I'm the head of our house, the gatekeeper. If something comes in and attacks my family, it is only because I have failed to keep it out.
Finally, when he can see no exit and his confidence begins to cloud with silent pleas, he prays,
"All I have are His promises. God, I need a miracle, sooner rather than later. Please?"
Despite such a trying and difficult situation, the writer's will to log his odyssey onto the net for all to read is really admirable. At 129 pages, it is something you must read.
"I've been trying to write something intelligent since Christmas Day. It hasn't really been happening. Catching my thoughts has been like Mr. Miyagi trying to catch a fly with chopsticks in The Karate Kid. Apparently it's known as "chemo brain" and is a well-documented occurrence. Still, it doesn't make me feel that great to know I'm not functioning 100 percent in the head. I feel a little like the crazy Irishman in Braveheart."
Kristian Anderson fought a brave battle with bowel cancer. He began a blog to keep family and friends updated on his condition. Days Like These includes the blog of his journey along with passages written by his wife, Rachel. Kristian had a strong faith and believed in his heart he was going to beat cancer. At times I became extremely emotional as I already knew that he died from cancer. However, this book is also inspiring. It encouraged me in my faith journey as Kristian shares his heart with complete honesty.
"And always in the back of my mind is the thought, 'What if?...' What if I don't make it? What if I croak and let everybody down? Some might say that's not having faith, that I shouldn't think that kind of thing. I don't know. I'm a human being, and my mortality is something that I have become acutely aware of. Ignoring the medical point of view as presented by my oncologist is not exercising faith; it's being irresponsible. Exercising faith would be trusting God's promises even when the statistics lean in cancer's favor. I tend to believe that faith is not psyching yourself up or the power of positive suggestion. I tend to see it as something far deeper and far less tangible, something not of the mind but of the soul That place inside you that you know exists but you can't quite put your finger on. I feel like faith comes from my belly, not my head. It's something planted deep within me, and it has deep roots. So when my humanity kicks in and I worry that maybe I won't be able to go the distance, my faith is there to reassure me that not only will I go the distance but Iwill do it well. I won't limp over the finish line. I will finish strong."
There are many other passages that struck me but as I read, I just thought, this is true faith. It is believing that God will keep His promises in spite of your circumstances. It is facing that uncertainty knowing who holds your future in the palm of His hands. Even when the miracle doesn't come, or when God doesn't answer our prayers in the way we hope, we have hope in Him.
This is an amazing story of an amazing, godly man. Kristian Anderson became famous when a youtube video he posted for wife's birthday went viral. He and his wife appeared on Oprah after she became aware of the video and his story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am not obligated to give this book a positive review.
After reading the story of the Andersen's, I am left with a sense of awe. It is the almost unbelievable story of how someone found hope, through one of the worst words a person can hear the dreaded c word, Cancer.
I found myself going through the journey with Kristian. I felt a wide range of emotions and connected with his story, as I have a close family member who developed cancer at a young age.
"The truth being we're all broken, we're all cracked and what so many people see as a fault or a malfunction really is something to be considered useful,"- Kristian Anderson
I had never heard of Kristian before reading this book. It was based on a series of blog entries. He is most recognized by a famous video he made for his wife for her birthday which involved the Australian Prime Minister, Hugh Jackman and others. I had never hard of Kristian or his journey until receiving this book. I am glad however that my life has been touched by his story.
It is a raw story that detials what is is like to be in the prime of your life, only to find out that you are instead facing death. I wish I had been able to know Kristian personally. I am just glad to have gotten to know his story, which I will share with others. He was a person of great faith, and saw the light even in the darkest circumstances.
"Thank you for journeying with me this far. I pray you find the same peace I have."
There are people who live lives 3 times as long as Kristian did who never reach that moment of being okay with dying. Hist story is one that deserves to be shared. I would reccomend this book to anyone.
John 3:30 (The Message): "This is the assigned moment for Him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Reviewing a poorly written book wastes my time so I seldom bother. Therefore, 99.9% of the reviews I post on-line represent worthwhile books. However, maybe once every year or two a book comes along that far outshines others. Days Like These is one of those exceptional volumes.
I relate personally to this story because of similar experiences. Kristian Anderson was a 35 year old Australian blogger fighting colon cancer. Hundreds of thousands read his blog, heard of his love for his wife and his expressions of faith in God.
Even Oprah invited him to share on her show. Other unusual events happened for this family during the battle with cancer.
Other cancer patients will relate to deeply to Kristian's writing. His story will help family and friends gain a necessary understanding about the thinking and emotions of cancer patients. For example, Kristian sometimes felt like Jekyll and Hyde, wanting to remain kind and loving, but failing.
The author doesn't answer certain questions--like why some promises from God he believed didn't happen.
Do we sometimes decide God intends certain Bible promises to be true in our lives, without specifically hearing that God means the promise for US? We assume things God didn't personally say because that's what we want so desperately. God's plans may be far different and greater.
The ending of Days Like These is sad, sweet and unforgettable. The impact of Kristian's life story on people around the world is huge and immeasurable.
Recently I had the chance to read "Days Like These" by Kristian Anderson from a service at BookSneeze that gives books to bloggers in return for a honest review, whether positive or negative.
This book is all together heartbreaking. You will laugh, you will cry. You will become indigent. A man who was diagnosed with cancer and had everything to live for, and he knew it. A wonderful wife that he loved more that anything, children, and a passion for the Lord that shone with every word. What he didn't have, unfortunately, was enough time. but instead of endless sulking and grieving, he decided to devote what time he did have left to actually living. To letting everyone he came in contact with know who he was and how he felt. The devotion he showed to God and to his family is simply overwhelming. The way he loved his wife, is overwhelming. In a word, this book is overwhelming.
It's probably not for everyone but it is a really, really good book.
Brief aside, if you haven' t seen the youtube video that started it all, please go watch it.