Friday, October 30, 2015

'Halo Found Hope. ~A Memoir' by Helo Matzelle {Book Review}

Helo Matzelle has never written a book prior to Halo Found Hope, nor had she grown up having aspirations to become a writer. Those two things make her book all the more real. More authentic. It's a diary from the heart that shares her process of learning she had a brain tumor, the surgery required to remove the tumor, the long hospital stay that followed, and the rehabilitation journey to her 'new normal.' Helo was not alone in her journey--the sweet relationships she has with her husband, children, brother, parents, and doctors is ever-apparent within her writings. But above all other relationships, in the times she is struggling, scared and frustrated, HOPE is present. Helo's personal relationship with Christ and the way she relies on a trusts Him through everything is at the heart of her narrative. My desire is that others will read this book and gain a deeper understanding of the beauty that occurs within us when we allow God to be part of our everything.

I loved the insight found within Halo Found Hope. A few years ago, I left the job that will always hold a dear place in my heart. I LOVED my job, my coworkers, and all the craziness the job entailed. My title? Patient Care Liaison. And I worked on the Neurological Intermediate floor OSF St. Francis, and the floor is part of the Illinois Neurological Institute. My training took place on the Intensive Care and General floors as they prepared to open the new Intermediate floor. I answered phones, prepped charts, talked to and comforted families, watched patients' vital signs via monitors at my desk, and grabbed the crash cart if a Code Blue were to occur. Some patients would be admitted and discharged very quickly. Others would find themselves staying much longer than was ever anticipated. Some days swung back & forth between thinking a patient wasn't going to make it through the night, to them opening their eyes and communicating a few days later. What Helo describes in her book, both from her own personal awareness and experience, to relaying things her family and medical staff shared with her provide a very clear, accurate picture of her hospital stay and the difficult process of physical therapy and rehab.

To my neuro friends: thank you for all you do. From neurosurgeons to surgical nurses, to the nurses, techs, liaisons and other staff on the floors, you are incredible. The brain is amazing, and the task of removing a tumor and then helping patients and families recover from that is not an easy road. May Helo's book help you realize how much you are appreciated. 

Helo also is blessed with an amazing family, and her gratitude for getting to spend more time with them has caused me to assess my life and realize I can't take special relationships for granted! I've lost family members due to brain tumors, have watched just within the past couple years as a friend has had a tumor removed not once but twice, and I continue to watch a family walk the road of their young son having an inoperable brain tumor. Even now, my sister-in-law's sister is in the initial stages of recovering from brain tumor surgery and is beginning her treatments. I know Helo's book will resonate with many specifically because of brain tumors, and it may hit those readers in ways that bring sobs. But all struggles are real, authentic "felt-needs". Regardless of the family support system in place or the type of struggle, Helo does a wonderful job of writing in a way that will touch any reader.

Lord, I pray you can use this book of Helo's to help others find or renew their hope in you. No one can take your place, and I can't imagine the helplessness that comes from going through the toughest times in our lives without you. Thank you for being present in my life, and may I begin to share of you  more & more!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit in exchange for my honest review.

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