4 out of 4 stars
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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
As a little girl struggling to breathe during asthma attacks, Cathy Alves Davis learned to pray and trust God for healing. Little did she know that the faith she developed as a child would prepare her for a mid-life cancer diagnosis. Myrcles by Cathy Alves Davis is her story of the "miracles, hope, and inspiration," she received from childhood, as a cancer survivor, and beyond. Told in the first-person narrative, Davis shares her experiences to encourage others facing personal challenges.
In 1998, Cathy Alves Davis was a successful businesswoman who was happily married with two sons in college and a daughter in her senior year of high school. When she noticed some alarming changes in her left breast, she saw her doctor who thought it was probably a water-filled cyst and wasn't alarmed. He ordered a sonogram and a mammogram, but when an egg-like mass showed up, the doctor scheduled an appointment for a biopsy. A week later, despite normal mammogram findings, the biopsy detected that Davis had aggressive stage III breast cancer. Shocked and heavy-hearted, she shared the news with her family and requested their prayers. Shortly after her diagnosis, she chose to participate in an experimental treatment protocol at the Lombardi Cancer Research Center in the Georgetown University Hospital. As she was laying in a CT machine and praying, she had a sense of God's presence and knew with certainty that she would survive cancer. She also felt that He communicated to her that she would go on to write a book to help other women battling the disease. After asking everyone she knew to pray specifically that after treatment she would receive a CCR, (Complete Clinical Response), her prayers were answered. She was the first woman in the protocol to receive a CCR--science had confirmed her miracle! Since then, she has remained cancer free and was one of the top fundraising teams for the 2009 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. She continues to thank God for her gift of faith and healing, not only for cancer but in everyday life.
This self-published book is well-written and features a professional presentation from the editing and formatting to the beautiful cover art featuring Duxbury Beach, from the picturesque seaside town in Massachusetts where Davis grew up. She also did an exceptional job of portraying the personalities of the family members, friends, co-workers, and doctors who are the characters in her story. Additionally, the book's organized style includes relevant chapter names, each beginning with a complementary Bible verse making it particularly easy to use as a reference.
What I loved most about this hope-filled book was Davis's down-to-earth writing style. Though her accounts of miraculous Divine Intervention are the overall focus of the book and are truly inspiring, I was equally moved by her transparency regarding instances of doubt, fear, and stress. True, it's more uplifting to read about miracles, but Davis's honesty in dealing with raw emotions in the midst and aftermath of battling cancer lent authenticity to her story that is sorely lacking in so many well-meaning inspirational testimonies. For example, she shared the humbling details of going to bankruptcy court with her husband after losing her job due to her diagnosis and the added financial expenses. One can't help but admire Davis's positivity facing bankruptcy the same month that she received her final surgery, and when her last radiation treatments were still ahead of her. I also appreciated her constant gratitude and ability to see the little miracles that are present in everyday life, which can so often be overlooked.
Considering the professionally edited appearance and my overall enjoyment of the book, I honestly didn't note any improvements needed to the book, itself. However, as a note to reach prospective readers, it's my opinion that the book should be classified differently on Amazon. Currently, the first genre in bold type is Mental and Spiritual Healing with the subcategory listed as New Age and Spirituality. I realize many readers are turned off by religious genres, and the author may have been trying to avoid this. However, as a reviewer who pays close attention to the subgenre, I almost did not select the book due to the New Age listing. Furthermore, I found nothing New Age about the book's content. To the contrary, it is very scripture-based with strong Christian themes.
I'm pleased to rate this spiritually encouraging book 4 out of 4 stars. It will appeal to Christians and readers who enjoy inspirational stories. However, I would also recommend the book to a wider audience including those who are discouraged or facing personal hardships in their lives--not just related to illness. With the intention of sending more inclusive messages of hope and faith for those who are seeking, Davis purposely omitted her religious affiliation. Personally, I found her encouraging words to be applicable to many areas of life.
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