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Melissa Mullamphy
Not in Vain, A Promise Kept
They were killing her mother with negligence, Melissa Mullamphy recalls. And eight months later, Mullamphy’s mother succumbed following a cancer battle fraught with frustration, medical missteps and the endless bureaucracy that goes hand in hand with navigating our complex healthcare system. Not in Vain, A Promise Kept is Mullamphy’s candid account of her mother’s journey and the family’s roller coaster of emotions. Readers will witness the mistakes that compounded their pain, the small victories that gave them hope, and above all, the love that kept them going during an indescribably difficult time. Each chapter in Not In Vain, A Promise Kept represents one month from her mother’s diagnosis to her passing. Mullamphy recalls the experiences with vivid detail (the names of doctors and nurses have been changed), hoping to prompt others to ask the tough questions and learn by her example. “My goal in writing this book is to keep the promise that I made to my mom … to share her story so others don’t go through what she and my family went through,” Mullamphy says. “You can have input, control and make a difference in your loved one’s healthcare.” Mullamphy shares shocking lapses in her mother’s care, including blood clots the doctor fails to notice, the confusion surrounding her mother’s DNR order, the time she found her mother wearing another patient’s bracelet and the unspeakable heartbreak of learning that that all along, the hospital had used the wrong type of chemotherapy drug for her mother’s specific cancer. Not In Vain, A Promise Kept is not without moments of hope, such as when the family is told the tumor has shrunk and when her mother’s last-ditch surgery to remove the tumor is declared “wildly successful.” Ultimately, Not In Vain, A Promise Kept pays homage to a life well-lived and a woman well-loved, and it’s Mullamphy’s aim to help other patients and their loved ones find their voices, understand their rights and learn how to navigate a deeply complex, imperfect healthcare system. “Use your voice, and remember that you are not there to make friends,” she adds. “Sometimes you have to be the biggest mouth in the room, but speaking up can save your loved one’s life.”

Melissa draws attention to our degrading medical system in hopes to help other women who either have a loved one or are facing this hideous disease called ovarian cancer. She belts it out in the way only a true New Yorker could, with pure raw pain and sometimes anger, and deep disappointment in our failing medical structure. I did not put it down, I read it all in a day/night. I cried, and she even made me laugh because her personality is so much like mine.

Her love for her Mom is strong. steady, pure and her pain is devastatingly deep. Get this book, anyone can benefit from reading it and learning about how they can avoid certain pitfalls for themselves or a loved one with cancer.

Melissa teaches you to follow your gut, hold those Dr.'s accountable, and never ever give up.