Author Lisa Andrews guests today to tell us a bit about her inspiring true life story A Life Renewed.
An Introduction of "A Life Renewed"
by Lisa Andrews
|Lisa Andrews and her husband|
A highly-achieving student and athlete, Lisa was in sixth grade when she was diagnosed with AML leukemia. The news shocked her and her family, along with her entire small-town community. Over the next six months, Lisa and her mom basically lived at the hospital. When she wasn’t receiving chemotherapy, Lisa was hospitalized for transfusions or for antibiotics to fight serious infections. She went through a lot of changes. On the outside, most noticeably was her bald head! On the inside, her faith was being challenged as she tried to make sense of her experiences.
Once Lisa completed chemotherapy, she re-entered junior high school. One month into seventh grade, Lisa’s leukemia returned, and after a few more months of chemo she received a bone marrow transplant. After the transplant, Lisa was in remission but continued to face other health challenges, most of them side-effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Almost a year after her bone marrow transplant, a man at Lisa’s hometown church said to her, “You should write a book so that other people can read about all that you have been through.” At the time, Lisa had a very negative reaction to this advice, wanting nothing to do with her story. She wanted to forget about everything and continue on with her life. She had a lot of anger and bitterness that she didn’t want to tell others about. And though her small-town community had offered much support and love, she wanted everyone to forget that she was “the girl that had leukemia.”
It wasn’t until her freshman year of college in 2002, almost six years later, that Lisa was ready to accept her illness as an important part of her past and to deal with the bitterness and anger head-on. The process involved a lot of journaling and some counseling with a friend. Those journaled thoughts compose much of this book. After receiving healing, she felt comfortable talking about being a cancer survivor and answering people’s questions about what she had been through. Lisa also felt it was time to do as that man had suggested years before: write a book so that others can read about it.
A Life Renewed is suitable for ages 12+ and has three purposes. The first is to give a raw, firsthand perspective from a preteen dealing with cancer. Lisa’s hope that family members and friends might know how to better understand and relate to their sick loved one. Secondly, this book asks hard questions about faith, and it documents Lisa’s own personal journey with God and her attempts to make sense of her experiences. And thirdly, A Life Renewed is meant to inspire readers to realize the value and importance of their own stories and to encourage them to share their journey with others.
Whether stories of greatness, of failure, of love or disappointment, your story is one of the most important and powerful things that you own. There is no story like yours, and no one can take it from you. We must share our stories with one another!
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