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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Praying For a Miracle When It’s Hopeless by Isabella Milan is a gut-wrenching, no-holds-barred account of author Milan’s life when she was facing the twin traumas of a nasty, custody-battle-filled divorce at the same time as she was trying to deal with what is usually seen as a terminal diagnosis – Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Isabella, like all little girls, had dreamed of marrying and loving a true prince and she genuinely believed she had found that man. What began as a beautiful, loving marriage, however, quickly deteriorated into her worst nightmare. Having suffered from early breast cancer and taken radical action with a double mastectomy, the author was stunned, shocked and frightened to discover later that she now had Stage 4 Breast Cancer – a death sentence to be sure, she assumed. Deserted by her husband and sent to live with her mother on the other side of the country, Milan struggled to cope with rejection and disease. Yet, despite the odds, the author will find the strength, the will and the determination to fight back, to beat the odds and to regain her life.
This is a powerful story of one woman’s desire and determination to defeat seemingly overwhelming odds. Praying For a Miracle When It’s Hopeless will tug hard on any reader’s heartstrings but what comes through author Isabella Milan’s tale of courage is her overwhelming belief in herself, her faith, and her desire to reunite with the son that had been so cruelly snatched away from her. As I read this book, I couldn’t help but marvel at this woman’s matter-of-fact presentation of the facts on breast cancer recovery and the likelihood of death. She shied away from nothing – nothing was sacrosanct or taboo to discuss, which made this book so real and so important, especially for those who suffer from any pernicious illness or trauma. Divided into two clear halves, the first half of the book discusses Milan’s personal trauma and experience, with the second half dedicated to suggestions and techniques for dealing with pain, illness, and people’s expectations. It was this well-roundedness of the story that made it so appealing and so memorable to me, as a reader. For me, a highlight was the recounting of a friend’s stunned reactions to seeing Milan alive and well years after having written her off as a person about to die due to her Stage 4 “death sentence”. Milan was having none of that and as she said, although there’s no cure for Stage 4, there is a way through it and beyond. This is an inspirational tale that is well worth the read even if you are hale and healthy.