Monday, July 19, 2010

The Story of a Heart: Author Susan May

When Susan contacted me about featuring a heart-warming story, I had no idea it was a book about a real heart: her son Nick’s new heart. What an amazing journey this family took in order to give new life to a little boy who was surely doomed.

Susan May’s love affair with books began when she was in the sixth grade and made a bad grade on her report card in math. (She still doesn’t like math.) Not allowed to watch TV for six weeks she filled her extra time with reading. Her first book, Nick’s New Heart about her son’s heart transplant experience is available now. She is currently working on a her fifth romance novel about a strong, rich man and the woman that loves him, a nonfiction about a WWII flight surgeon and another about her summer trip to Europe with her four teenage children. She often speaks to nursing groups, civic groups, and high school health classes about the importance of organ donation. She leads workshops on promotion, rejection, time management, finding the right writer’s conference, collaging and memoir writing. When her head isn’t in a book, hers or someone else’s, Susan is traveling, cross-stitching or watching chick flicks. Visit her at

Nick May was one of the first successful heart transplants in the United States, performed on a one-year-old baby, as told by his mother. Most people associate heart problems with old age. However, many children also suffer serious heart, kidney, eye or other medical problems that once were insurmountable. In the past, infants with the heart defects that Nick once had invariably died. However, with surgical and medical advances, this sad situation has changed, providing not only life for these children, but a good quality of life. The story of Nick is similar to a roller coaster ride without seat belts or safety bars. Here is a true story that is often more dramatic than fiction, as excellent doctors worked together with a caring, intelligent family not just to save a life, but to provide a good life. Great experiences, deeper understanding, hope, love, faith, and steadfast support from friends, relatives, nurses, staff, and doctors have been the result...along with a wonderful book. Author Susan May skillfully weaves a story of strength, ability, determination, faith, teamwork and inspiration in her book, as she recounts the story of her baby Nick and the overwhelming odds he faced. Although his birth at first seemed normal, Nick's worried mother asked, "Is my baby fine?" Her question either went unanswered or was met with a simple, "I do not know. More tests are needed." She did not realize then that the adventure had only begun, as tests revealed that this baby had a catastrophic problem potentially more deadly than cancer. The author describes the brilliant care and dedication of the highly-skilled doctors and staff who were able to turn the life of a dying baby from a tragedy into a triumph. Often touching, sometimes sad and scary, sometimes funny, this story demonstrates the extraordinary results of doctor/family teamwork, positive attitudes, and the needed support of others when a serious medical condition strikes any child.
Book Extract:
There was a pause in the conversation, and then Dr. Kanter asked, “Susan, are you sitting down?”

“No, but I can be.” I moved to the kitchen table and sat on a chair. Nick reached his hands up to be held from where he crawled on the floor. I situated him in my lap. “I’m sitting now.”

Dr. Kanter calmly asked, “How do you feel about a heart transplant?”

“I think they’re nice things if you need one,” I told him after a full minute. I said the first words that popped into my head. I was being flippant to cover my surprise. He was serious, I knew. We never thought that Nick might be considered for a heart transplant so young, maybe later in his life, but not then.

“I think we need to consider it. Can you and Andy come to the hospital to discuss it?”

“They say it is supposed to snow tomorrow. We’ll be there if it doesn’t,” I said. My mind spun. It required effort to think.

“What are you going to do if it does snow?” he asked.

“I’m going to play in it with my kids.”

I immediately called Andy and asked him to come home early. I only told him it was in regard to Nick, not what Dr. Kanter had asked. Andy was as surprised as I was at this turn of events. We decided that we would hear the doctors out and try not to close our minds to the idea. It did snow that night, so I phoned Dr. Kanter’s office the next afternoon and made plans to meet him two days later.

“Nick will need to have an antibodies test. So come early enough to go to the lab,” Dr. Kanter said. “If he has a high amount of antibodies it will be hard to find a match.”

Nick's New Heart is available on Amazon.

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