by Regina Pontes Reviewed by Eileen Quinn-Knight, PhD
Regina Pontes has written an excellent novelette entitled Perseverance Is Key. This wonderful piece of literature is filled with kindness, compassion, goodness and a sense of who she is in regard to others and in regard to her relationship with Christ. It is a book that takes time to ingest so that one can savor the realization that suffering can be dealt with in a holy manner.
Regina begins the book with thankfulness to her family, friends, and others who touch her life in her illness with cancers. The forward is from her internist who spends a great deal of time helping her to focus and direct her healing and whose life was thoroughly changed as a result of his relationship with her. In the preface, Regina, tells about her early life and her dedication to Mass and her faith. She had a similar life to those who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and included all in the wisdom of this time period.
Chapter 1 opens with her telling the story of her stroke and how people who meet her reached out to help her in this undying love coming from people who articulate the gravity of illness. This booklet is so helpful to those in the throes of trying to figure out their illness using the experience of a person with grave and plentiful cancers survive and help others to add meaningfulness to a plethora of illnesses.
Chapter 2 begins with the call from Regina’s family to tell about her twin brother’s death. This chapter is filled with tenderness and grasping for her faith. He had drowned. He was in Boston and she was in LA so she scrambled to get a flight out to take care of the issues that preoccupy death. She and her brother were polo opposites: Regina is involved in music, being in choirs, realizing that music was a foundational issue in her life and composing music; Richard was involved in visual art and in her unearthing of his personal possessions, Regina uncovered many pieces of artwork and poetry that are still being sold today. They were religious pictures that had a wonderful depth to them. At the end of the chapter, there are some thought-provoking questions that assist us in an understanding loss on the level of our spiritual life.
In Chapter 3, Regina relates the move from LA to Boston in order to assist her aging parents. She lands a new job and begins to settle into life in Boston. She makes an appointment to catch up on her health and the technician relates the findings which aren’t good. She has breast cancer. More and more one is obviously aware of the perseverance in her life. She makes perseverance her strong sense of going forward. Regina continues by helping us through what happens as a result of this kind of breast cancer. She tells of the radiation and staying home for 6 months. Regina is very detailed in helping us to understand what is happening in her life and again at the end of the chapter she offers some questions to meditate on in regard to our own suffering or the suffering of someone we knew.
Chapter 4 continues with her emphasis on perseverance. Her best friend, Nancy, who shared her brother’s death in prayer as the first person Regina called. Nancy has ovarian cancer and dies quietly as Regina is recovering. Regina feels abandoned by God with the loss of her two best friends. She declares her abiding love for God and all he wants her to accomplish.
Chapter 5 and 6 Regina reports the complexities of the human body. Her dealing with her multiple cancers is inspirational in the forecast of her goodness and perseverance. She continues her closeness to God and all he desires for her. The next couple of chapters deal with the specific cancers and how they should be incorporated in the best way into her life. She is filled with faith and hope and writes for those who don’t know what all this sickness entails. She is thoughtful in her ways to let people know what they are up against. The questions at the end of the chapters provide us with meditation/contemplation for a long period of time.
In Chapter 15, Regina relates the ways she will take care of her future. She gives specific examples that will help if one is at a specific stage of cancer or is dealing with the use of medical equipment. This book contains some very tender narrative as well as medical advice and humor in dealing with some outlandish ways our bodies treat us. I would recommend it to all who are dealing with illness or know someone who is. It is a fluid read that helps us to understand how we can deal with serious illness and still have a deep and abiding faith.