For the last few months I have slowly been reading an awesome and inspiring book... 'It Takes Guts" by Evelyne Brink – a story of love, hope and a missing bowel. Before I start I would like to say thank you to my landlord's wife Alexandra for sending me this book and connecting me on this path with Evelyne and Tuffel :)
Although this book may not seem to be on the surface an average self-help book, to me it has really changed my thinking and has ignited a fire and drive deep within.
I thought this would be a brilliant book to start off my new monthly series #selfhelpbookreview where I will be reviewing a self-help book every month. Over the last 2 years, in particular, I have continuously worked hard to improve my personal- development throughout my illness so I thought I would share with my readers some books that have helped me through tough times.
The first book I will review is:
“It Takes Guts is the true story of little Tuffel, who upon birth was sentenced to death. This is a remarkable tale of the human spirit rising above the seemingly impossible, told by his mother, Evelyne. Growing into her new role as a mother and carer, she takes you on a journey of personal growth and trying not to lose 'it', herself or him throughout sleepless nights, hospital life and medical jargon - all while keeping her sense of humour along the way. Tuffel has become the first survivor of 'ultra short gut' syndrome: living with no small intestine. This uplifting and deeply emotional journey will fill your heart with new hope for what is possible for each and every one of us”
As the blurb states “This uplifting and deeply emotional journey will fill your heart with new hope” is exactly what this book has done for me! I have found and felt in my heart a new HOPE and direction for my own health journey. This book describes how a baby boy, mother and father pull together and visualise the possibilities through a dark time and keep going against all the odds.
This book has changed me and I cannot really put into words how and why.
Evelyne writes with such raw honesty that when you are reading you can’t help but feel like you are talking to a friend. The book tells Tuffels story in a blog like format and again this allows you to feel like you are there with them along this journey. What stands out is Evelyne's’ amazing ability to write with humour about the devastating condition her baby boy was born with. Not just with humour but with wisdom
I have been through a lot with my own health and sometimes in the past, I have felt overwhelmed by what life has thrown at me. Reading this book you cannot fail to find comfort and inspiration from this incredible family and a drive to make the most out of the situation you have. It really has changed how I look at life and where I will take it in the future.
The book has an introduction from Tuffel's consultant neonatologist at St. Thomas and it really adds depth and how many hearts Tuffel has touched. In that letter, you can see how Evelyne's insight into being a mother with an ill child has helped the consultant reflect and have a small insight into what it feels from a parents point of view.
Evelyne describes what is like when you have an expectation of sending 'the baby is here' txt and everything went well. Instead you are sending a message that says “He was operated on at only 12 hours old. Within the first 24 hours, he was sentenced to death” Evelyne describes how she and her husband coped with the news. The Doctors said that he is not going to make it and instantly Evelyne responded ‘Is there not a tiny bit of hope’ this hope and dream of miracles is a constant theme throughout this book and the sense of never giving up.
Why this book really touched deeply for me is the similarities. For example being in hospital a lot myself, some of the experiences Evelyne and Tuffel have had have been similar. For example, all my hospital admissions, having a stoma, drainage bag and having to be on TPN at times. I couldn’t help when I was reading to reflect and think how hard my own journey has been on my family and it helped me have more compassion for my friends and family.
What I also took from the book is through difficult times where you feel your life is falling apart how important little goals are. For Evelyne, while Tuffel was in neonatal and hooked up to lots of machines feeling helpless and not in control she decided to focus on beating the breastfeeding donation record to help other babies. She described her milk as liquid gold but you could see where everything was so out of her control for her how important it was to express her milk and feel like she was in control of something. In the end she broke the record and ended up donating 60 litres of milk! (I know I cant even comprehend that)
The book ends on a positive note with Evelyne and her family looking into new territory in regards to stem cell research for Tuffel. She ends by saying ‘Thank you for your thoughts, energy, your spirit and for opening up to your own ‘possibility thinking.’ and this is what this book has done for me I have opened that door for infinite possibilities with my stomas and ill health.
I think everybody should read this book but if you are reading this and have health issues, a chronic illness, stomas or are have had an artificial feed then this book will really help with vision and hope. You will feel inspired once you have put this book down.
For me, this has definitely been a self-help book and has spurred on a deeper fight within myself and drive. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for Evelyne sharing Tuffels story and her honest journey. It has helped me tap into the potential that is within myself regardless of my chronic illness.
A bit about the author
Evelyn Brink is a personal and executive coach, professional speaker and author. She helps committed individuals to shine their light on the world and create a place of deep aliveness. She has been known as UK's number 1 Madonna impersonator and has written and produced her own music and shows around the world. She loves a laugh, romance and radical honesty.