Chief Complaint Brain Tumor Book Review




Title: Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor

Author: John Kerastas

Genre: Non- Fiction


At 57 years old, I thought I was the poster child for fifty-year old healthiness: I competed in triathlons, rode in 100 mile biking events and ate a healthy diet chock full of organic vegetables. Then I discovered that I had a brain tumor the size of my wife’s fist.

My memoir chronicles the first year I spent addressing tumor-related health issues: preparing for my first operation, discovering a dangerous skull infection, having the infected portion of my skull surgically removed, learning about my substantial vision and cognitive losses, undergoing rehab and radiation treatments, and learning to live with my “new normal.” And, as best I can tell, the phrase “new normal” is the medical community’s code words for “You’re alive, so quit bitchin’.”

As my health changed, so did my sense of humor. My humor started out superficially light-hearted prior to the first operation; transmogrified into gallows humor after several subsequent operations; and leveled out as somewhat wry-ish after radiation and rehab.

Topics I write about in the book include:

* How not to tell everybody you have a brain tumor

* Why it’s a lot of work to die in this country

* Why I had difficulties in naming my tumor

* How I negotiated bathroom visits with “Nurse Don’t-Bother-Me”

* Why I could prove that I was the “dumbest guy in the room”

* Why someone compared the back of my head to a diseased goat

* How I flunked a job interview with myself

This is a book for anybody interested in memoirs about people dealing with personal crises, for patients trudging through rehab, for caretakers helping victims of serious illnesses, or for anybody looking for an unexpected chuckle from an unlikely subject.



One can only imagine what it must be like to know you have a brain tumour much less go through numerous operations and have loss of signt and cognitive abilities. The thought is frightening but John Kerastas has taken it all in his stride and survived to go on to write about it.

The book is personal and yet it covers so much more. It gives an insight into a persons feelings, their pain and ones determination to fight no matter what the odds.

John brings an element of humour into what would usually be serious and there lies the difference. The book is not bogged down by suffering. It is lightened with humour.

There is also a lot of medical information from a patient’s point of view.

Life is transient and we live from one day to the next and John embraces this ideal.

A beautifully written story. Short and sweet.


About The Author:

About John Kerastas

John KerastasI’ve worked at a global advertising agency, at several technology start-up companies and as a free-lance writer. Currently I spend most of my time blogging, speaking and writing about brain health, brain tumors and rehab. I speak to hospital rehab groups, stroke and aphasia groups, and last summer spoke at the American Brain Tumor Association’s annual “Patient and Caregiver” conference.

My charity and non-profit efforts includes work through the Taproot Foundation on behalf of Apna Ghar (a Chicago-based non-profit providing domestic violence services to immigrant communities). I also go on Appalachia Service project trips through my church, participate in Early Response Teams that follow first responders into disaster areas, and teach and certify Early Response Teams through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (e.g.UMCOR).

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 This review is part of the Chief Complaint Book Tour by Charisma Media Netork


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