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The Immune Spirit


Night is the most frightening time to be in a hospital. In the darkness, long after their visitors have gone home, you can hear the anguished cries of other patients echoing down the halls, facing their own mortality - alone.

On the brink of her fortieth birthday, Susan Ryan Jordan lived that fear as she awaited a mastectomy to remove a life - threatening cancer from her breast. Taking stock of her life she realized that - as do many women - she had become ensnared in the trap of fitting in, obeying the dictates of her family, her religion and the social strictures of her prim-and-proper New England town. A painful divorce and temporary leave of her four children for financial reasons only fueled her guilt and overwhelming sense of loss. Despair and self-depreciation, she realized, had left her open to this life-threatening illness.

In shock over what she thought was a certain death sentence, Jordan began to read a book one of her doctors, the now-famous Bernie Siegel, gave to her, which challenged cancer patients to heal themselves. She immersed herself in this hopeful message and, through sometimes-painful inner work, emotional catharsis and physical strength-training, literally willed herself well. In this beautifully written and poignant personal account, Jordan reveals how changing negative feelings to hope and confidence can, indeed, reverse the course of a disease - even cancer. She also tells how the still unresolved and painful split with her daughter, actress Meg Ryan, was caused by her new found self-confidence and strength, and writes that the journey to health sometimes involved loss, but always leads to understanding and serenity.

This is a book of hope - an affirmation that true healing and peace is within every one's reach.



Susan Ryan Jordan