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Bag Lady by Sandra Benítez

bag lady . . . is the poignant true story of a woman�s struggle with the chronic, debilitating disease of ulcerative colitis. It chronicles how she coped with it before and after making the momentous decision to have an ileostomy and commit to wearing a plastic bag on her stomach for the rest of her life.

bag lady . . . runs deep. It is more than the story of a woman and her disease. It is the story of a life buffeted by adversity, by a mind-boggling series of profound downers, any one of which would defeat most of us. It is a metaphor for the physical and emotional �baggage� that encumbers every person�s life. It reads like page-turning fiction, but it is all true.

bag lady . . . speaks to the millions of victims of ulcerative colitis, Crohn�s disease and colon cancer, and to the family and friends who live their illnesses with them. It trades frankness and understanding for the euphemisms and misconceptions of diseases that, for too long, have been consigned to the shadows of polite discussion.

bag lady . . . an antidote to fear.

The doctor's words to the IBD patient are chosen carefully: "Maybe it's time to consider surgery." The rationale and explanation follow. And the patient's tension mounts . . . the apprehension is clearly visible. Doctors see it all the time at this critical moment. Fear of the unknown, of a radically changed life: the wondering: what will become of me after the surgery? How can I possibly cope with this for the rest of my life?

Sandra Ben�tez confronted that fear and asked those questions. And in bag lady, she answers them. And she does it in a way that can provide understanding and reassurance not only to the tens of thousands who each year make a decision to have, or not have, surgery, but to the millions who live with managed IBD.

In this sense, bag lady is an antidote to fear. As such it is required reading for IBD patients and their families. And it is highly recommended to the doctors, nurses and therapists who provide them with care.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780977484805
Publisher: Benitez Books
Publication date: 07/17/2006
Edition description: BENITEZ BOOKS
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Benitez writes the kind of books you can't put down.
As The Denver Post puts it, "Benitez is a remarkable storyteller."

Sandra Benitez has spent her life moving between the Latin American culture of her Puerto Rican mother and the Anglo-American culture of her father. She was born March 26, 1941 in Washington D.C., one of a pair of identical twins. Her sister, Susana, died just 37 days after their birth. A year later, her father, who worked for the U.S. State Department, was assigned to Mexico, where her sister, Anita, was born. Not long after, the family transferred with him to El Salvador and this is where Sandra lived for most of the next 20 years. In Latin America, she learned that life is frail and capricious; that people can find joy in the midst of insurmountable obstacles; that, in the end, it is hope that sustains.

When Benitez reached high school age, her parents, in part to "Americanize" her, sent Sandra to her paternal grandparents' modest dairy farm in northeastern Missouri. She attended Unionville high school, returning each summer to El Salvador. In Missouri, she saw the back-breaking work and quiet self-reliance required to extract a living from the land and its animals. She learned that life is what you make it; that satisfaction comes from a job well done; that, in the end, it is steadfastness that leads to goals accomplished and dreams realized.

Benitez returned to Missouri for her college years, eventually earning a master's degree in literature from what is, today, Truman University in Kirksville. Later, she taught literature at both the high school and university level. Later, she did a four-year stint in the international division of a major training corporation and traveled extensively throughout Latin America.

In 1980 she began to write fiction. It was not until 13 years later that her first book, A Place Where the Sea Remembers, set in Mexico, was published. It won wonderful reviews and a number of prizes including the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and selection as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times' First Fiction Award. Her second book, Bitter Grounds, set in El Salvador, won an American Book award and a nomination for Great Britain's prestigious Orange Prize. Both books, and her third as well, have been published in more than half a dozen languages.

Sandra's third novel, The Weight of All Things, also set in El Salvador, tells the heart-breaking story of a nine-year-old boy caught up in a vicious civil war. While it won no awards, it garnered plenty of praise from reviewers. Her fourth novel, Night of the Radishes draws on her unique bi-cultural background. In it, a Minnesota woman, plunged into depression by a series of family tragedies, finds a long-lost brother and redemption in the mystical atmosphere of Oaxaca, Mexico. Published by Hyperion Books, it is due for release in January, 2004.

Benitez's work has also appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. Most notably, A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember, Mickey Pearlman, editor, St. Martin's Press, and Sleeping with One Eye Open, Marilyn Kallet, editor, University of Georgia Press.

Sandra's work has earned her nearly two dozen honors, awards and grants (see below), and she is much in demand as a teacher and speaker. In 1997 she was selected as the University of Minnesota Edelstein-Keller Distinguished Writer in Residence. In 1998 she did the Writers Community Residency for the YMCA National Writer's Voice program. In the spring of 2001 she held the Knapp Chair in Humanities as Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of San Diego. Other teaching residencies include Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Flight of the Mind, the University of Minnesota Split Rock Arts Program, and Hamline (Minn.) University.

Sandra is the recipient of the 2004 National Hispanic Heritage Award Honoree for Literature
And is listed by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the United States 100 influentials.

Benitez has lectured at colleges, high schools and professional organizations coast to coast. All of her first three novels, but especially A Place Where the Sea Remembers, are used extensively in classrooms through the country and are book group favorites as well.

Benitez lives with her husband, Jim Kondrick, in Edina, Minnesota.

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