The Cost of Hope The Story of a marriage, a Family and the Quest for Life turned out to be a portrait of love and marriage than I thought it would be I think I was expecting a commentary on health care, its cost and when we go too far to save someone, even those we love It was this but so much It is a very poignant story about an ordinary couple facing illness and decisions that many of us make As we are able to prolong or extend life and I face my own aging and that of those around me, these end of life issues come to the forefront.Even knowing the outcome does not quite prepare you for the journey Reading about their first meeting, you ve got to wonder how Amanda Bennett and Terence Bryan Foley ever got together but you root for them Their differences were than just age but somehow they managed to love, laugh and live quite a life together I laughed, I cried, I thought.I m not certain I m any closer to knowing when it s time to give up, either for myself or those I love, but I definitely was touched reading this book I applaud Amanda Bennett for writing this and sharing her experiences with us. I was hesitant to read this book just because of the subject matter, another story about someone dying of a terrible disease There seems to be a huge tidal wave of these books lately and although most are written to be inspiring and hopeful, they can really wear on you This book is also about this woman s experience with her husbands terminal cancer Having lost my mother in law a few years ago to lung cancer I was afraid to bring up some very sad feelings But what intrigued me about this particular book was the concept Yes, it is about a wife and her experience dealing with her husband s illness but she took a new angle on it She chose to review the experience and go back and talk to the doctors about the choices that they made and also about the cost, monetarally, physically and emotionally I found this authors writing style very to the point She doesn t spend time describing things, instead she gets right to the point page after page Her sentences are short and crisp I think that this comes from the fact that her background is as a newpaper editor Her relationship with her husband was facinating too This was no typical love story, This was two people who loved and respected each other working their way through building a life and a family together I would have loved to have met Terence I admired the way that Amanda obviously didn t want anyone to feel sorry for her or her family She wanted to investigate and in her case, appreciate the world of doctors, medical care and health insurance As we all know this is a red hot topic right now When Amanda begins to review the bills, treatments, options, etc for cancer you as the reader quickly realize what a tangeld web it is In some ways it seems ridiculous and can make you very angry But this isn t an attack on the system, it is simply a revision of the choices made during a very difficult time when all you can do is listen to different opinions and options and then guess And that is where hope comes in No one will ever know if the choices made were ultimately right or wrong but Amanda is not juding herself or anyone else she is just writing about surviving and respecting her husbands decisions and the way he made them Thank you Amanda for sharing this story and Terence with us and respecting your children s privacy I thorolughly enjoyed this book and finished it in just 2 days. From Pulitzer Prize Winner Amanda Bennett Comes A Moving, Eye Opening, And Beautifully Written Memoir A Love Story Of Two Unusual People, Their Complex Marriage And Deep Devotion, And Finally, Bennett S Quest To Save Her Husband S Life When Wall Street Journal Reporter Amanda Bennett Meets The Eccentric, Infuriating, Yet Somehow Irresistible Terence Bryan Foley While On Assignment In China, The Last Thing She Expects Is To Marry Him They Are So Different Classic And Bohemian, Bow Ties And Batik, Quirky And Sensible But Terence Is Persistent You Are Going To Be Somebody, He Tells Her You Re Going To Need Somebody To Take Care Of You Though Initially As Combative As Their Courtship, Their Marriage Brings With It Stormy Passion, Deep Love And Respect, Two Beloved Children, And A Life Together Over Two Decades Then Comes Illness, And The Fight To Win A Longer Life For Terence The Cost Of Hope Chronicles The Extraordinary Measures Amanda And Terence Take To Preserve Not Only Terence S Life But Also The Life Of Their Family After His Death, Bennett Uses Her Skills As A Veteran Investigative Reporter To Determine The Cost Of Their Mission Of Hope What She Discovers Raises Important Questions Many People Face, And Vital Issues About The Intricacies Of America S Healthcare System Rich In Humor, Insight, And Candor, The Cost Of Hope Is An Unforgettable Memoir, An Inspiring Personal Story That Sheds Light On One Of The Most Important Turning Points In Life This is the first time that Bennett, a highly talented journalist, has written about herself It is done with grace, poignance, and authenticity The story of her many sided battle for her husband s life is etched in marble, a classic for this genre Showing the unrelenting honesty for which her writing is known she is a judge on the prestigious Pulitzer Prize panel , the author raises a question for the society in which she lives, without pretending to know the answe How rational is it to spend a lot of money for just a possible brief prolongation of the life of an incurable patient What cost should society bear for one individual s glimmer of hope The only answer she gives is that, if she had it to do again, she would not hesitate before the mountainous expense But she seeks a social answer, a definitive answer I doubt that she will get one.Despite the weighty theme, the writing is airy, fast moving, and, for the first part of the book, full of fun and laughter The author comes through as a good, thoughtful, and lovable person, and I m sure the readers will agree.Sidney Rittenberg, Sr Could not put it down at so many levels Eminently readable, engrossing memoir written in easy journalistic prose by an eminent Pulitzer prize winning journalist who also manages to make a bold statement about what s gone terribly wrong with our Kafka esque healthcare system At one level this book is a beautiful love story that will bring tears whether or not you ve lost a loved one to cancer At another level it s the story of a life well lived with every chapter unfolding and decades flying by reminding the reader to pay greater attention She manages to capture detail and mood at every turn artfully But the book is much than just that It s really a book that questions the decisions we make and how we make them when we weigh love and hope against probability and cost in hard dollars in a ridiculous system where the cost is not even fully visible to those claiming or consuming it The Cost of Hope brings to light some of the difficult questions we are all likely to face at some point However the crux of this work lies in Amanda Bennet s gifted investigative journalism into where and why costs of healthcare lie, what creates them and why they are runaway as they are The greatest irony not lost on her is that while she fought to save her husband s life neither she nor any of the caregivers had any idea what the costs were or who was paying for them It is only after the fact that she goes in to investigate what actually transpired and finds out how completely broken the system is Since over 80% of people like her get their health insurance through their employer they never really see or bear the true cost of their healthcare Hospitals, doctors, other caregivers don t have to compete too hard since pricing is hidden and so there is no market pricing at any given time for any health good or service Providers all charge whatever they like this is not an exaggeration and insanely enough the insurance companies pay what they feel should be the right price and this too varies wildly by healthcare provider AND by insurance company Since most patients never have to bear the true costs, nor do they have much choice in the insurance company they pick, there is virtually no shopping around for health care providers or health insurance coverage and the market for that remains insanely limited Amanda Bennet finds is that while the economics are predictably unsustainable even tragically this results in perverted incentives None of the doctors, hospitals, etc are geared for the benefit of the patient since the patient is neither the customer, nor the shopper, nor the payor And that of course results in creating a bizarre system where everyone may mean well but no one is responsible and everyone is simply doing his job responding rationally to a rotten incentive structure Amanda Bennet does not go into solutions which is a whole other story but she is a rare one for the honesty and insight with which she illuminates what has gone so terribly wrong in our healthcare system I recommend this book highly It is thoroughly engrossing even as a love story of two highly intelligent, complex persons, and as a riveting memoir. I knew Terence Foley as the genial man who would pick up his son at afternoon s end when our kids were teenagers We d chat while waiting for them to finish up Foley was witty and well informed on a wide range of topics and I enjoyed our conversations But it was his wife Amanda who was the family s star At a social gathering, when asked about her job, Amada would say, I work at the Philadelphia Inquirer She didn t merely work there, she ran the entire paper She had also, by the way, won a Pulitzer I admired both her accomplishments and her modesty about them I was shocked and saddened when I heard Foley had died I hadn t realized he was ill Then, recently, absorbed in a Newsweek excerpt of the book, The Cost Of Hope, I suddenly realized I was reading about Foley Amanda had written this memoir about their life together and his illness, with a critical look at his end of life treatment When I read the book, I learned what the engaging man I d so enjoyed chatting with had actually been going through Foley was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2000, and fought the cancer until he died, seven years later Two years after her husband s death, Bennett decided to revisit and examine this experience She interviewed his doctors, examined his tests, questioned his diagnosis, and looked at every recommendation, every medication and every treatment, with an eye to not only understanding her husband s experience but what it means, given our health care system, for all of us.The result is both riveting and unsettling When Amanda met Terence, in China in the 80s, he was a deeply unconventional man who spoke six languages, played fourteen instruments and pursued a variety of passions It wasn t love at first sight To some readers, it won t seem like love at all There were tender moments and grand romantic gestures, but there was also plenty of sniping, bickering and shouting Concluded Bennett, at the time I am unhappy when he is around I am miserable when he is gone This to many, wouldn t signal I need this man, but I need therapy Which isn t to say that Bennett s love for Foley made no sense He was just as smart as she was, he believed in her completely and his obvious need for her was compelling As was his eagerness to help her shine You are going to be somebody, he told her You re going to need somebody to take care of you They married, had a son and adopted a daughter Foley turned out to be just the right husband for Bennett, as well as a loving and devoted father She describes a business trip to San Francisco, where she spent the day in a conference while Foley and one year old Terry had a blast riding cable cars If you re a mom with an ultra challenging career, you re going to need a husband like Terence Foley After Foley was diagnosed, the family kept his illness under wraps But behind the everything is okay fa ade, his life became a grueling series of doctor visits, diagnostic tests and cutting edge treatments As Bennett describes it, contemporary medicine is a profoundly confusing labyrinth, which the patient must navigate with little guidance As Foley sought treatment from one specialist after another, nobody but Bennett was paying attention to the whole picture, and, lacking medical training, she couldn t evaluate what she saw The doctors they counted on to save Foley not only failed to agree on crucial aspects of his diagnosis and treatment, but often contradicted each other Nor were they inclined to work together Foley and Bennett had no way to evaluate or reconcile their divergent opinions and recommendations Foley s treatment cost a small fortune but insurance covered it, so the money was spent without a second thought The problem, Bennett concludes, is not that the specialists, diagnostic procedures and treatments were expensive but that so many of them, in retrospect, seem unnecessary Further, beyond a certain point, the treatment Foley received was utterly useless, painfully drawing out his death rather than preserving his life Foley, with the help of his wife and a number of well intentioned doctors, continued to fight his cancer long past the point where the fight could possibly do any good Dying, he was unable to let hope go and prepare for the end The Cost of Hope takes a hard look at a tough topic Nobody wants to die But since we must, we want to die well Did Terence Foley die well Modern medicine kept him alive for many precious years But modern medicine, combined with his own powers of denial, ultimately failed him He could have been, but was not, at peace when he died What does it mean to die well Can the way we practice medicine be improved so that of us are spared the worst parts of what Terence Foley went through The Cost Of Hope asks, but cannot answer, this question This review first appeared on www.womensvoicesforchange.org. This book was an excellent personal narrative that illustrates everything that is wrong with our health care system The author, Amanda Bennett, a Wall Street Journal and journalism veteran, tells of the struggle that she and her husband waged for seven years against the deadly cancer that ultimately did killed him no need for spoiler alert you know this from the get go The titlle is taken, not just from the incredible financial cost and waste caused by our seriously screwed up, convuluted delivery of care, but about the emotional toll it takes As someone watching this happen right now with one of my dearest friends, I can testify to the utter truth of the case she is making When someone is diagnosed with a disease such as this it is much like a detective story without a investigator in charge Confusion, contradiction and inconsistency reign It is like listening to a group of brilliant musicians drown each other out because there is no orchestra leader Hubris in the medical community is part of this issue Doctors will very seldom say I just don t know So, unnnecxesy tests are given at a bizarre range or costs over 75 CT scans were given to her husband ranging from a cost of something like 350 to 5000 It is all based on BIG INSURANCE and what they will pay or won t Whatever you think about the health care issue raging in our nation, surely we can all agree that something is broken when there is that kind of price fluctuation on one simple procedure But the book is also a wonderful story of a marriage with all its ups and downs, highs and lows In the end, I can t imagine trying to navigate the process of care for a devastating illness without a significant other at my side as an advocate and partner My friend is a gay man who did not have a partner when he became sick He has a boyfriend, sisters, a brother and friends like me who love him dearly But all of us have our own lives This is the case for millions of Americans who will suffer far different costs as they face American health care alone. When Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and news editor Amanda Bennett learned her husband had cancer, she promised him that she would fight for his life and never give up In The Cost of Hope she recounts exactly what the fight cost in human and financial terms along the way, the reader learns a good deal about health care and some of the reasons that costs are spiraling out of control Bennett also asks searching questions about cancer treatment, drug studies that amount to throwing the spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks and whether the system helps or hurts sufferers She wonders how families without her employer s excellent health insurance can even survive She quantifies costs, compares them across hospitals and insurance companies and shows how difficult it is to make sensible cost decisions with minimal information The thread that binds this book together is Bennett s moving portrait of a family coping with long term medical crises over a period of years So this is also a beautiful book about a young couple who fall in love in Beijing and raise a young family wherever her new jobs take them We know the ending at the outset, which makes the chapters poignant I highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding why US health care is among the most expensive in the world with results that are markedly worse. Whoa Whoa Okay, that HAS to be the most peculiar pair of lovers ever to pack their house with bagpipe chanters, Arabic flash cards, Chinese literature and children s drawings EVER Amanda Bennett s memoir of her husband Terence s battle with cancer is also a memoir of one of the most eccentric couples I ve ever encountered, in memoir OR fiction There were times when I was literally gaping at the page, thinking, How old are you Two as I read about their name calling, sulking, yelling and silly fussing about minuscule differences But there is a vein of deeply tender love that illumines every page and puts the reader squarely in the corner of Amanda and her brilliant, childish, maddening, fascinating husband Terence I ate this one up.But I would say the title is somewhat misleading I have some feelings about end of life care and the wickedly expensive tortures that the Western medical establishment sometimes puts families through in pursuit of another week, another day, another hour with their loved ones So I really did expect this to be less of a memoir and of an examination of the costs and benefits of end of life care And it wasn t really that at all the costs are tallied, but there is no real analysis of why and how we make the decisions we do, and if there is a better way to do it But that s okay, Amanda I totally forgive you I love a memoir, and this is the best I ve read in ages.Thanks to LibraryThing s Early Reviewer program for my copy of this excellent memoir. Not that most can t see the foibles in the healthcare system, and not that there weren t many who saw stories like this coming in those early days when automation was first being touted, but this incredible memoir provides an up close personal look at what s happening in an inexplicable decentralized health system.This is what I really enjoyed about Amanda s memoir her style of storytelling short clipped sentences, and the way she allows readers to ask and then answer their own questions about our healthcare system Almost, but never really does she seem to want to blame anyone Instead, through careful research she struggles to make sense of what happened by detailing the many disjointed facets that went into treating her husband s illness.There is just so much to comment on I was just as much swayed by Amanda and Terence s quite enchanting and often peevish courtship and romance Gosh, I just loved how they met Hilarious After finishing the book I even did a little research of my own and found a beautiful portrait of the family I needed to see that picture It very much supported what I read Amanda s durable perseverance, and Terence s great big personality, and how together, through their love of family and respect for life endured this challenging time.
Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information.
- 240 pages
- The Cost of Hope
- Amanda Bennett
- 25 June 2018 Amanda Bennett