One Couple’s Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope

On My Way Back To You - cover


Can love survive the onslaught of chronic illness? Writer Sarah Cart shares how she became one of 39 million Americans taking care of an ailing loved one in ON MY WAY BACK TO YOU, One Couple’s Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope (Forefront Books; April 2, 2024). “My husband, Ben, just past his mid-fifties, was irrepressibly healthy and energetic until, suddenly, he wasn’t.”

In suspenseful and heart-rending detail, Cart recounts how, beginning with an incurable autoimmune disease, her husband developed one life-threatening condition after another. As each month passed, she felt her best friend, this brilliant businessman, successful entrepreneur, and energetically engaged and organized father to their four sons, slipping away, until eventually they received devastating news: Ben needed a heart transplant. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. Two weeks after the COVID-19 lockdown, they realized Ben’s body was shutting down and his only hope was to get on the list and get that transplant now—in the midst of a pandemic.

And that wasn’t even half of what was to come.

Thrust into the role of nurse and caregiver, Cart required a deep well of faith, grit, and grace as she confronted doubts, fears, endless setbacks, aggravations, and red tape while struggling to help Ben regain whatever he could of all that had been lost.

Cart reminds us that “there is certainly no promise that the health we enjoy this evening will be with us in the morning” and provides guidance for others in her shoes. Sooner or later, everyone will either become a caregiver or need one. To help when time comes, she shares the questions to ask, the notes to take, the signs to never overlook, and the self-care necessary for the caregiver.

ON MY WAY BACK TO YOU is more than a chronicle of Ben’s illness. It’s about love, resiliency, and the power of community: “When Ben was in the hospital, I felt all the people who’d ever loved him shining their light from the far reaches of the universe each time I begged them to do so.” It’s a roadmap through some of life’s greatest challenges and the journey of two people who used the power of love, determination, and endless patience to find their way back to each other.

SARAH CART was raised and educated in New York and New England, and wrote for multiple local publications while she and her husband, Ben, raised four sons in northeastern Ohio. Upon becoming empty nesters, the two moved to the Florida Keys, but they returned every summer to the Pennsylvania Poconos, where each had lifelong family connections. Then came COVID-19. The pandemic, combined with Ben’s health issues, necessitated their sheltering in place in Florida for the entirety of 2020. In the wake of Ben’s undergoing miraculous lifesaving measures, they have been afforded the unanticipated gift of a future and, more than ever before, relish time spent with family and friends.

 Listen to Sarah & Mark here:

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