Life After: My Year from Starvation to Salvation
Life is precious, and it so easily can be taken away from us in an instant, at any time and at any place. We don’t, though, as humans, expect to lose it when we are just barely beginning it. But on August 28, 2016, just three days short of her twenty-second birthday, Ariana Aboulafia is told by a university health center physician that she must go to the nearest ER. She’s been suffering for months with severe nausea that has rendered her nearly incapable of consuming enough food to stay alive. Her body has wasted away to an alarming 64 pounds, with her bones protruding through her thin skin. She saw a gastroenterologist early on, trying desperately to determine the causation of her rapid weight loss and other harrowing symptoms, only to be told anorexia was suspected and there was nothing else he could do. After seeing a psychiatrist who assured her nothing was wrong with her psychological health, she was left with nowhere else to turn. Too many times she’d been turned away by those she hoped could help her most, could release her from her wrenching pain, and allow her to live again.
It is this day, though, in late August, that Ariana knows something is different. After arriving at the hospital in Miami, Florida, she undergoes a barrage of tests and soon discovers she has SMAS (Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome), a very rare and potentially fatal condition that only one surgeon in the area knows how to treat. It’s there, in that hospital, that she spends her twenty-second birthday and endures a series of painful surgeries, injections, and feeding tubes. Paradoxically, it’s also there that she develops an everlasting bond with the love of her life. She discovers the depth of her parents’ love and begins the journey of reclaiming who she once was and of becoming whom she aspires to someday be.
Life After: My Year from Starvation to Salvation is a remarkably beautiful story about life and love, illness, and recovery, devastation and joy — so many of the things that make up the human experience. Not only does Ariana share her story, but she unveils her soul in this autobiographical work of fine literature. She writes in an almost poetic way, a manner in which her words flow with such gentle ease. They wisp across the pages, weaving the reader into a web of a young woman’s experiences. Some are truly heartbreaking to read, while others invoke a sense of gratitude and peacefulness that envelop your very being. She eloquently sprinkles figurative and descriptive language into the text, illuminating her words, making them easier to ascertain and her bringing circumstances to life.
As the story progresses the reader is able to witness the growth and evolution that takes place — the shifting of her attitude and worldview as she experiences one trial after another. At times, even the one constant she has always had in her life — her faith — begins to waver. She starts to question every aspect of her life and its meaning, which is so evident when she says to herself, “Perhaps, I thought, our soft spot for religion and God was nothing more than a cop-out, a way to avoid taking responsibility for the things we did; perhaps it was a way to understand what is incomprehensible or a way to justify our hopes for the improbable and prayers for the impossible.” She allows herself to vacillate just enough to discover her own reality, to confirm that she was right from the beginning, that there is a higher power, something greater than us all. There is a reason for her continued existence, that her life was spared when she was once so close to death. Many will be blessed by the story she has graciously chosen to share with us all!
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||316 pages|
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|Category||Spirituality & Inspiration|