More Than You Can Handle: A Rare Disease, A Family in Crisis, and the Cutting-Edge Medicine That Cured the Incurable (Hardcover)
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The personally harrowing and medically enthralling story of a family's struggle to save a child from a deadly immune deficiency.
A journey through the deepest valleys and highest peaks of parenting. When a two-month-old baby falls ill, his apparently ordinary symptoms turn out to signal a rare and lethal immune deficiency. For parents Miguel Sancho and Felicia Morton, the discovery that their son, Sebastian, has chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) upends their lives and leaves the family with few options, all of them terrifying. With Sebastian at constant risk of deadly infection, they spend the next six years in some degree of self-quarantine, with all its attendant anxieties and stressors, as they struggle to keep their son alive, their marriage intact, and themselves sane.
The quest for a cure leads them into the alternate universe of the rare-disease community, and to the cutting edge of modern medicine, as their personal crises send them fumbling through various modalities of self-help, including faith, therapy, and meditation. With brutal honesty, Sancho describes how his struggles derail his career, put his marriage on life support, get his family evicted from a Ronald McDonald House, and ruin a Make-A-Wish trip.
Sancho's riveting tale of the diagnosis and treatment of his son's illness takes us deep inside the workings of the immune system, and into the radically innovative treatment used to repair it. Ultimately Sebastian is saved with a stem cell transplant using discarded umbilical cord blood, a groundbreaking technique pioneered and practiced by the medical wizards at Duke University Hospital.
Deeply researched and darkly humorous, this is a wrenching tale with a triumphant ending.
About the Author
Miguel Sancho is an Emmy Award-winning television producer currently show-running and developing series and specials for A&E. For seven years he helped run the ABC primetime news magazine 20/20. Prior to that, he was an investigative producer at 20/20 and CBS News's 48 Hours. He lives in New York with his wife, Felicia Morton, and their two children, Lydia and Sebastian.
“An extraordinary book…by turns harrowing and heroic and darkly humorous, it is a must read for any family confronting an unimaginable diagnosis. I couldn’t put it down. You will laugh, and you will cry, and you will be moved by the profound courage of ordinary people."
–Elizabeth Vargas, New York Times bestselling author of Between Breaths
“This book embodies love in action. With brutal honesty, Miguel explores the personal and familial challenges of fighting a child’s mysterious illness. But the inspirational power of this book lies in the passion of the parents and doctors who find ways to save children. In doing so, there is a message for all of us in how to deal with what life throws in our path.”
“A heart-wrenching story of what a parent dreads the most: to hear their child has a deadly disease. We are with the family as they struggle to find answers and hope in a situation where there is little of either. A poignant and triumphant story of one family’s journey through the intricacies of medicine in a desperate bid to save their child.”
–James R. Doty, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop
“More Than You Can Handle is must-reading for those who glibly think that God will not allow us to be tested to the uttermost if we are just faithful persons. For anyone who has gone through such experiences and come out on the other side, this is medicine for the soul. As it turns out, the road to triumph often leads through, not around, tragedy, but then Christians should know this from the way the story of Christ ends.”
–Ben Witherington III, author of Who God Is
“An extraordinary story in the hands of an equally extraordinary writer. Armed with an unflinching honesty that every parent of a child with special needs (medical or otherwise) will appreciate and recognize, Sancho’s story will help many families see a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel and—even better—how their child (no matter what age) will help them find it.”
–Cammie McGovern, bestselling author of Eye Contact
“Filled with insight, uncommon self-awareness, and, yes, humor, Miguel Sancho guides us through the pain, confusion, and challenges of saving a sick child. His honesty about his own struggles and mistakes make this an especially unexpected the story. Without question, an inspiring book.”
–Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change
“More Than You Can Handle is a magnificent achievement. Miguel has written an inspiring book without one sentimental paragraph. His chronicle has many heroes, including the brave young Sebastian; his mother, Felicia; and the doctors and nurses at Duke. One day Sebastian will read the book and realize he is blessed in having such a father.”
–Laurence Leamer, author of Mar-a-Lago
“Miguel Sancho’s memoir of how a rare disease almost killed his young son, Sebastian—and about how his own anger almost destroyed his marriage—is at turns raw, sobering, funny, and provocative. He writes with rare clarity about his own failings, but also about what holds a family together.”
–Amy Davidson Sorkin, staff writer, The New Yorker