Embracing ReMARKable: One PHS Patient and His Mom Author a Book Sharing Their Journey
Born with medical complexities, Markus has encountered innumerable challenges throughout his life – but he hasn’t let them control it. More than 21 years after he was born with his airway and esophagus as one and a stomach the size of an almond, Markus has managed trach tubes, feeding tubes, invasive procedures, extensive medical needs, and more – and now he and his mom Deb have turned their family’s journey into a book.
Embracing ReMARKable includes perspective from multiple members of the Bachman family, including Markus’s father and sister, Mike and Heather.
“We always knew that someday we would write the story about our experiences; we just didn’t know when that would be or how it would come about,” said Deb. “Then when Markus was 17, he got very sick, and that summer I remember suggesting he spend an hour each day writing. The thought was that he might not survive this – so by having him do this, when the day came to write a book, we would have his words included.”
Turning memories into a book
That summer, Markus started writing – and from there, something that started as a chore slowly became more of hobby. Today, he is editor of the newspaper at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul where he is working toward a degree in accounting with minors in writing and political science.
“I had to drive him to campus for his classes, so I would be sitting in my car waiting, and I started re-reading everything,” remembered Deb. “We had CaringBridge blogs, journal entries, emails, the works. From there, I worked on writing the back story of his infant and childhood years to accompany the writing he had done that summer when he was sick.”
One thing that struck Deb in Markus’s writing was just how little of the “bad” stuff was included.
“It’s really interesting, the things that stick with you as a kid,” she said. “I thought he’d have a lot more memories of the hospital and procedures, but what he wrote about was the happy memories. It was so eye opening to read what he remembers.”
A lasting impact for readers
With the book self-published and available to purchase at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Amazon, eBay, and more independent bookstores, Markus looks forward to being able to give readers a firsthand perspective of a young adult managing the intricacies of medical needs without letting it control their lives.
“I want others to know they can still live a life they love with medical challenges,” said Markus. “You might have to create some workarounds, you might have to get creative, but my medical condition doesn’t control me. I don’t let it take over my life.“