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Rearranged is a wonderfully positive memoir telling of Kathleen Watt’s ordeal through maxillary osteosarcoma. As an early career opera singer in the New York Metropolitan Opera’s chorus, her dreams are derailed and life transformed when this most rare diagnosis hits.

She recounts her increasingly arduous journey through diagnosis, treatment and facial reconstruction with a remarkably personable narrative, always recognising the humanity of the many people her new world collides with. At a time when free flap reconstruction was not routine, her treatment decision-making process and relationships with the healthcare professionals in her medical team was particularly insightful. Packed with canny observations from the perspective of a patient which are fascinating for the medical reader, what really makes her story shine is the candid and bold way she shares how her family, dreams and life outlook have been shaped by this journey. Above all, the book’s message seems to be about identity. While Kathleen’s facial anatomy has changed with enormous impact on her life, this ‘rearrangement’ does not change the fact that Kathleen is still Kathleen.

As healthcare professionals, sickness can become routine and our workload can dull our compassion. But this book is fuel for patient-centred care fostering a recognition of the very personal journey each head and neck patient has to travel, whatever the diagnosis. A thoroughly recommended read for any head and neck healthcare professional, patient or interested onlooker.

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Jeremy Reid

BMedSc (Hons), MB ChB (Hons), PGDip, FHEA, MRCS (ENT), West Midlands, UK.

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