Journey through meandering roads
A book review by Nicole Watson
I Have to Believe by G. Keith Summers is a poignant story of resilience and faith. His memoir takes the reader through a jaw-dropping journey starting with his “roots” and ending with his survival of a very trying chapter in his life.
Born in Mandeville, Jamaica, Summers recalls his youth as one that was filled with religion – a constant in his life – and deep-rooted discipline. It was this discipline that taught him to be a well-mannered and respectful child; it was this discipline that stayed with him at St George’s College and saw him excelling in his studies and participating in every sporting activity; and it was this discipline that led him to New York to continue his studies.
It was as a young adult in New York that Summers’ life started to change for the worse. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which caused stiffness in his hands but also led to the need for knee-replacement surgery for both knees. Despite the immense pain that came with recovery, Summers persevered by discipline – which “makes us fight through pain” - and faith because “God gives us no more than we can bear”. His road to recovery was not an easy one, but for 47 years, he found a way to cope.
Then came the scary part. One random day, Summers had a sandwich at his favourite restaurant. This simple meal was the beginning of a life-changing experience for the 69- year-old. Pain, medical tests, and even more pain, led to the discovery of E. coli or Escherichia coli, a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines of some animals and can, therefore, be found in poorly prepared meats. This dangerous type of bacteria severely infected his right leg. Unfortunately, amputation was the only solution to stop the infection from spreading.
This memoir was definitely eye-opening as it created an awareness of several health issues. It showed how RA, a term that is heard every so often, can affect anyone at any age. It also highlighted the dangers of consuming poorly prepared foods, which can happen to any consumer, at any time. Finally, it highlighted that health issues not only cause physical trauma, but they can also lead to mental strain in the form of depression and other mood disorders. Summers found himself in need of mental healing. He realised that he never healed from the trauma that started from his diagnosis of RA. This lack of healing showed up in temper tantrums and bouts of uncontrollable crying that thankfully, he sought professional help for and his family loved him through.
This book was a message for anyone who has experienced physical and mental trauma or seen it unfold in the life of a family member or friend. The experiences will test your faith, resilience, and discipline, but in the end, believe that you have won.
Title: I Have to Believe
Author: G. Keith Summers
Nicole Watson is a communicator, content creator, and a blogger. Follow her on Instagram @nicolesbookishtidbits.