GARN MEMOIR SERIES: 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival by Nancy Rankie Shelton

5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival, by Nancy Rankie Shelton: BEST BOOK AWARDS, honored as Winner – “Health: Death & Dying” category. Paperback ON SALE on Amazon, $14.35. Includes a special book excerpt:  Chapter 2 “Coming Together” .

Author: Nancy Rankie Shelton
$14.35 paperback ON SALE on Amazon
ISBN: 978-1-942146-35-3
Hardcover & Paperback: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | IndieBound (local bookstores) | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books
eBook: Amazon – Amazon Kindle discounted ebook just $2.99 with a purchase of the print book.

About the Book

In 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival, the realities of sharing life and death exemplify what it means to live and to love and will resonate with readers.

It’s two days after Christmas and seven days after Jack’s 58th birthday. Jack and his wife, Nancy, are enjoying their morning in their second home in Gainesville, Florida, when out of the blue Jack has a seizure. That afternoon he’s diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer. In the following weeks, the constant uncertainty and ever-changing diagnoses of his disease, his rapidly deteriorating health, and the stress and confusion of managing his treatment define their lives. After four emergency trips to the hospital that all result in lengthy stays, he fights back from everything, even partial paralysis, absolutely refusing to stay down.

By March, Jack is strong enough to return home to Maryland with Nancy, where he continues treatment while they try to pick up the pieces of their lives. He survives three more emergency admissions to the hospital, but the stays are much shorter and he experiences more outpatient than inpatient care. Though Jack is able to return to work, Nancy is not – she spends her time and energy supporting Jack’s efforts to heal and providing care and encouragement for him. Jack’s health continues to fail. On June 9th he dies.

Cancer is not the sum total of their lives or this memoir. Reflections of the 35 years they were together are woven throughout the narrative. Jack’s childhood, their first date, the birth of their only child, their relationships with others that shaped both their personalities are all part of their story.  Nancy’s identity as a wife, mother (and mother-in-law), sister, daughter and friend are all part of the experience.

In 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival Nancy Rankie Shelton encourages readers to overcome their fears of cancer, remain steadfast and loving, survive the death of a loved one, and continue living. 5-13 is a brave love story beautifully written.

Book Excerpt: 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival – Chapter 2 “Coming Together” 


Five-Star Amazon Reviews

See the full list of reviews on Amazon.


“The work – which reads like a diary – is open, honest and confidential. Dr. Shelton invites us to bear witness to a wide range of emotions – heartbreak, anger, frustration and, most important, her abiding love. I could not put her book down.” – Amazon


“Nancy Rankie Shelton’s 5-13, A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival is a breathtaking read. It is work of great courage but also a literary triumph. Like an uncut diamond it is rough reading in places and then the light fractures and you feel the surge of an enduring human spirit who is not frightened to love, face death, and then reimagine her life.” – Amazon


“What a touching story to read. I have lived with two family members battling cancer. One of these was a child who battled it twice and lived for many years before finally losing his battle in his 30’s. I felt myself reliving all of our family’s experiences during those years and also in the very same hospital here in Gainesville.” – Amazon


“Read this book. That’s all I can say. Nancy Shelton does a phenomenal job taking the reader through this heartbreaking diagnosis and show us the power of family and love. You finish this book feeling empowered because you learn that no matter what the outcome may be, love never dies. This book stayed with me long after I finished it. I highly recommend it.” – Amazon


“Magnificently written! A great way to find healing no matter your loss.” – Amazon


This book is a perfect testimony of love and strength during the most unbearable and most difficult situations in life. It captures every detail of emotions and fears and even anger that one goes through when faced with mortality whether it be of self or a loved one. As a reader I truly felt and experienced the fears and emotions that Nancy and her son, family and friends went through. I also learned the importance of taking notes when you are faced with serious medical issues. The book was captivating.”  – Amazon

About Nancy Rankie Shelton

Nancy Rankie Shelton is a Professor of Education at UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in a remote area in New York State, the youngest of five children, and moved to Pass-A-Grille Beach, FL in 1976 after graduating from SUNY Albany with a BA in interdisciplinary social sciences at the age of 19. She married her husband, Jack, in 1978 and they lived in Gainesville, Florida until 2003, when Nancy earned her PhD from the University of Florida. In June 2012, Jack died of metastatic lung cancer. Nancy has one son, Conrad Shelton, who still resides in Gainesville.

Nancy has worked with children since she was young. She held many positions, from babysitter and playgroup organizer, to teacher, and finally professor of education. She has always advocated for the children most in need. In her work as an educator, Nancy has 23 publications that appear in premier academic journals or with leading publishing companies that specialize in literacy research and/or education policy.

Reading and writing have been essential activities throughout Nancy’s life. One summer, she and her sister Carol read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery available in the Speculator, New York library. That summer, Nancy wrote her own mystery but she knew she could never publish it because she had stolen too many ideas from Franklin Dixon and she didn’t want to get caught. Now, more than forty years later, she finally has her own completely original story to share.

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