top of page
  • Writer's pictureMiriam Diaz-Gilbert

Review of I am a Runner: The Memoirs of a Sepsis Survivor

Updated: Jan 18

While scrolling through my Twitter feed, one of my followers posted she was giving away copies of her memoir I am a Runner: The Memoirs of a Sepsis Survivor. I was intrigued by the title. I'm an ultrarunner and my doctors were amazed that sepsis did not take my life.

I received my copy of Maria Papalia-Meier's I am a Runner (with Pamela Ackerson) in the mail on Saturday. I began reading it on Monday morning. By page twenty-seven, my eyes welled up with tears. I finished reading it Tuesday morning. Not only is I am a Runner a page-turner but, it also resonates with me on many levels.

In addition to running, Maria and I have quite a bit in common. We've both had a hysterectomy. We love to run in heat and humidity. We've vacationed in Aruba. We like Bikram yoga. We love our Oofos. We've been to Iowa. We have amazing husbands. We have two children. And we love Zach Brown.

And we have endured and survived medical nightmares, and losing our hair due to the trauma our bodies suffered.

While sepsis was starting to set in over a month after my hysterectomy went haywire, sepsis left Maria in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator. Her toes were amputated. Maria is told she would never run again.

Maria doesn't know how she got sepsis. She thinks she might have contracted it on a trip to Iowa or while in the hospital during her hysterectomy.

As a result of sepsis, Maria undergoes excruciating pain, suffering, surgeries, and physical and occupational therapy. Along with her strong will to heal and run again, she endures survivor's guilt. Why did this happen to her? Why did she survive?

Maria's story of survival and resiliency is compelling and powerful. Her positivity and faith help her to bounce back from her life-threatening ordeal and the loss of toes, and to run again.

However, based on the title of the memoir, I was expecting to read more about Maria the runner. She only mentions her post-illness racing plans - two 5K races, and the Zoom Half-Marathon in Cape Cod.

Readers would be interested to know how she trained for her races after her toes were amputated and after healing. Inclusion of race events would have enhanced her memoir.

Readers would be interested in on how race day went, how she felt after every mile, and how she crossed the finish line. What was going though her mind? How did she feel mentally, physically, and spiritually?

Runners who have endured and survived a medical, surgical, and health crisis will enjoy and identify with I am Runner: The Memoirs of a Sepsis Survivor.

Runners and non-runners alike, who have not experienced these adversities, will be impressed and inspired by Maria's power of positivity, overcoming adversity, and remaining resilient in the midst of overwhelming pain and suffering.

Add I am Runner: The Memoirs of a Sepsis Survivor to your collection of inspirational books.

Copyright 2020

I am the author of Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times. You can order the book here from from the publisher, Amazon, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


bottom of page