Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Manning Up in Alaska

Manning Up in Alaska, an Astounding Tale of Overcoming Cancer, Sailing 2600 Miles to Alaska and Finding New Direction by Dick Drechsler

On February 18, 2005, Dick Drechsler went to the doctor as he was not feeling well and thought he had a sinus infection. He was not prepared for what the doctor had to say. He was told he had stage three neck and throat cancer. That he had four to six months left to live. His cancer appeared to be advanced and there was no hope.

Little did the doctors know of the tenacity of Mr.Drechsler. He went through extensive surgery that lasted nine hours. When he awoke he was given a glimmer of good news. Yes, the cancer was massive, it had involved forty of forty-eight lymph nodes in his neck, his left tonsil, and much of his neck and throat tissue, but the surgeon thought he'd gotten it all. He was told the cancer probably started in his left tonsil.

I am not going to dwell on all of the medical issues he faced, because the author does not want that. So you will just have to read it yourself in his book. All that I can say is he has "True Grit."

He calls himself just an average guy, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Average is not a word that comes to mind in his story. While this is an inspirational book to people who had or have cancer, it is so much more. It is a book of hope and one man who refused to let the fears of cancer coming back stop him from doing what he had always dreamed of.

I could not help but laugh out loud in parts. Dick decided he wanted to try and catch crab on his way to Alaska. So they stopped and bought a crab pot for $200, and a shrimp pot for $120, and then another $200 for other stuff that was need. He kept trying and trying and then one day it finally happened. He caught his first crab and the joy in finally catching one was priceless to him. His wife Sharon took a picture of Dick holding up his catch. And to think it only cost him $520. I laugh when ever I think of it.

Once when they were off their sailboat and walking around they forgot to bring their bear repellent with them. While they were enjoying the outdoors they happened upon a bear and it is something you cannot miss in this story. Nor the joke about the Irishman. Honest you have to buy this book to read about the poop juice, he was told to use when he was trying to catch a fish. Yes it literally was poop juice. I have to stop and add a warning about something to women who have had children and are over 55. At times I laughed so hard it was a race for the bathroom. Luckily for me I kept my dignity.

This book grabs your attention and while I have mentioned some of the funny things in this book, I know that cancer is not a funny thing. Dick is setting up a charitable foundation helping other cancer suffers. Both Dick and his wife Sharon now live on their boat full time.

As I read about all the places they have sailed too, this reviewer was caught up and was sailing with them. Excellent read for anyone. You can read about Dick's foundation at

Sandra Heptinstall
Whispering Winds Book Reviews

1 comment:

Sharon Drechsler said...

As the author's wife, it may seem odd for me to comment on your review of my husband's book, Manning Up In Alaska. But this time I am commenting on YOUR writing. I find your reviews to be very thorough and comprehensive. Your own warm, kind personality seeps into every paragraph. It's just a delight to read your observations about what each book means to you. Thank you for inspiring all of the authors whom you have honored on these pages.