When A Loved One Falls Ill: How To Be an Effective Patient Advocate

“It is because of the work of paying it forward that you and Brian felt compelled to do, that I made it through the worst year of my life…Each of your tips and pieces of wisdom were invaluable. You gave me faith in my strength, and belief in my “little voice.” I truly think that youR book was one of the most well-written and intuitive books I’ve ever read. I can’t thank you and Brian enough for sharing your story and your lives with your readers. I will be forever in your debt knowing that I am, in part, the reason my best friend is alive.”
-- Meredith N., Castle Rock, Colorado

“Your book and advice should be read by all cancer patients. We may have differing kinds of illness, but the problems and protocol for patient self understanding and control is universal. Thank you for the book and the Monaghan Manual.”
-- Tom M., Tempe, Arizona

“Thank you, thank you for writing “The Power of Two.” I just finished devouring it and it has become my new favorite book. I’ve already recommended it to many people and will continue to do so….”
-- Bette M.

“The Power of Two” was a real help through all of this. After the fact, I can honestly say I’m not sure I would have gotten through this, let alone understood many of the issues we went through, or how to deal with them, if I hadn’t read it. The book was written right to the point by someone who had gone through this many times, and her insight was golden. I often found myself thinking back to what she had written, and it helped me, and consequently, Katie, so very much…”
-- Dave F., Pennsylvania


Available At These Fine Locations

Original Hard Cover Edition Published April 2009, Click Here



About The Authors

Brian: In May of 1998, I was given a gift. Stage IV Melanoma which had metastasized into two brain tumors and my lymph nodes. There is no Stage V. It sure didn’t look like much of a gift at the time! Doctors told me that without treatment, I had two to three months to live. With treatment, perhaps a year. Gerri and I began a journey which has lasted almost thirteen years. No cake walk, it has included a Gamma Knife procedure, removal of lymph nodes, two craniotomies, an experimental Dendritic Cell Vaccine program, blood clots, brain seizures and aphasia. The gift? First of all, I’m here thirteen years later to tell you our story. And to share with you, how you too can come to recognize the gift cancer can become. I’ve gone from being a hard charging trial lawyer, grounded in a blue collar upbringing in Philly, to someone who has learned to take the time to appreciate each and every day. The story of our journey is one that might give others hope, some strategies for survival and always, laughter.

Gerri: Brian’s journey is one that crosses that boundary of "hopeless" cases. His story reaches out to those who have basically been told to go home and get their affairs in order. But this gift of life that Brian has been given, didn’t happen in a vacuum. From the beginning, we decided that we were simply not going to accept the word "cancer" as a death sentence. From the very first days of this battle, we decided to go on the offense. We decided that we would push the envelope of medical science as hard as we could. And that meant seeking out and then embracing the concept of clinical trials. My role became that of Brian’s advocate and our book shares how that process evolved with stories of the lessons we have learned. Early on in our journey, we came up with a shared set of responsibilities. Brian’s was to keep his innate sense of optimism; his joy of life; his belief in his ability to overcome all obstacles. Mine was to keep him alive. Thirteen years later, we’re here to share with you whatever we’ve learned. Hope can triumph. It does exist. But not in a vacuum. Hope needs your help. The help of an advocate.



Our Story

Brian and Gerri MonaghanPrior to their marriage in 1995, Brian and Gerri Monaghan lived
much of their lives in parallel universes. Brian grew up in an
Irish family in Philadelphia. Gerri grew up in an Irish family in New York City and Connecticut. While Brian was attending the Uited States Naval Academy, Gerri was in high school. When she was attending the University of Connecticut, he was in Vietnam. Gerri was the wife of an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy while Brian attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Brian was a single parent to Kathi and Patrick in San Diego for more than thirteen years while Gerri was raising two sons, Todd and Mark Wortmann, in Colorado. Gerri moved to San Diego in 1988 and worked as a paralegal for a large defense law firm, a firm often in opposition to Brian's plaintiffs' law practice. As Brian puts it, in 1990 Gerri "saw the light", joined Brian's firm and the rest is history. While their books and their attempts to “pay it forward” take up a large part of their time, Brian and Gerri’s continued emphasis is on their four children and their grandchildren, Dylan and Kyra Vaughn, Jake Monaghan, and the Wortmann children: Riley, Trevor, Reagan, and Cassidy. And of course, on their faithful Canine Companion, Joy.


  • American Trial Lawyers Association: Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 1998
  • American Board of Trial Advocates: California Trial Lawyer of the Year, 1998
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego: Trial Laywer of the Year (3x's)
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego: Outstanding Trial Lawyer (9x's)
  • American Ireland Fund, Heritage Award, 1999

Board of Drectors: (Current)

  • American Ireland Fund
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • San Diego Padres

Monaghan FamilyPhoto June 1998: Within days of a terminal diagnosis, the family gathered: Patrick Monaghan, Tom Vaughn, Jennifer Wortmann, Kathi Vaughn, Gerri Monaghan, Todd Wortmann, Brian Monaghan, Mark Wortmann, Sharon Wortmann.



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