Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interesting book about living a full life with an illness

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with lupus and we were discussing the challenge of adjusting your mind to having a chronic or progressive illness.  At about the same time Merideth Viera and her husband, Richard M. Cohen, were making the talk show rounds discussing his ongoing challenges of living with MS and then battling colon cancer twice.  They mentioned his book, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoit, and I recently started reading it.

I'm half way through and I am finding it very interesting and potentially helpful to someone who has an illness or wants to support someone who does.  Some of my favorite quotes so far:

"The battle to control our heads is every bit as important as combating the attacks on our bodies." - I'm a big fan of cognitive behavior modification so this really resonates.  Our thoughts truly can drive our feelings and actions.

"Adjust, after the fact.  Do not simply react to possibility." - or as my Mother used to say, don't create mountains out of molehills.

Seven years ago I had a serious illness that could have become a chronic and limiting one.  Fortunately I fully recovered but at the time I spent a lot of time wondering how one adjusts and lives a full and happy life with such severe physical limitations.  Millions do but I couldn't find any resources to help me.

I wish I'd had this book!  I'm hoping the rest of the book is as good as the first part.  So far I highly recommend reading it.

Please note though that this is an intensely personal book/memoir about one person's experience living with a progressive illness.

Update:  I just finished this book and still think it is an interesting read.  He does spend a lot of time talking about his denial, anger, unwillingness to do what is needed (e.g. use a can earlier in his illness) and keeping his illness secret from most people for a long time which led to interesting assumptions by others to explain his behavior!  It is an intensely personal book and I think it does have valuable insights for others.


  1. Thanks for this reference. I do live with a chronic condition. Is it really serious? Not now, hopefully won't be, but it does limit me on what I can and can not do. I try to make the best choices I can, day by day, that will not compromise me too much so I can enjoy life as fully as possible. When my symptoms flair, I make no apologies and totally slow down until I am better. Until someone lives with something chronic, it is hard to understand what it is like to have to deal with it--especially when someone may look "normal" otherwise. ~~Bliss

    1. You are so right about how hard it is for others to understand. I found that my sense of loss for my old self (since regained) was hard to move past initially as I worked to recover. I hope you continue to be in the "not serious now" level with your condition.


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