Monday, November 23, 2009

Book: Voices of Multiple Sclerosis

You may have heard about the recently-published book "Voices of Multiple Sclerosis," a compilation of stories from over 30 people with, or affected by, Multiple Sclerosis. Diane J. Standiford has a piece in that book, as does "Sonia," a regular at the Delaware Area MS Chat. And I have one piece in the book, too. Diane reviewed the book at A Stellar Life, and is interviewing some of the authors. I recommend that you check out her blog for lots of related information.

Rather than give you my own review, which I'll explain in a moment, here's one from Publisher's Weekly.

Voices of Multiple Sclerosis: The Healing Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength
Edited by Richard Day Gore and Juliann Garey. LaChance (IPG, dist.), $16.95 paper (275p) ISBN 9781934184080

After facing breast cancer, Debra LaChance founded The Healing Project and initiated her seven-part Voices Of series (Voices of Breast Cancer, Voices of Alzheimer's, etc.) to fulfill the need —her own included— for "personal stories of those who had gone through this ordeal." The latest begins with an overview of multiple sclerosis by medical doctor John Richert, followed by 34 diverse voices of patients, as well as their spouses and children. California academic Jodene Kersten writes about her mother, born in a Japanese-American relocation camp during WWII and diagnosed with MS when she was 18, but who raised two children and pursued a career as a nurse. Gerald Chalmers writes about the physical and emotional obstacles, admitting that he refused a wheelchair for years because "it screamed 'disability,'" only to find it radically improved his life. Addressing all aspects of life with disease — diagnosis, diet, exercise, laughter, stigma, support, family and friends, acceptance, treatment, and the promise of new and better treatment — this is an honest collection that will provide great context and practical advice for patients and their loved ones. (Dec.)

The reason I haven't reviewed this book: When I first read it, I became very depressed. Maybe too much honesty, maybe too many symptoms. Maybe I was just frustrated with my increasing symptoms and didn't want to deal with MS. But as time has passed, I've realized that I shouldn't read it all at one time, but rather read one story, limp away for a while, then read another story. Repeat.

I did give my copy away to a newly-diagnosed woman at a recent support group meeting, then ordered five more copies. I would love to hear what you think, IF you've read the book.

Do you think it is depressing or uplifting? Do you think it's good for newly diagnosed or too overwhelming? Will you send it as presents for friends and family?

You can get this book from at this
LINK . We might devote a chat to this topic next year if enough people can get a copy.

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