Some days it's hard to get out of bed, much less,
log on to the computer and then read through tons
of emails. That's one of the reasons I appreciate
that you've taken the time to open up this email.
Last year I found a book I really loved. Keep in
mind that this book isn't a Christian book, yet
it was still a very practical book about living
with illness and inspirational too. Some of you
may be reader's of the author, Laurie Edwards"
blog at A
Chronic Dose. She was also a guest last year
for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness
Week talking about dating and marriage when you
are ill. (*You
can listen to it here!)
I have read many books on how to cope or live
successfully with a chronic illness, and as the
founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness
Awareness Week, I am eager to read the ones that
specifically address the emotions behind an illness,
not just the illness facts. Even some of the best
books, however, don't resonate with me in a personal
way. And then I read Laurie Edwards "Life
Disrupted: Getting Real about Chronic Illness
in Your Twenties and Thirties."
Not only did I discover a gifted writer who discussed
everything from humanizing hospitals to difficult
diagnoses, but also one understood the emotional
roller coaster that I've personally been on since
being diagnosed with an invisible illness.
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at
the age of twenty-four, and ironically, I Laurie's
book was published the year that I turned forty.
I wish I'd had this book years ago, but the impact
the content had on me was not diminished in any
way because of my age. I believe I related to
the book even more, since I have already experienced
so much of what Edwards writes about.
I've had an illness through college, dating,
marriage and parenting. Through the past sixteen
years I've trudged my way through all of these
without a manual. Although I wouldn't call Edward's
book a "how to" book, the validation
that it provides through her own illness experiences,
as well as her professional journalistic look
at the sociology behind illness is exceptional.
It provides helpful professional information,
with the hint of her diary between the lines.
And I found a friend in one who copes with her
illness best by burying herself in work. She writes,
"As a college student I studied for finals
and wrote newspaper articles from the ICU. In
graduate school, I taught writing classes so fresh
from being discharged that I still had a hospital
bracelet on my arm. And all of this seemed perfectly
reasonable to me. Why shouldn't it?" (p.
Edwards, a journalist by trade, is not afraid
to put aside her professionalism and "get
real" by talking about things that gals with
illness can be concerned about, such as not being
able to wear "cute shoes" or trying
to find the energy to have a conversation with
college friends. She even discusses gazing out
a hospital window longingly looking at her dorm
rooms. These things are a big deal when you are
young. Emotionally we learn to live with illness.
. . but it's just so daily!
Edwards reminds us that those daily events of
living with illness that can seem so significant
are significant and not minor decisions. How do
we explain our illness when we are dating? When
do we reveal it? How do we survive the embarrassment
of healthcare situations that are a little more
intimate than we would like? For example, when
the home healthcare professional shows up is a
bit too good-looking and close to our age? How
do we become independent adults who care for our
illness when our parents still want to be consulted?
Is accepting our limitations giving in to our
illness? How much of a caregiver should we allow
our spouse to be? Should we have a baby?
Edwards has put together a wonderful book that
will not only encourage and validate your emotions,
but also inspire you to make positive changes
in your own life. Her stories are never depressing
(not an easy task for the best of writers) and
self-pity is not in her vocabulary. Instead, her
ability to laugh at her own circumstances, and
share what she has learned on this journey so
far, will encourage you, as her enthusiasm and
joy for life rings through on ever page.
This is a book I will heartily recommend for
years to come to people of all ages.
May you feel God holding you in the palm of His
hand as He promises in Isaiah 49:16: "See,
I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your
walls are ever before me."