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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young children, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem. After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book. By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This book is a lasting testament to his life.
The Salt Path
The true story of a couple who lost everything and embarked on a transformative journey walking the South West Coast Path in England Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea, and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable and life-affirming journey. Powerfully written and unflinchingly honest, The Salt Path is ultimately a portrayal of home - how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
My Own Country: A Doctor's Story
In this truthful, brilliantly written story, Dr. Verghese traces the penetration of the AIDS disease into the fabric of a town, weaving an incredible story from the lives and feelings of all the people it touches and changes forever. It is a compelling narrative of one doctor's transformation. He leads us through a community of guarded hope, where unlikely friends join hands in a circle of grace and comfort, and takes us into his own searching soul.
Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke
Meyerson, Debra E.
Identity Theft follows Stanford professor Debra Meyerson's journey to recover from a severe stroke that initially left her physically incapacitated and unable to speak. In addition to providing realistic expectations for the hard work needed to regain everyday capabilities, Meyerson focuses on the less frequently documented emotional journey in recovery. Virtually every survivor is haunted by questions like: "Who am I now?" and "How do I rebuild a meaningful and rewarding life?" after losing so much of what they had before--capabilities, careers and jobs, relationships, and more. This is a book full of hope for survivors--from stroke or other injuries--as well as their families and support networks.
A week after her forty-first birthday, the acclaimed poet Anne Boyer was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For a single mother living paycheck to paycheck who had always been the caregiver rather than the one needing care, the catastrophic illness was both a crisis and an initiation into new ideas about mortality and the gendered politics of illness.A twenty-first-century Illness as Metaphor, as well as a harrowing memoir of survival, The Undying explores the experience of illness as mediated by digital screens, weaving in ancient Roman dream diarists, cancer hoaxers and fetishists, cancer vloggers, corporate lies, John Donne, pro-pain ”dolorists,” the ecological costs of chemotherapy, and the many little murders of capitalism. It excoriates the pharmaceutical industry and the bland hypocrisies of ”pink ribbon culture” while also diving into the long literary line of women writing about their own illnesses and ongoing deaths: Audre Lorde, Kathy Acker, Susan Sontag, and others.A genre-bending memoir in the tradition of The Argonauts, The Undying will break your heart, make you angry enough to spit, and show you contemporary America as a thing both desperately ill and occasionally, perversely glorious.
The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live
Armstrong, Heather B.
From New York Times bestselling author and blogger Heather B. Armstrong comes an honest and irreverent memoir about her experience as the third person ever to participate in an experimental treatment for depression involving ten rounds of a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.
A powerful, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery.For as long as author Porochista Khakpour can remember, she has been sick. For most of that time, she didn't know why. Several drug addictions, some major hospitalizations, and over $100,000 later, she finally had a diagnosis: late-stage Lyme disease. Sick is Khakpour's grueling, emotional journey—as a woman, an Iranian-American, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems—in which she examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness and her addiction to doctor prescribed benzodiazepines, that both aided and eroded her ever-deteriorating physical health. Divided by settings, Khakpour guides the reader through her illness by way of the locations that changed her course—New York, LA, Santa Fe, and a college town in Germany—as she meditates on the physiological and psychological impacts of uncertainty, and the eventual challenge of accepting the diagnosis she had searched for over the course of her adult life. A story of survival, pain, and transformation, Sick candidly examines the colossal impact of illness on one woman's life by not just highlighting the failures of a broken medical system but by also boldly challenging our concept of illness narratives.
Fighting for My Life: How to Thrive in the Shadow of Alzheimer's
Tyrone, Jamie TenNapel
A uniquely hopeful exploration of the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease. This book combines the compelling story of Jamie Tyrone - a self-proclaimed “lab rat” diagnosed with a 91 percent chance of contracting AD - with the medical expertise of Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, a leading authority on Alzheimer’s and dementia.Jamie Tyrone was forty-nine years old when she learned she had a genetic predisposition toward Alzheimer’s disease - in fact, her genes translated to a 91 percent chance that she would contract the disease during her lifetime. Surprised by the way she learned of the diagnosis through genetic testing, and painfully familiar with Alzheimer’s because of her family history and her experience as a nurse, Jamie felt as if she had a ticking time-bomb inside her, ready to go off at any moment.After an initial bout with depression, Jamie decided to take action rather than concede defeat. She started by founding B.A.B.E.S (Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science) to raise money and awareness in the search for a cure. Energized by that community, Jamie teamed up with renowned neurologist Dr. Marwan Sabbagh to write Fighting for My Life as a practical, helpful guide for those who know they are at greater risk of contracting Alzheimer’s Disease.This book is unique because it offers expert medical advice from Dr. Sabbagh alongside Jamie’s real-life experiences as a woman living in the shadow of Alzheimer’s. In addition, Fighting for My Life is one of the only books on the market that takes an honest look at the pros, cons, and possible dangers of genetic testing.
Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir
A powerful memoir from Natalie Golderg--the woman who changed the way writing is taught in this country--sharing her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen.When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grounded in the fierce commitment to embrace the suffering directly. In the middle of this, her partner discovers that she too has cancer. The cancer twins, as Natalie calls them, must together and apart grapple with survival, love, and the rawness of human connection. This book is a moving meditation on living a genuine life in full bloom.
The Long Goodbye
Ronald Reagan's daughter writes with a moving openness about losing her father to Alzheimer's disease. Moving and honest, this is an illuminating portrait of grief, of a man, a disease, and a woman and her father.
When beloved singer and songwriter Jann Arden's parents built a house just across the way from her, she thought they would be her refuge from the demands of her career. And for a time that was how it worked. But then her dad fell ill and died, and just days after his funeral, her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. In Feeding My Mother, Jann shares what it is like for a daughter to become her mother's caregiver--in her own frank and funny words, and in recipes she invented to tempt her mom. Full of heartbreak, but also full of love and wonder.
Somebody I Used to Know
Wendy Mitchell had a busy job with the British National Health Service, raised her two daughters alone, and spent her weekends running and climbing mountains. Then, slowly, a mist settled deep inside the mind she once knew so well, blurring the world around her. She didn’t know it then, but dementia was starting to take hold. In 2014, at age fifty-eight, she was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s. In this groundbreaking book, Mitchell shares the heartrending story of her cognitive decline and how she has fought to stave it off. What lay ahead of her after the diagnosis was scary and unknowable, but Mitchell was determined and resourceful, and she vowed to outwit the disease for as long as she could.As Mitchell learned to embrace her new life, she began to see her condition as a gift, a chance to experience the world with fresh eyes and to find her own way to make a difference. Even now, her sunny outlook persists: She devotes her time to educating doctors, caregivers, and other people living with dementia, helping to reduce the stigma surrounding this insidious disease.Still living independently, Mitchell now uses Post-it notes and technology to remind her of her routines and has created a “memory room” where she displays photos - with labels - of her daughters, friends, and special places. It is a room where she feels calm and happy, especially on days when the mist descends.A chronicle of one woman’s struggle to make sense of her shifting world and her mortality, Somebody I Used to Know offers a powerful rumination on memory, perception, and the simple pleasure of living in the moment. Philosophical, poetic, intensely personal, and ultimately hopeful, this moving memoir is both a tribute to the woman Wendy Mitchell used to be and a brave affirmation of the woman she has become.
Memory's Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia
Based on the "field notes" she keeps in her journal, Memory's Last Breath is Gerda Saunders' astonishing window into a life distorted by dementia. She writes about shopping trips cut short by unintentional shoplifting, car journeys derailed when she loses her bearings, and the embarrassment of forgetting what she has just said to a room of colleagues. Coping with the complications of losing short-term memory, Saunders, a former university professor, nonetheless embarks on a personal investigation of the brain and its mysteries, examining science and literature, and immersing herself in vivid memories of her childhood in South Africa.
Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple's Journey Through Alzheimer's
Hoblitzelle, Olivia Ames
In this profound and courageous memoir, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle describes how her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis at the age of seventy-two challenged them to live the spiritual teachings they had embraced during the course of their life together. Following a midlife career shift, Harrison Hobliztelle, or Hob as he was called, a former professor of comparative literature at Barnard, Columbia, and Brandeis University, became a family therapist and was ordained a Dharmacharya (senior teacher) by Thich Nhat Hanh. Hob comes to life in these pages as an incredibly funny and brilliant man who never stopped enjoying a good philosophical conversation - even as his mind, quite literally, slipped away from him. And yet when they first heard the diagnosis, Olivia and Hob's initial reaction was to cling desperately to the life they had had. But everything had changed, and they knew that the only answer was to greet this last phase of Hob's life consciously and lovingly. Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows provides a wise and compassionate vision for maintaining hope and grace in the face of life's greatest challenges.
Cancerland: A Medical Memoir
A doctor’s riveting story of loss and hope in the world of cancer.What is it like to encounter cancer? How does it feel to face the unknown, to enter a world of hope, loss, and dread?From the diagnosis of his childhood friend’s mother to his poignant memories in the lab, David Scadden’s seen the unknown world of cancer from the lens of a young boy, a classmate, a researcher, a friend, a doctor, and a neighbor. Scadden chronicles his personal memories of cancer – his visits to his sick neighbor and his classmate who left school and never came back.Now Dr. David Scadden, co-founder of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and one of the world's leading experts on immunology and oncology, writes his memoir, Cancerland, with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael D'Antonio. With riveting stories and moving compassion, Scadden and D’Antonio paint a still rapidly changing landscape in the context of all too common stories of loss. Ranging from Scadden’s personal childhood memories to his triumphs and regrets as a doctor, Scadden illuminates a light at the end of a dark tunnel.Through opening a window into the science of medicine in the world of the unknown, Scadden and D’Antonio humanize cancer while inspiring action that we all so desperately need.
Grace and Grit: A Love Story
Heartfelt, deeply moving, and incredibly real, this narrative shares the five-year journey of philosopher Ken Wilber and his wife, Treya Killam Wilber, through Treya’s illness, treatment, and death. Ken’s wide-ranging commentary—which questions conventional and New Age approaches to illness and reaches beyond the experience to find wisdom in pain—is combined with Treya’s journals to create a portrait of health and healing, wholeness and harmony, and suffering and surrender.
A Cancer in the Family: Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance
There are 13 million people with cancer in the United States, and it’s estimated that about 1.3 million of these cases are hereditary. Yet despite advanced training in cancer genetics and years of practicing medicine, Dr. Theo Ross was never certain whether the history of cancers in her family was simple bad luck or a sign that they were carriers of a cancer-causing genetic mutation. Then she was diagnosed with melanoma, and for someone with a dark complexion, melanoma made no sense. It turned out there was a genetic factor at work.Using her own family’s story, the latest science of cancer genetics, and her experience as a practicing physician, Ross shows readers how to spot the patterns of inherited cancer, how to get tested for cancer-causing genes, and what to do if you have one. With a foreword by Siddartha Mukherjee, prize winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies, this will be the first authoritative, go-to for people facing inherited cancer, this book empowers readers to face their genetic heritage without fear and to make decisions that will keep them and their families healthy.
Living Out Loud: Sports, Cancer, and the Things Worth Fighting For
A moving and inspiring memoir from the beloved sports broadcaster Craig Sager on his battle with leukemia and how he maintained a positive outlook on life in face of incredible circumstances.
Rocking the Pink: Finding Myself on the Other Side of Cancer
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It's Probably Nothing...*: *Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Implants
As a vibrant woman in her late thirties, a mother of two, poet, artist, and teacher, Micki Myers decided to confront her cancer diagnosis head on with the sharpest tools in her arsenal: namely, her sense of humor and unbridled poetic license.The result is a charming, poignant, laugh-out-loud collection that hits all the highs (morphine) and lows (everything else) of being a cancer patient and surviving with your spirit intact (even if your boobs are not).
Get Well Soon: Adventures in Alternative Healthcare
If you were diagnosed with a condition for which there was no known cure, what would you do? Nick Duerden is a writer and journalist. This is his memoir about a long period of ill health, and how he was forced to plunge, like it or not, into the often bewildering – but increasingly blossoming – world of alternative therapy in pursuit of a cure.He followed strictly regimented, vitamin-rich diets, and swallowed all manner of supplements. He smeared himself in coarse mineral salts, and grew tepid in Epsom salt baths. He visited energy practitioners and spiritual gurus. He learned yoga, how to meditate, to breathe properly, to face his fears and manage the new anxieties those very fears had done so well to engender. Over the course of three years, Nick's lifelong cynicism is gradually replaced by an open eagerness to try anything, if not quite everything and in doing so, he starts on the road back to health. Get Well Soon is a memoir that focuses on the journey all of us will at some point have to face: the abrupt obligation to start living better, wiser, healthier, to be kinder to our minds and bodies by realising that minds and bodies do require care. It's about what happens to life when you become ill, because everyday life is never going to stop going about its chaotic business. This is not a self-help book. But it is, in its own candid, unflinching and stumbling way, a mapless guide to belatedly learning to live well, to negotiating a very particular, and all too common, midlife crisis. It is honest, and funny, and ultimately optimistic. And it might just offer proof that self-discovery, even when it is enforced self-discovery, is no bad thing.
Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only To Find Her Again
Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family. Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda's illness--called primary progressive aphasia--from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day. Kim draws a candid picture of the ways her family reacted for better and worse, and how she, her father and two siblings educated themselves, tried to let go of shame and secrecy, made mistakes, and found unexpected humor and grace in the midst of suffering. Ultimately the bonds of family were strengthened, and Kim learned ways to love and accept the woman her mother became. With a moving foreword by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox, Where the Light Gets In is a heartwarming tribute to the often fragile yet unbreakable relationships we have with our mothers.
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