You don't look sick

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You Don’t Look Sick! Living Well With A Chronic Illness 2nd Edition

Joy H. Selak & Steven S. Overman, MD, MPH

Being that I haven’t dug into any books on this topic lately, I opened the first page with no expectations, good or bad. Being that I had no particular “needs” that I was hoping to accomplish in this reading, I would consider this a pretty objective review.

The book begins setting up a dual-dialogue style between Joy (co-author & patient) and her physician Steve Overman. Throughout the book they alternate chapters, Joy telling her story chronologically while Dr. Overman comments from a more medical standpoint and describes methods of care, both emotional and physical, during those times.

Joy’s story no doubt starts off as something that ALL of us can probably relate to: years of unknown illness, mounting medical issues with no diagnosis or successful treatments, struggles keeping her job and marriage on track all while battling physical, emotional and financial issues that CFIDS brings on. Her incredibly detailed account of her year-long battle with insurance companies may take a few too many pages, but I do understand the importance of that triumph in her story.

The book remains engaging through the middle as Dr. Overman continues to shed a great light from a physician’s perspective, often clarifying Joy’s intentions on conveying a particular message. (I can see how writing a novel while in the middle of an onset would bring into play issues of brain fog).

Towards the end, Joy’s story tapers a bit as it feels as if she just ended the story and didn’t give a detailed account of how she really got there or what took her from point C to D, but nonetheless, it was something all patients can relate to.

Who This Book Is Good For: Being that Joy is married, works full-time (her husband was her boss) and she has kids, this may be a book better suited for patients in a similar situation or more mature in age; say late 20s to 40s. However, it could also be a good intro book for a spouse as she depicts a struggle between her and her husband and finding resolutions to common roadblocks associated with couples dealing with a chronic illness.

Best Take-a-ways: Both Joy & Dr. Overman stress the importance of balance both emotionally and physically as one comes to terms with their chronic illness. The fine line between fighting something you can’t win and lying down & giving up is a fine one, but through each of their tips they gained through experience, Joy was able to identify that balance and “Live Well With A Chronic Illness.”

Example of Tips – Joy: find doctor that you share mutual trust, respect & understanding with. Don’t spend so much time proving you are sick or worrying about outside opinions. Don’t fight against the illness, fight for yourself.

Example of Tips – Dr. Overman: Eliminate “should” from your vocabulary. Develop a team of both medical and emotional support as both are intertwined in healing. Take time to listen to and process your emotions.

Favorite Quote: “There are pathways into a person’s soul that medications sometimes cannot reach.”

Buy this book at Amazon

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