For those of you who were old enough at the time to remember life before your diabetes, the term “disruption” may seem like an understatement. Diagnosis is more like a crossroads, where your life morphs from one form into another entirely.
Health writer and blogger Laurie Edwards knows all about this. Maybe even more so than us PWDs, because her life has literally been a string of disabling symptoms, invasive medical tests, IVs, casts on her limbs, and hospital stays. She’s living with multiple chronic illnesses (PCD or Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, bronchiectasis, celiac disease, and more). Despite being “sickly” since childhood, she didn’t even have a clear diagnosis of what was wrong with her until her early 20s, and even then getting the right treatment has been a fight every step of the way.
Laurie gives the term “survivor” a whole new flair in her brand new book, Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties, due out in bookstores June 24 (and available for pre-order now).
For someone who’s been through so much — who seemingly couldn’t possibly have a “normal” life — you will be amazed at her humor and insight around living a good life with chronic illness (CI). What I love is that the book is so “narrative,” stringing together Laurie’s own experiences with those of a dozen others living with other ailments, including Kerri’s comments on Type 1 diabetes.
She writes a lot about the primary imperative of finding the right doctor:
“Like a first date with someone, the first appointment with a physician tells you so much. Does the doctor look you in the eye when you tell your history? Does she ask follow-up, probing questions that show she understands the connections your are beginning to draw? These subtle cues reveal so much…”
And there are wonderful chapters on everything from Why I Dress in Layers (“Certain details reveal our medical condition whether we’re comfortable with that or not”) to Financial Friction (“So often, the choices we know we should make for our bodies’ sake are intertwined with many conflicting variables”) to Marriage By Numbers (“You just don’t see a lot of literature that addresses chronic illness in younger marriages. It’s so hard”).
I’m delighted to report that Laurie, who once believed no one would commit to loving someone with such severe CI, is now happily married to a loving and supportive partner. For this and many other reasons, hats off to her!
To wrap it up, here’s my review “blurb” in a nutshell:
“Life Disrupted is a book like no other about the top-to-bottom experience of living with chronic illness (CI). Laurie Edwards is eloquent and funny as she delves into everything from relationships with doctors and boyfriends, to ‘full disclosure’ at work, to when and where comedy is appropriate in the illness game. If you’ve experienced CI, or care for someone who has, you need to read this book.”
[Walker & Company, $10.19 on Amazon]