I've been reading some great stuff! I highly recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which will blow your mind!) and The Wilder Life.
I was browsing the clearance section at a used book store, when this book caught my eye:
And I was immediately excited! Let me explain.
My junior year in college, my roommate walked in, set a book on my desk, and said, "You have to read this."
It was a book she was reading for a class. It was this book:
I had never heard of Richard M. Cohen, but he was soon to become one of my personal heroes. Blindsided is Cohen's personal account of living with Multiple Sclerosis for 30+ years, as well as dealing with two bouts of colon cancer. His story is truly and utterly amazing. I cannot do his story justice in such a short space.
When I first read this book, it was long before I found the Diabetes Online Community. Long before I knew such a thing even existed. And I knew no one else living with any kind of chronic condition, let alone Type 1 Diabetes.
But in Cohen's story, I saw elements of myself. Now, I have no idea what it's like to live with MS. Absolutely none. I do know what it's like to live with Type 1 Diabetes. And I saw some of my own emotions and struggles reflected in Cohen's.
I know how it feels to have your body betray you. I know how the future can seem very scary and uncertain. I know what it means to feel like a burden on your loved ones. I know the mental and emotional turmoil that comes with living with a chronic condition. If you live with any chronic condition, the similarities sometimes outweigh the differences.
Later that year, I had the opportunity to hear Cohen speak. He and I share an alma mater, and he spoke at commencement that year (not the year I graduated, unfortunately). I wish I could have talked to him, to thank him for sharing his story, because it had helped me.
And so when I saw Strong at the Broken Places, in the clearance bin, I snatched it up, and started reading it as soon as I got home. The book is the story of five different people living with five different chronic conditions. A guarded woman living with ALS. A college kid living with Muscular Dystrophy. A deeply passionate man living with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A young woman living with Chron's disease. And a man living with Bipolar Disorder who seems larger than life.
Cohen spent several years corresponding and interviewing the five people profiled in the book. And I want to have a big group hug with all of them.
I'm not going to lie. Reading the book was an intense emotional experience. I cried more than once. And again, though I have none of these conditions, there was so much that was the same. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It is truly incredible.
And I found my new favorite quote.
|"The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong |
at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
I am strong at the broken places. And so are you.