A personal story of chronic illness combined with life advice.
McIntyre (Orphan Dreams, 2011) here creates an account of her own medical history and a guide to living well with chronic illness. She refers to her illnesses as monsters, and her advice aims to put illness in the “position of unwanted stray pet rather than that of the roaring monster that sends us hiding under the covers.” To that end, each chapter closes with a list of lessons. These lists also appear at the back of the book for easy access. Among the common-sense approaches toward managing various chronic illnesses is the repeated exhortation to do things “with joy and celebration.” McIntyre focuses her advice equally on the importance of learning about one’s disease and on maintaining a positive attitude in facing it. The author candidly reveals her various sicknesses, and her discussions of them consume the first half of the book. Readers who also suffer from any similar maladies may find comfort in an account of how another person lives happily despite them. The comfort of shared experience is the greatest strength of McIntyre’s guide. The latter half of the book, McIntyre’s advice on practical, emotional and spiritual matters for the chronically ill, relies on the same principles of optimism and education she establishes in the book’s beginning. As such, the material is occasionally repetitive. For the chronically ill reader or one interested in the experience of chronic illness, McIntyre provides a straightforward look at daily life with diseases. For those seeking extensive advice on how to cope with a chronic illness, however, supplementary resources would be helpful. The book is meant as a starting point in education and illness management, not the last word.
An unflinching look at one woman’s life with multiple chronic illnesses.