January 24, 2009

Celebrate Life: New Attitudes for Living with Chronic Illness by Kathleen Lewis

BOOK #: 8
CHALLENGES: New Authors, Triple 999

I have been talking about this book so much I am sure you are glad to see I finally finished it! :)

As you know, I have fibromyalgia, diagnosed in 2005. Ever since, I have tried to read as much as I can about not only fibromyalgia but also living with a chronic illness in general. Some books are, of course, better than others. The best are not written by doctors in the field, but by those who actually have a chronic illness, which Lewis does. When you read advice from someone who has actually been in your shoes, who relates to you and understands, you can accept the advice much easier. Who hasn't experienced a doctor who tells you to do something and a friend who has been there telling you the same thing, and it always sounds better coming from the one who has been there?

Lewis' book hits on many of the same topics as other books about chronic illness, but her method of delivery is what really grabs you. She doesn't just say 'Studies show this is how you learn to accept your diagnosis.' She also says 'This is what happened on my personal journey to acceptance.' And she relates her stories of hope and despair, her marriage that led to divorce, her recovery from that, how she dealt with the anger, how she and her two children learned to deal with all of the changes, and how this method or that method helped her to get to the place she is in now. Lewis is completely real throughout the book. She even states how she continues to have cycles of grief about her old life and her new life even now and she informs the readers that this will continue throughout our lives and, most importantly, that it's okay!

I have highlighted the pages of this book like I did Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have selected 2 quotes from the book and posted them below. If you or someone you love is dealing with a chronic illness, or even a terminal illness, I recommend this book. I found a lot of helpful advice for dealing with my father's illness, as well. You can buy the book through the Arthritis Foundation.

"Set aside one day of the week as a 'mental health day'. Don't schedule anything you don't enjoy on that day, and make it as simple and relaxing as possible. A full day of reading, light exercise, napping, eating and laughing may go against your workaholic nature, but it actually may be good for you."

"The real medicine resides in delving into your own personal well of wisdom and healing. If you keep searching, eventually you'll tap into the much larger and deeper river of wisdom and healing that flows through the ages. It's the same wisdom no matter how you reach it. Until you make that effort, attempts at healing will only be marginal, fragmented, and momentary. How you travel is less important than undertaking the journey."


  1. I'm so glad you found this book helpful, a lot of people could benefit from it from what you say.
    Take care of yourself.

  2. Thank you, Sandra. I hope they benefit as much as I did.

  3. Great review! I love the quotes. Those are good advice for everyone. This looks like a really great book...I love the cover too...butterfiles are my favorite. I'm going to recommend this to my friend who lives with fibromyalgia. I love books that celebrate living :)


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