Saying that there is something for everyone in this book is not just a title for a book review, it is really an important point. Thats because MS is such a variable disease, so what might work for one person may not mean anything to another. As a result, if you happen to be a person living with MS, it is very easy to feel like no one at all understands you- each experience is so unique. HOWEVER, this book includes many different profiles of individuals at different ages, who have different severities of disease, different lifestyles etc. It covers many different aspects of people living with MS, including the real life negatives and some very inspirational positives. It is relatable if you yourself are living specifically with MS, and probably if you happen to be living with many other chronic illnesses. It does NOT candy-coat the difficulties, especially at various times during the illness. Rather, it presents the individuals who are dealt these life-changing issues and describes their struggles and triumphs, in the ever changing face of MS. The real people described in the book are relatable, helping people living with MS feel validated and understood.
Another important aspects of this book is it really is a reference guide as well, providing practical and easy to use tools to help anyone living with a chronic illness and the anxiety, depression and mood swings that often accompany them. There are several tools to help people evaluate their status and plan strategies to compensate for the effects and loss associated with their condition.
I have found it difficult to explain the cognitive problems I have due to MS...many people think I just forget where I put my keys, and try to be good intentioned by saying they do that too. Even my family and friends sometimes have a hard time understanding my limitations and the resulting frustrations. Dr. Farrell's book is an excellent resource to share with family and friends to help them understand what can be very hard to communicate.
As I slowly hobbled into my first nuerologist's office during my initial MS attack, he asked me "how are you feeling, and I don't mean mentally?" At that moment I knew it would be impossible to find another soul who understood me. I felt alone and almost like a hypochindriac...certainly there were many people with much more advanced MS than me, who were absolutely more worthy of the time and effort of the medical community. It took me a long time to realize that my experience with MS was certainly mine alone, but that did not make me an less entitled to the care and understanding given to other chronically ill patients who just had the rug pulled out from under them. If only I had Dr. Farrell's book back then I might have felt that validation much sooner. The important thing is that we all have this educational, supportive, friendly, conversational and non-judgemental resource now. Thank you Dr. Farrell!