I look forward to writing more about the following books in upcoming blog posts! What RA/chronic pain/health and diet related books are you reading right now?
A Resilient Life: Learning to thrive, not just survive, with rheumatoid arthritis
Kat Elton, OTR
Too often, people faced with a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis hear words like, “disabling,” “progressive,” or “tragic.” “Tragic” may be what people are saying but the real tragedy is that these often repeated words do nothing but harm to those who hear them. They completely ignore a very real truth: physical issues can absolutely lead to positive transformation, action, challenge, inner strength, deep courage, and compassion. This unique book is written by someone who knows her subject well. Kat Elton, an occupational therapist and woman who’s had rheumatoid arthritis since age two, knows that people with RA don’t need false hope or to be told what to do. What they do need is to be led toward believing in themselves and improving their reality no matter what it is. Part practical guide, part workbook, part memoir, this book demonstrates that although there is no magic bullet or cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there is a way to live well with this disease.
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Resilient-Life-Learning-rheumatoid-arthritis/dp/0615289231
Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better
Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis five years ago, and in that time, he has discovered how incorporating 18 key ingredients into his cooking improved his quality of life. In Hero Food, he shows how to make these key ingredients, or “hero foods,” your cooking friends; they can be added to many dishes to enhance health and flavor. Hero Food is divided into four sections, each devoted to a season. Each season is introduced with a richly imaged “movie,” providing the context of Seamus’s life and the source of many of the imaginative and beautiful recipes contained in each seasonal section. Seamus’s “heroes” are real food, elemental things like good meat, good birds, eggs, greens, grains, and berries. He cares about how his vegetables are grown, how his fruit is treated, and about the freshness and sustainability of the fish he uses. His hope is that you will eventually forget about why these recipes are good for you, and that you’ll make them just because they taste good.
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Seamus-Mullens-Hero-Food-Delicious/dp/1449407587
Our Hands Can! A Show Us Your Hands! Photo Book Project
Show Us Your Hands!
The Our Hands Can! photo book contains the inspiring photographs and moving stories of dozens of people of all ages from around the world who live with different types of inflammatory arthritis. All funds raised from the sale of these books go to Show Us Your Hands!, an international awareness movement which serves to unite and inspire the inflammatory arthritis community.
More Info: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3205952
Listening to Pain: Finding Words, Compassion, and Relief
Here’s a pain medication you can’t get at the pharmacy. Biro, an M.D. with a Ph.D. in literature from Oxford, asserts that language itself can alleviate pain—particularly its daunting power to isolate and silence. Illness and especially pain give rise to a wall that separates a person from the world, because pain literally leaves us speechless, Biro finds. What sufferers must do, he asserts, is find the words and images to describe what nobody else feels in exactly the same way. We need to think like Joyce and Tolstoy, Biro declares, and search for metaphors that are universal. His thoughtful, lyrical challenge is, in essence, a study guide to some of the last century’s most powerful writers, their metaphors of pain and suffering parsed and pondered. Biro even turns to evocative artist Frida Kahlo to illustrate the look of pain (portraying herself as a wounded deer, for example). And here’s why we should pay attention to Biro’s difficult, complicated lesson: as long as the conversation lasts, we are not alone.
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Listening-Pain-Finding-Compassion-Relief/dp/0393340252
Enemy Within: A memoir of strength, determination & acceptance
“I’ve thought a lot about my first IV infusion; about the isolation of disease and the loneliness of the moment when the sickly green curtain is pulled across and you’re shut out from the rest of the world. It’s a moment of no control; when there’s not much choice anymore, just a road map of what you have to do and a landscape of obstacles to overcome.” (From Enemy Within) To the world around her, a young Karen Ager had an enviable life and future ahead – model looks, a killer body and an outgoing personality. But unknown to everyone, including Karen, she was carrying a crippling disease that would change the course of her life completely. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of joint-destroying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at 17, Karen Ager was told she would spend her life on an invalid pension, unable to accomplish anything due to the constant pain she would suffer. Now 45 years old, Karen enjoys a full life. She married the man of her dreams, teaches grade school children full time, exercises and advocates tirelessly for the millions who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. In the new book, Enemy Within, Australian Karen Ager shares her inspirational journey of personal suffering at the hands of fate, refusal to accept defeat and the discovery of a hidden gift that gave her a new purpose.
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Enemy-Within-strength-determination-acceptance/dp/1741108500
Keeping A Secret: A Story About Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Why can’t Jennifer play soccer or jump rope? Any child with a chronic disease will relate to this young girl coming to terms with her diagnosis and treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and the manner in which she shares this news with her friends. “Learning to cope with the pain of arthritis. This problem affects over 43 million Americans of all ages. Children with arthritis face more issues than just dealing with their pain. In Keeping a Secret, Elizabeth Murphy-Melas helps children understand their symptoms and cope with the consequences of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). This is a thoughtful and engaging story of one girl’s journey from diagnosis to treatment to the recognition of the importance of supportive family and friends. Ms. Murphy-Melas has given a gift to children and their families living every day with JRA.” (Helene Belisle, Executive Director, Arthritis National Research Foundation)
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Secret-Juvenile-Rheumatoid-Arthritis/dp/0929173341
Pain: The Science of Suffering
Pain is one of medicine’s greatest mysteries. When farmer John Mitson caught his hand in a baler, he cut off his trapped hand and carried it to a neighbor. “Sheer survival and logic” was how he described it. “And strangely, I didn’t feel any pain.” How can this be? We’re taught that pain is a warning message to be heeded at all costs, yet it can switch off in the most agonizing circumstances or switch on for no apparent reason. Many scientists, philosophers, and laypeople imagine pain to operate like a rigid, simple signaling system, as if a particular injury generates a fixed amount of pain that simply gets transmitted to the brain; yet this mechanistic model is woefully lacking in the face of the surprising facts about what people and animals do and experience when their bodies are damaged. Patrick Wall looks at these questions and sets his scientific account in a broad context, interweaving it with a wealth of fascinating and sometimes disturbing historical detail, such as famous characters who derived pleasure from pain, the unexpected reactions of injured people, the role of endorphins, and the power of placebo. He covers cures of pain, ranging from drugs and surgery, through relaxation techniques and exercise, to acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, and herbalism. Pain involves our state of mind, our social mores and beliefs, and our personal experiences and expectations. Stepping beyond the famous neurologic gate-control theory for which he is known, Wall shows that pain is a matter of behavior and its manifestation differs among individuals, situations, and cultures. “The way we deal with pain is an expression of individuality.”
More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Pain-Science-Suffering-Maps-Mind/dp/0231120079