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Living Well with Chronic Illness by Joanna…
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Living Well with Chronic Illness

by Joanna Charnas

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As someone with a few chronic maladies, this book was a gift, and not just because I got it free from the Early Reviewers at Library Thing. I didn't recognize it as a gift at first, yes, I'd signed up to receive it, but darn it, there were "sexier" books I'd requested that month. Getting this book was a slap--yes, you need this book. But dipping in, I have found it to be a wonderful companion, with chapters that talk about meditation, beets (yes, beets are awesome!) The most freeing thing I found in this book was that when you are sick, TELEVISION IS A GODSEND. I have just come out of a deep depression and many of the methods listed in this book are methods I used to work through and allow myself to heal. ( )
  sarahlouise | May 4, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Written by a social worker who has lived with chronic pain for a long time, this easy to follow book is very helpful.

One of the things that rang true is the difficulty of living with chronic pain while trying to live a happy, productive life. So often doctors and others tell me I look great. The author addresses this issue and affirms that you don't have to look terrible to actually live with pain. Dressing and looking good is a very good coping mechanism.

Having friends who understand is incredibly helpful. I've had to cancel many functions with friends and always feel guilty. I've learned that friends understand.

Some suggestions are simple -- get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids, breathe deeply and exercise as often as possible.
  Whisper1 | Apr 21, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There’s a special affinity between people who realize that they both suffer from some type of chronic illness: they know the other “gets it.” Even if their illnesses are quite dissimilar, it doesn’t matter: many of the same basic life destabilizing and disabling issues are still there. Two people like this connect in a special way and they can provide compassion, assistance, understanding, and empathy to each other that is a vital resource.

Unfortunately, not everyone with chronic illness gets a chance to meet others like them. Nor do they often find others with the right knowledge to offer advice. They suffer alone, surrounded by people who often love them a great deal but have a hard time empathizing with the full picture.

This book, “Living Well with Chronic Illness,” fills the gap. It offers a wellspring of advice on all the major aspects of living with a chronic illness. A woman who has suffered almost her entire adult life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome writes it. She is a social worker licensed to practice psychotherapy. She currently works in the mental health department of a large California teaching hospital. A lot of research and patient experience went into the writing of this book.

For me, the best parts were those that offered psychological and emotional issues. But the book also addresses a number of physical, financial, legal and spiritual issues, as well.

The book is divided into four parts. Part one deals with emotional issues and has four chapters: 1) “Sadness, Hope Fear and Other Unexpected Feelings,” 2) “Attitude!” 3) “Hard Decisions, Mistakes, and Choices,” and 4) “Looking Good, Feeling Good: Your Body Image.” Part two is about “Practical Challenges,” and it has ten chapters: 1) “Information is Empowering,” 2) “How to Obtain Good Medical Care,” 3) Your Body Knows Best: Listen to It!” 4) “Take Care of Yourself,” 5) “Learning to Juggle: Orchestrating Your Life,” 6) “Overwhelmed? Create a Backup System,” 7) Relationships: What Did You Just Say? Dealing with Friends, Family, and Others,” 8) “I Want You. I Love You. I’m Sick,” 9) “Have Fun! Cut Your Own Hair and Beets are Awesome,” and 10) “Exploring Complementary Care.” Part three is about “Financial and Legal Matters” and it has three chapters: 1) “Money, Honey: Public and Private Benefits,” 2) “Speaking Up: Advocacy,” 3) You Have Rights: Important Laws That Protect You.” Part four is about “Spiritual Considerations,” and it has three chapters: 1) “Keeping the Faith,” 2) “I Am What I Am: Defining Ourselves,” and 3) “Unexpected Gifts.” The book also has “End Notes” and “References.”

I do not have a chronic illness but my husband does. I bought this book primarily to help me deal with him. He is not the type of person who would read a book like this on his own, but he will listen carefully to my advice…and this book has given me a great deal of sound information I can pass on to him in bits and pieces when the opportunity arises. I am glad I have it on hand.

I can’t say this is a five-star book on the subject because I’ve read no others like it. I can say that it was easy and often enjoyable to read, that it was compassionate, that it offers sound advice, and that there are sections that can serve as a resource when problems arise. ( )
  msbaba | Dec 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
AH YES! The voyage of living with chronic illness. Sounds like a whole bunch of bad JuJu- doesn't it? Joanna Charnas in a short and sweet book is your tour guide. As a credentialed social worker and a person with chronic illness she speaks to those who are likewise afflicted in kind, yet factual terns and shows a path to learning to LIVE WELL - that's all. For those with afflictions this guidance may seem like a "Been there" but there are plenty of AH HA's. How to ask for help (backup) is a tough lession, what about social, family, and legal issues? Charnas has them in this book as well. Had I had access to her guidance after a war injury I am certain I would have fare better. This is a realistic guidebook for those with life-altering afflictions. Even if you've walked her path. It's still got something new for you. Read this book if you're family or a caregiver. Live well - You're not alone! ( )
  difreda | Nov 16, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I think this book can serve both the person who has just been diagnosed with a chronic illness and those men and women who have had some type of chronic illness for years. The book covers everything from making sure you get up to do household work, to emotions such as fear and how to deal with those feelings, to money issues, and advocacy. I found the book particularly refreshing because even though I technically know the things that are written in this book (I have had chronic migraines for years), sometimes you find yourself in a rut and I caught myself doing some of those things Ms. Charnas speaks against. So whether you are a newbie to chronic illness or have been managing it for years, please check this book out. It's a short read and it could be instructional and snap you out of some of those bad habits that have snuck up on you! ( )
  karmabodhi | Nov 2, 2015 |
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Living Well with Chronic Illness is a self-help guide for anyone who has a chronic illness or who knows and cares about someone else who does. The 20 chapters concisely address a comprehensive range of issues including daily routines, relationships, medical and legal services, a joyful life, and much more. In our hectic, information-laden world where the Internet places billions of contradictory facts at our fingertips, the straightforward content of this book is an alternative resource for people who want to feel better and don't want to spend hours searching for answers. The tools inside, presented with compassion, humor, and a wealth of knowledge, are for those who want to apply and enjoy new health-promoting ideas immediately. Living Well with Chronic Illness evolved from the author's personal experience with chronic illness and 26 years as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.… (more)

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