Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking for a good read?

Back in September I received a new book to review, James Patterson’s and Hal Friedman’s Against Medical Advice. James Patterson is best known for his best-selling thrillers. But this book is different. This is a true story of co-author Hal’s son Cory. Cory has Tourette Syndrome. The story spans 12 years of Cory’s life with this syndrome. It begins with his first symptoms shortly before his 5th birthday and ends during the high school years, he is 17.

I knew that Tourette Syndrome involved typically to highly intellectual people who experience involuntary movements and verbalizations, but I had no idea that it could possibly cause such an incredible living hell. I was riveted by Cory’s story. It is told with his permission, from his viewpoint, which made it that much more fascinating. I felt as if I was experiencing his life with him.

I could easily picture the shock, humiliation and fear that would accompany being out of control of your own body. At times it was painful to read about the ways his body would contort repeatedly , sometimes injuring him with torn muscles, broken teeth and falls – yet the contortions continued after the injury causing even more pain.

The strength that Cory has to live day to day with Tourettes is incredible and inspiring. It sure makes my own aches and pains seem ridiculous. Cory is strong but of course the syndrome accompanied with OCD and anxiety takes a toll on him. He doesn’t have many friends and the ones he does have are troubled, he becomes deeply depressed and turns to alcohol and cigarettes to help him cope… his life is unimaginable.

What really struck me while reading this book was not only what life would be like with these illnesses, but also the frustrations of the medical assistance. During the 12 years that the book relays, Cory saw many doctors, specialists, hospitals, rehabs, AND was prescribed over sixty medications. Each one was for trial and error with dosages and combinations with others. Each one had its own side effects and added to the unbelievable discomfort that living in his body was.

It really made me think about all of the students that I’ve had who have been on and off a variety of meds and had to endure the effects as dosages are raised and lowered and combined with others. The medical field can offer so much, but with every body being different… the trials have got to be frustrating and sickening.

I would definitely recommend this book. I read it in a day. It was a page turner with short chapters. Cory’s life is fascinating and inspiring. I was also really inspired by his family and the way they have persevered, supported, and advocated for him. A definite good read!

1 comment:

Karrie said...

Sorry- I'm catching up on your blog... I am going to put this on my "to read" list. Thanks for the recommendation.