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guide to published resources
Faces of CFS
By David S. Bell, MD. Self-published, $5, 103 pp. Review by
Joan S. Livingston (PWC)
"Where does self end and illness begin?
When we are [chronically ill], what part of our personality is really our own,
and [which is] shaped or even created by disease?" - from "Faces of CFS"
Dr. David Bell's latest book is a
fascinating read. Beginning with an introduction on the Lyndonville, N.Y.
outbreak that transformed Bell into one of the world's leading experts on CFIDS,
the book provides his views on numerous aspects of the illness.
More quilt than tapestry, the book's 10
chapters on 10 different patients - the "faces" from the title - cover what Bell
calls the "defining principles" of CFIDS. Highly readable, "Faces" is written in
Bell's informal, often humorous personal voice. Each chapter deals with a
different topic, from tales of disability "spies" to treatments both
conventional and unusual (ever tried rubbing poison ivy on your arm?). It also
touches on symptoms ranging from panic attacks to myoclonus.
The book's stories often raise as many
questions as they answer; what is it, for example, about the immune system that
makes poison ivy suppress CFIDS symptoms? Faces is a compelling,
thought-provoking learning experience for all PWCs and, ideally, their
To purchase, add $2 for shipping and
handling and send checks to David S. Bell, P.O. Box 335, Lyndonville, NY 14098.
Chronic Illness Workbook: Strategies and Solutions for Taking Back Your Life
By Patricia A. Fennell, MSW, CSW-R 2001, New Harbinger
Publications, Inc. $16.95, 239 pp. Review by Joan E. Simms (PWC)
"The Chronic Illness Workbook" would be
most helpful to people who have recently been diagnosed with chronic illness, as
well as their family members and friends. It explains how to cope with health
problems, such as CFIDS, for which there are no remedies.
This guide is a valuable resource for
understanding how chronic illness sufferers can meet the challenges of daily
living. For the individual, it is a vast do-it-yourself encyclopedia of
knowledge usually obtained from many long months of rehabilitation therapy. This
is invaluable for people without insurance that covers therapy, or those who
lack the energy to engage in therapy.
The vocabulary is easily understood by a
lay person. Individuals with cognitive difficulty may have problems with some of
the long paragraphs, however.
There is an insightful discussion about
alternative vs. standard (allopathic) medical care. This includes many topics on
alternative therapies and how to know when to look for another medical doctor.
Among the topics discussed in the "Life
Transitions" section are marriage, childbirth, moving, accidents and surgery.
Work, retirement and college are considered under "Special Situations."
Fennell outlines four phases of chronic
illness in the book, and offers strategies for coping with each phase. The goal
in phase one is to "contain the crisis," while phase four covers how to
"integrate your illness into a whole and meaningful life." Following the phases
is a section of "Suggested Readings."
This is a very thorough and comprehensive
book written by a highly regarded professional. It is well worth the