For me, July also marks the anniversary of “the day,” — the day I went into the hospital with a swollen left calf, unable to walk, unable to stand, without knowing that was only the beginning of my life with an invisible disability. (Twelve years ago this month.)
After I became ill and was finally diagnosed, I went looking — for help, for support, for community — in books. I didn’t find much.
Since then, however, my library has expanded and includes books that speak to my life with an invisible disability. Not necessarily because the author also has an autoimmune disease or chronic pain in her left leg. In fact, the specific details can vary widely, yet it’s the emotions we share. I read these books, and feel understood, and heard, and seen. And when you’re living with a medical condition that isn’t easily understood — by those closest to you and those treating you — that sense of community is huge.
So this week, I’d like to share just a few books in honor of Disability Pride Month and Chronic Disease Awareness Day.
– Bravey by Alexi Pappas. The specifics are very different (she’s an Olympian after all!), but the emotions are similar. My copy is full of sticky notes. (You can check out my blog post, “Trying To Be a Bravey,” by clicking here.)
– The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths edited by Julie Morgenlender. I’m proud to say my essay, “Chronic Contradictions,” is included in this incredible collection. In this anthology “forty-two authors from around the world open up in fifty true stories about their chronic illnesses and their search for answers, poor treatment by doctors, strained relationships with loved ones, self-doubt, and more.” (You can read an earlier blog post written shortly after the anthology was published by clicking here.)
– Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn. I don’t remember how I discovered this book. I just know I felt so lucky to have found it. I have read it more than once, and even wrote the author a fan letter! I highly recommend it. (You can learn more about the book here.)
– The Pretty One by Keah Brown. I found this book at Target and was captivated by the author’s smile and joy that is so evident on the front cover. (I wrote a blog post about Ms. Brown’s book and several of my favorite passages. You can read it here.)
– No Cure For Being Human by Kate Bowler. Incredible writing. Beautiful, profound, and funny too. (This book I read fairly recently, back in April. You can read my blog post, “No Cure For Being Human,” by clicking here.)
Readers, any recommendations? I’d love to hear about books you have read that you think those of us with disabilities and/or chronic diseases would enjoy reading.