Over a million Americans live with MS—a debilitating and widely varying neurological disease which comes in many forms and progresses in different people at widely different rates. In this absorbing and truly exceptional book, Dr. Brandon Beaber, a neurologist who works with patients with MS, explores the concept of developing resilience and overcoming adversity using MS as his focus. The book intersperses case histories from special patients Dr. Beaber has met or treated over the years with information on the biology and science of MS. Through these case histories, Dr. Beaber analyzes how these patients coped with their disease and how they have continued to live life and adapt as their circumstances change and their disease waxes and wanes.
If there is a single word to describe this book, I would pick “graceful.” In his explanations of MS as a condition/disease, Dr. Beaber manages to gracefully and artfully toe the line between never getting overly bogged down in medical jargon or mundane details and not talking down to the reader. Too, in describing his patients and their lives, Dr. Beaber manages to convey reality while always maintaining empathy and compassion and showing just how well human beings can cope with challenges. For someone newly diagnosed with MS, I could see this book being incredibly comforting.
This should not be dismissed as “just” a book on MS, however. While Dr. Beaber uses MS as his focus, the lessons in his book about overcoming adversity and developing the flexibility to deal with life’s obstacles could be applied to just about any of the hardships life throws at us. Anyone who lives with or cares for someone with any chronic disorder will find useful lessons, and occasionally even inspiration, in this humane and compassionate book. But, to paraphrase, as Viktor Frankel, “suffering eventually finds us all,” and truly, everyone should read this book and absorb its lessons.
Highly recommended. Thank you to the author for providing me with an advanced copy that I will keep on my shelf and refer to for years to come.