One of the hardest things about chronic illness is that there’s no end date. You have no idea when, if ever, you’re going to feel better again.
On days when it feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, transformational stories can be powerful tools to keep hope alive. During my sickest periods, I turned to books and movies about epic quests and kick-ass heroines overcoming hardship against all odds to spark my determination. And what’s more motivational than reading true stories about what others have done to overcome illness?
Don’t get me wrong: regaining your former health may not always be possible. No matter how hard you try, your body may not be able to heal itself. And that may be a harsh fact to accept. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your quality of life and reach your own definition of recovery.
So fuel your motivation and determination with these 3 inspirational memoirs about overcoming illness.
Everest Strong: Reaching New Heights with Chronic Illness by Rob Besecker
At the age of 25, former student athlete Rob Besecker ended up in the hospital with life-threatening heart problems. This turned out to be the beginning of many hospital stays, several cardiac diagnoses and multiple heart surgeries.
As his health continued to deteriorate, Rob became depressed. But giving up was not an option. To prove his critics wrong, he decided to set himself an insurmountable goal – or as he calls it, “an exclamation point on my recovery”: hiking the tallest mountain in the world.
Everest Strong is a gripping story about an ordinary guy faced with extraordinary challenges. In this memoir, Rob explores the question what it really means to be strong. How do you keep going when life knocks you down, time and time again? Through his accessible writing style, Besecker takes you on a raw but inspiring adventure going from rock bottom to getting on top of the world – literally.
No matter what your personal Mount Everest is, Everest Strong will make you feel like you can reach any summit if you just keep on climbing.
This Is How I Save My Life by Amy B. Scher
After years of unexplained symptoms, Amy B. Scher is finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. She consults every medical expert in the United States, but there’s no known cure. When Amy learns about a highly experimental treatment in India, she flies across the globe in a last attempt to regain her deteriorating health.
This Is How I Save My Life transports you to the bustling streets of Delhi and into a whole new world of stem cell treatments and maverick doctors. In the spirit of Eat Pray Love, Amy takes us on a physical, emotional and spiritual journey to get her life back.
Amy’s not afraid to use humour and the occasional F-bomb to share her heartwarming story. Although the ‘mind over matter’ message may not resonate with everyone, This Is How I Save My Life will inspire you to believe in miracles even when all hope seems lost.
Cynthia Li was a devoted doctor, loving wife and mother of two when her life’s roughly interrupted by mysterious, debilitating symptoms. But when test after test comes back ‘normal’, Cynthia must rethink everything she learned during years of medical training. Like a medical detective, she decided to rebuild her medical knowledge from the ground up.
Brave New Medicine chronicles Cynthia’s search for the root cause of her illness, as she tries to bridge conventional medicine, ancient healing practices and the body’s innate wisdom.
This candid and moving medical memoir will offer you new perspectives on health. What’s more, Li translates her personal experiences as a patient into 15 practical tips that will help you start your own health journey. Brave New World is a must-read for anyone interested in functional medicine who’s ready to embark their own path to healing.
For more in-depth ideas on how to rebuild your health after long-term illness, make sure you check out ‘How to Create Your Own Action Plan for Recovery’. This step-by-step guide will show you how to design your own custom-built health program – including spoonie-proof ways to put it into practice.
Which true story about overcoming illness has inspired, motivated or move you? I’d love to hear your reading recommendations in the comments!
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