HOW TO BE SICK: A Buddhist Inspired Guide For The Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers ~By Toni Bernhard
My acupuncturist recommended this book to me and I am so pleased that I bought a copy and read it from cover to cover. It was a wonderful companion to reading Your Medical Mind and it brought be some peace, hope and a change of attitude.
Ms. Bernhard was headed out on an adventure with her husband. She left her job as a law professor in California and boarded an airplane to explore and enjoy a short visit in Paris. She arrived in Paris with a viral infection, which has left her ill and fatigued for the last nearly 12 years. She tried to go back to work part time for 2.5 years of her illness and this only aggravated her condition. She had to retire early, she had to change her own lifestyle, and she became almost totally dependent on her husband for her caregiving.
“ This is a major contribution and an immensely wise book” Larry Dossey MD.
As a practicing Buddhist before the onset of her illness, she was disheartened that she could not longer attend retreats and trainings and had to let her husband take over her practice group which met in their home. Buddhism is a lifestyle choice – not a religion – so one needs to practice and continually keep growing and learning. It is this practice and learning that gave her life new meaning and assisted her in writing this book to help others.
She has tried everything from traditional medications, to infectious disease specialists, and every alternative and historic medical opportunity available to her. Bernhard keeps researching and discovering new things to try and is willing to take on insurance agencies in order to get herself healed.
Her chapter on the huge box of non-healing supplements that she has tried and other offerings is quite amazing and that so many folks have been there and done that is not surprising. It is actually a relief to know that one is not alone in the pursuit of recovery.
Bernhard was finally labeled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which she calls a garbage or trash can diagnosis. No one knows how to heal it and it manifests differently in each person. She is left with not being able to take her granddaughter to events, or travel, or often to sit down for holiday dinners with her family. She never knows what she will be able to accomplish each day.
So she decided to make her illness her Buddhist Practice and has been able to find with her attitude change and tools for making those changes some truly joyous times in her life. She can use the Internet to make new friends, because we all know that people are busy and do not have time for those who are ill; they do not want to catch something either. Bernhard has changed feelings of isolation into a study of solitude, which is lovely to read and embrace what she has learned; incorporating these discoveries into one’s own life and experiences.
Her chapter and words about caregivers is a work of art. This disease changed both her life and her husband’s life dramatically and deeply.
“Sometimes the worst thing that happened to you, the thing you think you cannot survive…it’s the thing that makes you better than you used to be.”
This is a quote from dialogue in a novel I just read, but it jumped out at me after reading HOW TO BE SICK. For this is a book about how to change crisis into opportunity and how a person can make their life be their best life ever no matter the circumstances.
The book is grounded in Buddhism and is a remarkable story about one woman’s experience with chronic illness. It is well worth the read and I am sure that everyone knows someone who could benefit from experiencing this book.
Trusting what you get, do you have a recommendation for us of words that helped you heal and be the best that you can be? Looking forward to your comments.
I purchased this book myself and no one or publisher paid me to review this book. If you purchase anything from Amazon (not kindle) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.
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