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Posts Tagged ‘book review’

courtesy of the Binghamton News

courtesy of the Birmingham News

Lynne Greenberg has done an amazing job writing about her relationship with chronic pain! My words can not do it justice. Lynne uses poetry to convey the emotion and the metaphors connected to her life with pain. Milton’s Paradise Lost is apt.

Her paradise lost was a promising career as a professor of English (17th century poetry is her passion) at Hunter College, a devoted husband and two children, and a host of friends. Then one day in August 2006 the Headache appeared and has not left. I was hoping for a resolution, some treatment that would remove her pain, or at least relieve it. Now, this is not to be, but she has learned to live with pain and re-enter life.

One lesson she learned is pacing. No, not the frenetic movements accompanying my trying to outrun a Migraine. Instead, it is slowing down enough to manage it. Poet T. S. Eliot describes it as”measuring out my life with coffee spoons” (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock). What seems like a particularly dull life contains a lesson. Pace myself. I only have so many coffee spoons. Learn to say, no; take a break; slow down. All these can seem so simple to a healthy person, but to one coping with chronic pain, they represent tough choices and sacrifices. It is a necessity, not an option.

The book is an easy read, which may tempt readers to rush through it. I caution you to resist that temptation. Take it slowly; savor each chapter; let the lessons pain teaches become part of your life.

Grace,

Debbie

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I’m participating in a Virtual Book Tour with other popular bloggers to bring attention to this important new book: Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend! Along with the other bloggers, I will be interviewing the author and bringing attention to this important issue. Join us Nov. 3 – Nov. 24. I will be interviewing Rosalind.

My post will include a give-away. I will be giving a copy of her book to the person who can best answer the question: What is your biggest challenge at work and how would reading this book assist in solving that problem? Rosalind and I will select the winner. The deadline is December 4th (wow, where did the time go?).

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Dr. William Young and Dr. Stephen Silberstein are two of the many headache specialists who have furthered our understanding of migraine disease. I would classify their book, Migraines and Other Headaches (2004), as one of the “must haves” for migraine sufferers. It is a perfect introduction to the topic of migraine disease so it could easily be a “first read” for migraineurs. There is enough new material so even well read migraineurs will benefit from reading this book. Eucation about migraine disease and the necessity in having a strong patient-doctor team are two threads that are carried throughout the book.

“It is important to realize the difference between a headache cause and a headache trigger. Among other things, stress and weather changes can trigger a [migraine] headache….A brain tumor, a high fever or head trauma can cause a headache” (p. 19).

Usually well-meaning friends and family pinpoint certain foods as causing migraines. I am sure most of you have heard something along this line, “My husband’s second cousin’s wife had migraines and ever since she stopped eating chicken (beef, pork, chocoloate, brocolli, seafood) her headaches have stopped.” The authors make it clear that foods are NOT a cause of migraine, but they can be triggers. However, they were not as clear about other factors.

The scenario they chose to illustrate the difference between causes and triggers was less than helpful. They introduced a migraineur with easily treatable migraines who developed a change in her migraine pattern and a new headache. The change was caused by a herniated disk that, when corrected, reverted her to the previous migraine pattern. The authors did not make it clear that the herniated disk triggered more severe migraines and caused the new head and neck pain. They failed to emphasize that even after the herniation was corrected that the woman still had migraines and that, it could not be the cause of her migraine attacks. A less than careful reader may decided that migraines are caused by herniated disks. While that may be obviously not the case (not all migraineurs have herniated disks), I have had more than one person tell me that my migraines are caused by the problems in my neck.

Some readers may consider this to be a minor point, but my biggest battle is in explaning the difference and that, because there is no one discernable cause, migraine has no cure. There is no silver bullet.




“Headache treatment should be a two-way street, with the patient contributing a goal and desires about his headache mangagement, the physician contributing her knowledge and values, and the final plan incorporating both perspectives.” (p. 45)

Balance, give and take, progress and regress are all a part of living with migraine. Nowhere is this more evident that in the doctor-patient relationship. The authors encourage open communication about goals and expected outcomes. Migraineurs are encouraged to share their experiences, expectations, and goals with their caregivers. Physicians have the responsibility of educating their patients, letting them know what is known and not known about migraine. They need to let their patients know what is a reasonable treatment outcome. Young and Silberstein equally encourage patients to have reasonable and acheivable goals. Migraine is complex and treatment is often individualized. It takes time to acheive proper migraine managementPatients have the responsibility in making some lifestlye changes.

I found this book to be a useful resource, but I also have one more concern. There are no citations or references. I was disappointed not to have a reference for “… an important study conducted to help doctors determine what strategy to use in selecting treatments…compared two strategies of care: sequential care and stratified care” (p. 89). I would like to read the study and its outcome. It may become helpful in determining which would be most helpful for me.

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