Review – Living Well With Chronic Illness

Living Well With Chronic Illness

Living Well With Chronic Illness

A Practical and Spiritual Guide


Author: Richard Cheu
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN #978-1-4575-1343-5

We are currently inhabiting  a world where people are living longer, and where families tend to be much more spread out geographically than was once the case.  As a result, we are much more apt than at any other time to be facing chronic illness, and facing it largely on our own. Chaplain Richard Cheu  (former neurophysiologist, EMT, and stress management consultant) presents  us with very timely advice on how to handle facing a chronic illness, how to overcome our limitations, and expand our lives through personal transformation.

From the back cover:

Learning that you have a chronic illness can bring on strong feelings of shock, fear, and despair at a time when you need to take action to have the best possible outcome. Don’t let those feelings overwhelm you! This book will help you:

  • Take charge of your emotions and thoughts.
  • Let go of negative emotional baggage that is holding you back.
  • Develop a new perspective and plan for your future.
  • Use your illness for personal transformation.

In his foreword, Samoon Ahmad, M.D. talks about the concepts of mortality and illness, and the fears that surround them .  He notes that only when we come to terms with them can we live our life to the fullest.  He also notes the applicability of the book’s  paradigm of grieving components – termed SARA, they are Shock, Anger, Resistance, and Acceptance.

Cheu has divided the book into four parts:

Part 1 -T he Personal Impact Of A Chronic Illness

Part 2 – Overcome Emotional Hurdles

Part 3 – Find New Meaning In Life

Part 4 – Free Your Spirit

Cheu wrote this book not only for those that are experiencing chronic illness, but for their family, friends, and caretakers.  This is a true reflection of “It takes a village.” He writes in a very straightforward, easy to understand manner, including specific examples from  his own life experience, and that of those who have crossed his path. In several places he has included two examples – one of a patient that could not move beyond their fears/limitations, and one of a patient that could.

Takeaway’s from this book include the need to recognize that life is changing, that we need to let go of excess baggage, to actively work to overcome loneliness, and to recognize tghat to live a full life someone with a chronic illness will need to change their perspective about life. In several places Cheu provides a template for individuals to evaluate their life, see where they need to change, and how they can bring that change about. . Templates include

  • A self-help and fear management plan
  • Steps to defeat despair
  • Ways to overcome loneliness
  • My plan to increase my connections
  • Becoming a volunteer
  • Worksheet for creating your life story

A particularly inuring chapter is the one in which Cheu talks about Mark O’Brien, Stephen Hawking, and Ted Kennedy … about the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

Throughout the book Cheu address each issue from the perspective of balancing  the patient’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual worlds.

I found this to be a wonderful resource … one that many of us may need at some point in time.

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

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