Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Synopsis: Lupus Novice: Toward Self-Healing

Okay, just got done reading another lupus memoir:

Lupus Novice: Toward Self-Healing
by Laura Chester
original copyright 1987; 3rd edition 1999

How strange that I spent my first 17 years dealing with lupus having no idea that there was even *one* lupus memoir out there, and now in the course of a few weeks, i've read 2. And both books were out there in the world the entire time. Well, there was no internet when I first started my search for answers. And now, thanks to, it's very easy to find a book (or 2 - or 3 - or 10) on just about anything now.

This author's lupus first showed up as discoid (skin) and progressed to involved joints and fatigue. She was married and had children at the time of onset. Her writing is very descriptive, poetic at times. Sometimes I'm a little uncomfortable with the level of personal detail- I feel like I'm reading someone's diary!- but I suppose that's how a memoir is supposed to be written. She is a writer by profession, both before and after the publication of this book. I actually prefer to read memoirs by people who are not professional writers, because it feels more like a conversation and less like a work of art. But maybe I'm just a lazy reader.

Writing style preference aside, this book is intriguing and important. Like the first memoir I read, Heartsearch, this author also searches the depths of her soul for any emotional poisons that may be at the least, inhibiting her healing, or at worst, actually causing her illness.

Like me, Laura resisted prednisone for months, trying various other medications and natural remedies first, until she was worn down into submission.

Laura uses some things I'm familiar with, such as juicing, detoxification, massage, coffee enemas, homeopathy, faith healing, yoga, bach flower remedies, prayer, affirmation, writing, talk therapy (and of course prednisone and placquenil; and stress and sun avoidance), but also some things I've never heard of, despite the fact that they've been around for decades: Certain teas, Eurythmy and anthroposophic healing.

Well it took me 17 years to find her book, so clearly I'm not at the hub of "breaking alternative medicine for lupus news."

Interesting note: both this author and the author of Heartsearch used and benefitted greatly from anthroposophic healing. I'm intrigued!

The anthroposophic approach, pioneered by the late Austrian, Rudolph Steiner, is about soul struggle, and resolving that. Well, who couldn't use that, even if they don't have lupus? It seems to be really hard work, but well worth it, and it seems that if you can lift the burden of inner conflict from yourself, it's much easier to heal physically. Maybe there is some truth to the claim of my friend Rosemarie, who says "All illness starts on an energetic level. By the time it manifests physically, it's a metaphor."

Or maybe a physical illness is just a physical illness and easing yourself of the stress of negative emotions allows you to heal. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. We do know you can't really separate mind and body. They are intertwined. When you do something good for the body, you feel better emotionally and vice versa.

Back to the memoir: While the author admits that her case of lupus was not as severe as many, she does state in this, the 3rd edition that she has been relatively free of lupus symptoms (except for skin eruptions from overexposure to the sun) and off the meds for 20 years. This is very good news and reason for all of us to hope for and work for a life off the meds and free from the big bad wolf.

I've veered from my stated mission, "Lupus and humor"- If you're looking for humor, read the oldest posts.
I'm just presently on a search for more and deeper answers.

Coming soon: my thoughts on:
Healing Lupus: Steps in a Personal Journey by Waverly Evans
This one is a workbook, so it may take me a while to have any useful comments to offer. But it is important to note that the author also encourages deep emotional work and claims "I do not have lupus anymore." Now that's the kinda news I'm looking to hear.