Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review: 'Unexpected Blessings' Packed with Humor, Inspiring Lessons

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I recently had the fortune of reading a powerful little book called Unexpected Blessings: Finding Hope & Healing in the Face of Illness by Roxanne Black.

Black founded Friends' Health Connection, a unique organization that matches chronically ill people with others going through similar experiences. Before the days of the Internet gave us so many opportunities, this kind of service was invaluable to people desperate for support and friendship. Today FHC also
coordinates educational and motivational programs on a variety of topics of interest to people managing health problems.

The book's format is a series of short vignettes, each illustrating a special point about what Black has learned through her 20 year journey living with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder. One minute she was a 15 year old high school student with her life in front of her. The next she was introduced to the scary world of doctors, tests, medication, hospitals, surgeries and, eventually, organ transplants.

Black is a lovely writer, and her stories are profound in their simplicity. They are often deeply personal. She talks candidly about what lupus took from her and how she grieved those losses. She doesn't sugar coat the difficulty of coping with having your entire life uprooted by illness.

But Black doesn't leave you wondering how to get to the other side. She describes how she gave her life purpose through Friends' Health Connection and by reaching out toward all the goals she could still pursue regardless of the way her disease affected her body.

Her story is inspirational, comforting, funny and memorable. Her lessons will sink in and stay with you long after you've finished reading about them. Please get this book today and read it. It's that good!

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