September is Dystonia Awareness month so it seems fitting to review 3 books about the condition. This post originally appeared on blog Books, Tea and Snuggly Socks
When I was first diagnosed, as a bookworm, my instinct was to find a book so I could find out more about this neurological condition. Google is great for many things but I needed words from people with the condition, to understand more and learn how to live with it. To my dismay, there were textbooks with prices beyond my bank balance but no sign of the books I craved, despite the condition being the third most common movement disorder and it affects at least 70, 000 people in the UK. Roll on a few years I have found these.
A Twisted Fate My Life with Dystonia by Brenda Currey Lewis
I stumbled across A Twisted Fate on Twitter and I am so glad I did. It has become one of my firm favourites in my Kindle library.
Written to spread much needed awareness of dystonia, Brenda Currey Lewis gives an honest, down to earth account of her life with generalised dystonia which began in childhood as well as a clear overview on what dystonia is. Her story gives an insight into life with the condition and shows how dystonia affects all parts of life including the lives of those around you. There were so many times I could relate to her experiences and I am glad my dystonia waited until I was older to surface in the 2000s. The writing style allows her strong character to come through and I imagine she would be amazing to talk to over a cup of tea.
I would recommend this easy to read, enlightening book to everyone who wants to find out more about the condition.
Diagnosis Dystonia by Tom Seaman
This was the book I wished I had found as I wobbled out of my neurologist’s room with a diagnosis. Diagnosis Dystonia covers a range of topics a newly diagnosed person needs to know, as well as information for those who have had the condition for a while. It is a book which is obviously written with care and consideration of what the reader will need. Part memoir, describing his own journey with cervical dystonia and part guide to this condition, it delves into the physical and emotional side as well as different types, treatments, daily living and gaining support from others. Tom Seaman has written a book that gives an insight into the condition and shows ways to live with dystonia. It tells you there will be bad days but there are ways forward, to adapt and live your life. I have a rare form of dystonia (DRD) and there are parts that are not relevant but it doesn’t matter. There is something for everyone in this book. It can be read from cover to cover or dipped into when required. If I had this book when my own wobbly journey began it will look well-read with it opening naturally at certain chapters by now.
For those with the condition, it is a book of hope, determination and gives an insight into the world of dystonia so you can help yourself be your own advocate. For others, it gives you an awareness of the condition with all its ups and downs so you gain an understanding of the condition and support people may need.
Tom Seaman works hard to spread awareness via his blog
Misdiagnosed by Jean Sharon Abbott
I have a rare form of dystonia – dopa responsive dystonia (DRD) which affects approx 1 in 2 million people. I have followed Jean Sharon Abbott on her blog Jean Sharon Abbott as she documents her life with this condition. I was excited to discover she was writing her memoir.
Misdiagnosed follows her life from childhood with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy to when she was given the correct diagnosis of DRD. Unlike some dystonias, DRD can be treated with a drug commonly given to those with Parkinson’s disease. This small, yellow pill has the ability to transform lives. It can be the difference between being in a wheelchair to climbing mountains. This positive book shows her strength and determination, the ups and downs of living with dystonia and appreciating the small things in life many people overlook. It also highlights the need for awareness of dystonia so correct diagnosis can be given.
Jean Sharon Abbott’s has appeared on TV shows, written about in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Since her story has been told, others have been given the correct diagnosis so they are also living a life they never thought they would.
The Dystonia Society UK
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
Michael J Fox Foundation