Author Archives: Lupus Adventurer

About Lupus Adventurer

Christian Lupus Patient, Advocate and government legal administrator

Hometown Legend, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Hometown Legend

Hometown Legend

This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read.  I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall.  I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.

So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.

I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious!  I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time.  As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.

One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well!  She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too.  (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)

REading

What I hoped it would be

After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs.  I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week.  Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.

This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time.  An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy.  The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.

hometown_new_poster

Available as a 2002 DVD Movie

Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged.  Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism.  He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face.  The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.

This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff.  I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.

The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page.  This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.

This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.

Rating

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Filed under Book to film, Christian, Review, romance

The Lupus Encyclopedia by Donald E. Thomas, M.D.

Lupus Book Review

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book) by Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, was recently released.  Within the astounding 43 chapters is an in-depth and exhaustive discussion of the many facets of lupus.  This book is for lupus patients, but is not a quick read, but between two covers holds a broad library of balanced lupus topics that are worthy of investing some time and study.

There is so much in this book, but where should you start?  Begin in the Preface, where Dr. Thomas sets forth seven specific steps a lupus patient may use right away to get the greatest benefits from his book:

  1. Go to the 3 page Lupus Secrets Checklist in Chapter 44
  2. Read the listed specific chapters Dr. Thomas recommends reading next
  3. Get a copy of your medical records, notes, labs, x-rays, etc.
  4. Skim interesting chapters to find and go back to spend more time on ones that apply most to you
  5. Consult the Patient Resources at the end of the book
  6. Visit Dr. Thomas’ Facebook page and follow him on Twitter for current lupus news
  7. Consider sending an email to Dr. Thomas with suggestions for future editions

After ferreting out reliable lupus information for more than twenty years since my diagnosis in the early 1990s, it really seemed there were few sources of fresh information about Lupus, without going to books and references written for the medical community.  This book provides an understandable reference resource appropriate for patients. Happily, there is great depth and much to learn from reading and referring to this important book!

cc

Check out this new Lupus book!

Dr. Thomas clearly demonstrates his broad understanding of Lupus, and this book should stand the test of time as one of the great books about this complex auto-immune disease.  The first printing of this exhaustive patient reference initially sold out in both hard and soft cover edition at a reduced price through Amazon.com but a few more copies are now available, and more are on the way.  It is also sold at BarnesandNoble.com in both cover styles and as a Nook e-book at the lowest price I have seen online so far.  If other sources are out of stock and you don’t mind paying full list price, purchase it direct from the publisher’s website at John Hopkin’s University Press.

I heartily recommend The Lupus Encyclopedia, and urge you to check it out, too.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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The Strength of Mercy

This looks like a book I would really like to read, from one of the health bloggers that I follow.

adoptingjames

For those of you familiar with All God’s Children International, here is a book that documents its humble origins, written by Jan Beazely, one of the main instruments in getting this mission off the ground.

It’s hard to step out in faith sometimes, but we’re left with no excuse after watching the Beazely family make one faith-filled decision after another, following God’s guidance like stepping stones. The Strength of Mercy is the story of how a girl named Heather took a curious path for her life which lead to the adoption of her sister, and ultimately hundreds of children throughout the world. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“As I look back on what has unfolded during the past several years, I am awed by what god has accomplished. I’ve rediscovered – on an almost daily basis – that when we yield in trusting surrender, we are ushered into…

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Another Look at Harold Fry’s Unplanned Adventure

Book:  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author:  Rachel Joyce

Recommend:  This is a great vicarious read for those who love to walk, talk out loud to themselves and long for the great outdoors.  I takes a common man and shows us his personal struggles in an uncommonly insightful way.  Also, for anyone who cannot tolerate exposure to the sun, this book offers a virtual adventure along side the determined steps of a humble man’s solitary pilgrimage.

Setting out to run a simple errand, Harold Fry takes himself and the reader on a journey he did not chart nor plan for.  Ill shod and unprepared for his spontaneous trip, Harold suddenly summons the inner courage to step outside the known and venture out on a desperate quest he hopes will save a dying friend.  His persistence and plodding progress toward his goal become at times the end in its self, as his self-doubt and uncertainty battle against his desire to finish what he started, and somehow find a way to set his personal world right again.

The map of Harold’s journey

Haunted by the demons of his imperfect past, Harold finds faith and trust in the people he meets to overcome his many fears.  With each step, Harold finds a little more of himself, and learns to accept truths he has long buried and avoided.  He slowly rebuilds a dawning comprehension of primal values he once abandoned in response to the painful events his life.  I found this book especially enjoyable as I walked with Harold through its pages.  I trekked for hours down roads I could never personally walk, borrowing his perspective and the author’s imagination, I shared his steps and the reawakening of his heart and soul.

As a lupus patient, my auto-immunity makes me extremely photosensitive.  Lamenting my own ability to stand or walk in beloved sun light more than ten or fifteen minutes without aggravating my lupus, the idea of taking a much longed-for hike is especially welcome!

I strolled for miles next to Harold down winding paths through the rolling English countryside, and listened with him as he relished the voice each new bird’s song or echoing barking dog heard in the distance.  I shivered with him as the dank night air chilled his bony frame and dampness made him cower in the dark.  I encouraged him as he slogged through the rain, and quietly shouted hurray for him a hundred times over, as he grasped for each new ounce of strength to help him press on just a little bit farther toward his ambitious goal.

I felt as if my presence at his side somehow helped him.  I was the companion who understood his purpose when other companions failed to grasp his intent.  He trusted me with his true thoughts.

Rachel Joyce

Joyce spins her tale with skill, as she helps us understand the inner workings of Harold Fry through his winsome honesty, and artfully and patiently unveils the identity and humanness of the secondary cast of characters and walking companions.  His wife and son, Maureen and David, their neighbor Rex, a host of others, and lastly Harold’s friend that we finally meet at journey’s end, all become real and engaging.  Joyce paints a colorful host of interesting souls who are woven into the tapestry of Mr. Fry’s daunting hiking adventure. Joyce stands a great chance of gaining a stance beside two of my favorite authors, John Hershey and E.B. White.

Setting out to the mail box to post a letter will never be quite the same again!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Filed under general fiction, Review

It’s Your Health: Navigating American Health Care

I am thrilled to welcome LupusAdventurer as a guest blogger on The Obsessive Bookworm. LupusAdventurer approached me with the possibility of guest blogging, especially in the area of nonfiction. She tends to read genres that typically do not appeal to me and so I am thrilled to have someone to help fill some of the gaps on here. Thank you so much for sharing!
~ Jenn (The Book Worm)

Book: It’s Your Health: Navigating American Health Care

Author: Robert D’Antonio, Ph.D.

Recommend:  For most proactive patients with a reasonable working knowledge of the health care system, this book will not add anything and is not worth the price.  For some people who might need a push to take charge of their own medical destiny, this is somewhat useful to suggest how to move from passivity to self-management of personal health care.

This is a short, somewhat useful book, written to encourage patients to become proactive advocates of their own medical care needs, and advises the reader about how to effectively deal with the medical community. Written in easy to read conversational style, is a an understandable highly opinionated discussion of some major health care quality issues for an average patient.

The author gives his perspectives as a Ph.D. with many years of undisclosed type experience in the health care field.  He includes topics about choosing and communicating with physicians, selecting among health insurance options, and navigating diagnosis, second opinions and treatment plans.  He takes a somewhat adversarial stance in his advice about how find and get the best treatment from surgeons, specialists and hospitals, and at times presents very unrealistic expectations about patient communication and access to decision-makers within the health care industry.

The first 50 pages of this 86 page book is narrative, and the remaining half has exhaustive lists of appendices including web page references, state medical licensing boards, and Medicare Part A & B coverage. The author also includes some sample forms for tracking patient prescriptions and a lengthy list of medical conditions to consider in preparing a personal health history.

Written in 2011, between the passage of the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) of 2010 and the recent 2012 Supreme Court decision on the HCRA, it anticipates the effect of the new regulations, without addressing the role future federal and state health insurance exchanges intended by the HCRA may have in patient health insurance purchasing decisions.

All in all, a nominally useful book for a narrow audience.  I recommend picking it up at a library, borrowing it, or purchasing it from the $1 table at a used book store.  If someone gives it to you free, skim it quickly for any benefit you can derive from it.  Pass it on selectively to someone who has no clue how to get the treatment they need, or toss it, but don’t waste shelf space keeping this small print-only volume.

For further information about lupus and healthcare, please visit her blog, ‘Lupus, the Adventure between the Lines.’

Final Rating:

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Filed under Review, non fiction, Healthcare