Published in InterAction 80, Summer 2012
We asked people with M.E. about their favourite books, from self-help guides to uplifting true stories.
The huge choice of books available about living with M.E. can offer a bewildering choice, especially if you have only recently been diagnosed. The first book Glen Buchanan bought after finding out he had M.E. was Fighting fatigue by Sue Pemberton and Catherine Berry, both healthcare professionals at the Leeds NHS M.E. service.
“It was a good place to start as it’s not too long and I loved the fact it is broken down into very manageable chunks rather than huge long chapters,” says Glen. “The language is straightforward and happily lacking in jargon – great for newbies!
“They even place a star icon at the end of each chunk to prompt you to stop and take in the information – really helpful when you’re feeling rough as can be, concentration is bad and there is a lot of stuff to take in and learn. The text is bigger than normal books which I found made it easier to read when feeling worn out and focusing on tiny print is not so easy.
“This one does not go into the science, symptoms or controversy of the illness – it simply offers a practical, step-by-step guide to implementing new strategies to improve your condition.”
Glen also recommends Charles Shepherd’s Living with M.E. “It’s incredibly thorough and detailed – if a little scientifically heavy-going. I think it will be helpful as a handbook to refer to when I need to look up something specific – although I hope to get rid of the book as soon as I get rid of the illness.”
His third recommended M.E. read is Dr Anne MacIntyre’s M.E. CFS a practical guide.
Alayne Costello says, “I second Anne MacIntyre’s book. I bought it nine years ago when I first became unwell and it answered so many questions that my GP couldn’t. I bought Fighting fatigue more recently and would also recommend it.”
Jeanette also found Dr Anne MacIntyre’s guide to be “an excellent self-help book, full of explanations and ideas.” She had recommendations for other books that, though not specifically about M.E., contained useful advice, including The food allergy book by William Walsh and New glucose revolution by Leeds Brand Miller, recommended by her allergy specialist. The money diet by Martin Lewis offers useful independent financial know-how though some points, she says, should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Jeanette has been inspired by the late Jane Tomlinson’s The luxury of time, documenting the author’s fight against terminal breast cancer, and Dr Gail Feldman’s Taking advantage of adversity, “an invaluable book about courage and denial.”
Ed Lewisohn’s top two M.E. reads are Missed diagnoses by Byron Hyde and Caring for the M.E. patient by Jodi Bassett, which he describes as “easily the best all-round guide to M.E.”
Gill Hargrove enjoyed reading Why me? by Alex Howard, founder of the Optimum Health Clinic.
Lester Gellman told us: “In reference to the articles on pain management the book Stop pain: inflammation relief for an active life by Vijay Vad could be helpful to readers. While only briefly mentioning CFS, fibromyalgia is covered in great depths.”
Lester has also enjoyed Butterfly Tai Chi: health, energy and tranquility in 10 minutes a day by Martin Faulks and Michael Murray’s well-researched investigation of the pharmaceutical industry, What the drug companies don’t tell you and your doctor doesn’t know.
He recommends Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne’s Food is better medicine than drugs. “It covers many of the symptoms we all suffer from, including depression, memory loss, pain, anxiety and insomnia,” he says. “And it describes how long- term use of prescribed medication can be dangerous to our health and less effective than the use of healthy foods and supplements.”
Finally, a word of advice from Glen: “If money is blooming tight due to being unable to work, then seek out bargains on eBay or Amazon. I managed to buy Dr MacIntyre’s book from Amazon for £2.65 including postage as it’s an ex-library copy but looks like new. The website gives a clear indication of the book’s condition so don’t be put off by second-hand ones.”
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Do you have any books to recommend to other people with M.E.? Let us know by post or email.
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