Helpful Books ( & Why)

FIBROMYALGIA What you can do about Chronic Pain and Fatigue by Maryam Ehrlich Williamson

This is the first thorough, user-friendly resource that outlines the causes, symptoms and a full range of treatments for a condition that affects up to half a million Australians. Since Fibromyalgia (FM) mimics other illnesses, many people who experience chronic pain and fatique dont know they have FM, or think they have something else.

- How to find the right doctor
- Which medicines and non-drug therapies work best
- The role deep sleep deprivation plays in FM and what you can do to remedy sleep disturbance
- How exercise and nutrition affect FM symptoms
- Massage, meditation and relaxation techniques
- What to look for in detecting and treating FM in children

WHY: When I was first diagnosed with FM in 2006, I decided to buy just 2 books on Fibromyalgia (as I had access to the internet at work & could research in my lunch time & after working hours). This is the book I chose written by a non-medically qualified person. Her web-site is also a good reference guide in a shorter version (of this publication).

And the book I choose written by a medical practitioner was:

FIBROMYALGIA Understanding and getting relief from pain that wont go away by Dr Don L Goldenberg

Don Goldenberg MD is an international authority on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and has published over 150 scientific papers on the subject. He is Chief of Rheumatology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in the United States. Understanding fibromyalgia has become a personal quest since his wife was diagnosed with the disease over 20 years ago.

I am humbled to admit that it took my own wifes illnes to make me appreciate the profound impact of ill-defined disorders such as Fibromyalgia and CFS.

WHY: Apart from his medical qualifications, having a wife with the disease (or should I say syndrome) gives him a personal interest in searching for treatment. There is no greater reason for a quest, than finding a cure for someone you love & care for.


Rachel Remen is one of the most important women of our time. Shes an extraordinary combination of wounded patient and highly skilled physician, an intuitively compassionate healer, who is also a gifted author and dynamic speaker
Kitchen Table Wisdom will give anyone an intimate insight into what genuine healing is all about.
A book of stunning radiance, authenticity, and power. I laughed and cried my way through it, from beginning to endCome share in this extraordinary outpouring of human wisdom.

WHY: This book of short stories has to be one (if not the most) favourite book on my shelf. I have lent & given away several copies. (I have started giving it away because the first copy I lent to someone never came back to me). I have just given away my fourth copy (which I bought some months ago, read the stories for about the 6th or 7th time, & decided to pass on to a special friend once again). And of course, as with many of my well-loved books, its uplifting & has great warmth & charm.

(this is the American title & the cheapest was from

- 108 inspiring stories for welcoming Lifes Difficulties presented in a highly amusing & simple way.

WHY: Ajahn Brahms cockney upbringing gives these simple Buddhist stories the power to uplift & make you laugh out loud. I have read some of this book in the Nuclear Medicine department of my local hospital while hooked up to drips & scanners, while waiting for test results with nervous anxiety, or just reading a chapter to cheer me up before I go to bed. They range from page to several pages in length. First time around, I read the book from cover to cover in one evening, and now often take it with me to re-read & fill in waiting time at doctor/specialist waiting rooms.

A TIME TO HEAL Triumph over Cancer The Therapy of the Future by Beata Bishop

Beata Bishop refused to accept the stark choices of further extensive surgery (or Death) after her malignant melanoma spread into the lymphatic system. She chose instead an alternative treatment, developed by an eminent German physician, the late Dr Max Gerson. His therapy, based on optimum nutrition and thorough detoxification, appealed to her, since it aimed to restore the bodys damaged immune system to the stage where it could destroy the malignancy. Taking her fate in her hands, she spent 2 months at the worlds only Gerson clinic in Mexico, learning the theory and practice of the intensive therapy which she then pursued for eighteen months in London

WHY: I love personal records of courage and determination in disregarding mainstream medical opinion and following the difficult path of alternative or nutritional treatment (which has inspired so much of my own research).

DEAD LUCKY Life after death on Mount Everest by Lincoln Hall
(I also have the DVD which is excellent)

Hall was struck by cerebral oedema high altitude sickness- in the aptly name death zone. Drowsiness quickly became overpowering lethargy, and he collapsed in the snow. Two sherpas spend hours trying to revive him, but as darkness fell he was pronounced dead.

Early the next day, Dan Mazur, an American mountaineering guide, with two clients and a Sherpa, was to find Hall sitting cross-legged on the knife-edged crest of the summit ridge. Halls first words I imagine you are surprised to see me here were a massive understatement.

This Book (& DVD which I later bought after reading the book) are a testament to the power of Buddhist meditation & control of the mind. Miracles DO happen, and this book is the personal story of one of the best (miracles) I have ever read.

Sorry Folks, its 9.30pm & thats my typing for tonight my back pain is getting annoying, so time for some meditation & then bed. Hope some of you enjoyed hearing about some more Helpful Books (& Why)

Victoria :)

Some useful books I've read over the last couple of years.............

THE ART OF GETTING WELL by David Spero R.N. (nurse, journalist & health educator - 12 years with M.S. at the time of writing this book).

- A 5 Step Plan for Maximising Health When you Have a Chronic Illness

1. Put your life before your illness
2. Listen to your body
3. Conserve your energy for healing
4. Change the things that harm you
5. Get the Help you need

WHY (briefly): One of the main reasons I liked this book is that it gave me the confidence to say "no" to social invitaions when I really couldn't cope with the pain/fatigue with family & friends. It also helped me to stop feeling "guilty" for being chronically ill through a lot of 2004 & 2005. David Spero helped me focus on the things that I could do (instead of the things I couldn't) - an important step towards acceptance & moving in a positive direction.


SICK & TIRED OF FEELING SICK & TIRED by Paul J Donoghue, PH.D. & Mary E Siegel, PH. D.

"Offers hope and coping strategies to people who suffer from ICI (invisible chronic illness). Teaches readers how to become aware of their attitiude toward their illness & how to communicate with loved ones & doctors in a way that meets their needs. The Author's understanding makes readers feel they have been heard for the first time."

WHY (briefly): The above paragraph says it all.



Jean Valnet is regarded as the father of essential oil therapy and one of its formost authorities. In this classic manual, he provides detailed evidence for the efficacy of plant medicine - nature's most time-honoured method for treatment of illness and relief from pain.

Dr Valnet makes an impassioned plea for curtailing our use of dangerous chemical therapies and antibiotics, offering demonstrable proof of the vital power of plant medicines to prevent and heal disease and strengthen the immune system.

WHY: Originally written in 1980 & translated into English in 1980, this book is still relevant today, & offers detailed info on plants & essential oils. Also offers case histories which I find very helpful - there nothing like a few successful outcomes to bring some optimism into one's life.


Perhaps others have favourite books they'd like to share......




These look like books that would be very helpful for any of us dealing with a chronic condition.

Thanks for posting them.
Thanks Victoria for this interesting idea,

I like

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge - it gave me hope that through neural plasticity you can do amazing things.

Calming your anxious mind: How Mindfulness And Compassion Can Free You From Anxiety, Fear and Panic - Brantley

I really like how he uses meditational techniques to calm down the body and the mind resulting in healthier feelings and a higher quality life.
Hi Cort,

Your post reminded me that I will have to check out Norman Doidge's book(s).

The name Norman Doidge keeps popping up in recent weeks.

Which is why I like to hear what other CFS/FM/ICI people are reading - it gives some insight on what is out there to read & research. Personal recommendations are helpful when you are just starting out on you chronic illness journey, or like you or Jody or myself, who have been living with chronic illness for many years.

I bought 3 books earlier this year on living with Chronic Invisible Illnesses. A couple of them, although highly reviewed on Amazon, didn't give me much insight or interesting information at all.

Just as well they weren't expensive books.


PS 12/8/09 I have just read the Amazon reviews on Norman Doidge's book the Brain that changes itself which brought to mind...............

When I was around 7, I suddenly & for no obvious reason, lost my normal eyesight. I have been extremely shortsighted since that age. Around that time, my body changed from normal relatively rounded appearance to that of a starving child from a third world country. You could count all my ribs & hip bones were very prominent. Other people thought my Mother never fed me or that I was very sick. My brothers & parents didn't change appearance (although my Father has always been skinny). I am now losing my hearing (& my eyesight is dramatically getting worse - I have bi-focal contact lenses).
I have discovered that I can see remarkably well at night & often lip read. I also have incredibly sensitive fingers & can feel the tiniest changes in surface & temperature. I also have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell (apart from the CMS problems recently acquired).

When I studied aromatherapy, people noticed my massages were different to the rest of the class. Some sort of energy seemed to flow at the touch of my hands. One person commented that it was like a small electrical current.


So, did these physical changes when I was 7 years old alter my other senses?

I'll be keen to read the book, Cort, & learn some more about the brain's ability to change & adapt.

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