Tag Archives: true story

Cerebral Palsy: ‘A Story’ Finding the Calm After the Storm by Ilana Estelle (Book Review)

 
Living with cerebral palsy is enormously difficult. But what if you never knew you had it? This is the incredible story of Ilana Stankler.

Born the second of premature twins, from a young age Ilana knew she was different, but for all the wrong reasons. A child of the 60s, Ilana experienced first-hand the way that disability was so often brushed under the carpet and not spoken about. Her constant physical and mental struggles made her feel isolated, alone, frustrated, and misunderstood… it took 46 years for her to find out why.

Part memoir, part motivational guide, Cerebral Palsy: A Story is Ilana’s open and honest journey from an angry, confused child, knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what, to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, positivity, resilience and change. 

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm After the Storm informed me about 11 secondary conditions connected to CP (cerebral palsy). The memoir also gave me facts that escaped me until now. For example, 800,000 individuals have CP, and 10,000 people are born with it each year. Ilana Estelle also explained how the brain is affected in those with cerebral palsy. There are physical limitations. People also face emotional and mental roadblocks. 


She went in-depth on how emotional stress can affect a CP’s immunity. A positive attitude, surrounding yourself with positive people is vital for a CP person’s overall health. Ilana Estelle gave examples of how to achieve a happy mind, cope with stress, and live a healthier life. 


There were many sections in Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm that could apply to those not living with CP: foods to maintain good high blood pressure, foods that alleviate arthritis pain, and parenting tips. At times, these areas seemed to deter away from the topic at hand—cerebral palsy. While I appreciate the extra health tips and her parenting advice, I wanted more about her journey in life with CP. 


Ilana Estelle discussed the misdiagnosis at the age of 2 (2.5). She spoke of the lack of family support  (often) and felt guilty and depressed about failing in life. She also emphasized what she learned in the process. 

  • know your limitations
  • ask for help
  • gain knowledge about your condition

To parents, she stressed having a sit-down and make sure all siblings are aware that people with CP need patience, understanding, compassion, and assistance. 


While Ilana Estelle has struggled in life and will as she continues her journey in this world, I’m pleased to see she’s not bitter or angry over what’s occurred in the past. She’s working hard to achieve a happy mind. Peaceful soul. 


You can’t change the past, but your actions today can pave the road for a better tomorrow. 

 
 
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Meet the Author:
Picture

 
Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.

That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experience that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with an inspiring message advocating resilience and change.

Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and well being. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing to tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside. Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.

Connect with the author: 
website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ pinterest ~ goodreads

 
 

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Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists by Christine Shields Corrigan (Book Review)

 

A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.

With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from
 iRead Book Tours 
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Christine Shields Corrigan refers to cancer as the Beast; I think of it as more as the bogeyman no one wants to face. Just uttering the word cancer strikes fear in the minds of anyone, regardless of age. And Christine was correct when she stated in Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists— “Cancer is an equal opportunity disease. No one is immune, and we’re all the same when it hits.”

I’ve never faced the Beast or the bogeyman; therefore, I didn’t realize how many side effects there were to the chemo drugs. I was aware of the hair loss and memory issues, but the vast number of other side effects astounded me. I couldn’t imagine walking a mile, let alone an inch, in Christine’s shoes — any cancer patient’s shoes for that matter. The physical, emotional, and psychological toll it takes on a person seems almost too much to bear. 

For those facing the Beast, I encourage you to read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. Christine shares tips on what helped her cope with specific side effects of the treatments. She also included resources for books, bras (after reconstruction), tattoo artists, and much more.  

If you are a friend or family member facing the evil C-word, you should read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. It will give you great insight into what your loved one is facing or will be facing. 

 
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Heart Rating System:
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Score: ❤❤❤
 
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Meet the Author: 
Christine Shields Corrigan is a two-time cancer survivor, wife, mom, and author of Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists . In addition to Again , Chris has published a number of lyrical and practical essays where she gives voice to the beautiful ordinary. Her work about family, illness, writing, and resilient survivorship has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and other publications including, The Brevity Blog, Grown & Flown, Horn Pond Review, The Potato Soup Journal and Anthology, Purple Clover, Ravishly.com, Wildfire Magazine, and the Writer’s Circle 2 Anthology.

Chris’ essay, “Not Back to But Forward,” about how her cancer experiences helped her cope with COVID-19 is included in (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic (edited by Joanell Serra and Amy Roost), an anthology that draws together the stories of 52 women across the US during the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2021). A graduate of Manhattan College and Fordham University School of Law, Chris built a successful career as a labor and employment law attorney and as a legal writer and editor. After surviving cancer in midlife, Chris became a freelance writer. She also teaches creative nonfiction writing for an adult education program, provides writing workshops for cancer support groups, and is the chair of the programming committee of the Morristown Festival of Books. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ instagram
 

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The Many Personalities of Me by Miss Yael Gottesman aka Bailey Gee (Book Review)

Comprised of poems hand chosen by the author, The Many Personalities of Me tells a story of struggle, triumph, heartache and above all perseverance. Stories and poems based on first hand experience from my every day life living with mental illness.

Contents:

Stranger in the Mirror
Footsteps in Reflection
The Loneliness Pandemic
Bigger than Life
Because of You
An Ativan, an Invisibility cloak and my thoughts …..
Jekyll and Hyde
Blade of Glory
A Different Kind of Drought
Lost
Tired
Faded Memories
People ask me
2012
She wonders
Today I went to a funeral
Cross my heart
New blood

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Miss Yael Gottesman (Bailey Gee) opened her soul up when she wrote The Many Personalities of Me. Through her poetry, she shared what it’s like to live with an abuser and mental illness. 

As a person living with her own set of mental demons, several poems moved me drastically: “Stranger in the Mirror,” “Tired,” “Lost,” and “An Ativan, an Invisibility cloak and my thoughts.”

A few touched so close to home that they were painful to read—those involved cutting. Example: “Blade of Glory” 

I know for a lot of people they get great comfort in knowing they are not alone, that other people have gone or are going through the same situations as them. For me, it makes me face things I have worked hard to bury. I know I’m not taking the healthiest route, but it’s kept me moving forward for over 3 decades (the decades I realized I was different). 

I do commend Miss Yael Gottesman (Bailey Gee) on expressing her emotions, all her struggles. I do hope she keeps moving forward and never finds herself in another toxic relationship or situation. She has shown a great deal of strength, so I have complete faith she will find her happiness one day. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 1/2

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Bailey Gee is a graduate of her local colleges creative writing program, and has since published two books. She has a special interest in writing poetry, which tells a story about her life experiences living with mental health issues. Her books are a prime example of perseverance and strength, and is a reminder to anyone going through similar situations, that they’re not alone. Bailey is currently working on her third book of poetry to be released later this year.

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