The Book of the Week is “Model Patient” by Karen Duffy, published in 2007. In this ebook, Duffy describes her mid to late 1990’s bout with sarcoidosis, a life-threatening illness that is difficult to diagnose.
A prolonged, severe headache was the first symptom. Numerous tests revealed that she had a growing lesion on her brain and spinal cord. This produced numbness and paralysis in various parts of her body, including her limbs. It took months before she saw a doctor who recommended treatment of steroids and chemotherapy. She writes, “I’d lost the playbook to my life. I had no idea what to do.”
Despite the psychological stress brought on by her inability to continue modeling and working as an on-camera reporter for MTV, she did her darndest to remain positive. Fittingly, she happens to have a facial feature known as “risorius of Santorini”– her cheek muscles form a natural smile, without her consciously trying to do so.
Prior to her entertainment career, Duffy had worked as a recreational therapist at a nursing home. Her job was to improve the psychological states of the residents. She continued to try to volunteer once a week there after she got sick.
Read the book to learn other strategies Duffy used to cope with her illness.