Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties [NOOK Book]


Twenty-seven-year-old Laurie Edwards is one of 125 million Americans who
have a chronic illness, in her case a rare genetic respiratory disease.
Because of medical advances in the treatment of serious ...
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Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties

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Twenty-seven-year-old Laurie Edwards is one of 125 million Americans who
have a chronic illness, in her case a rare genetic respiratory disease.
Because of medical advances in the treatment of serious childhood
diseases, 600,000 chronically ill teens enter adulthood every year who
decades ago would not have survived-they and people diagnosed in
adulthood face the same challenges of college, career, and starting a
family as others in their twenties and thirties, but with the added
circumstance of having chronic illness.
Life Disrupted is a
personal and unflinching guide to living well with a chronic illness:
managing your own health care without letting it take over your life,
dealing with difficult doctors and frequent hospitalizations, having a
productive and satisfying career that accommodates your health needs,
and nurturing friendships and a loving, committed relationship
regardless of recurring health problems. Laurie Edwards also addresses
the particular needs of people who have more than one chronic illness or
who are among the twenty-five million Americans with a rare disorder.
She shares her own story and the experiences of others with chronic
illness, as well as advice from life coaches, employment specialists,
and health professionals.
Reading Life Disrupted is like having a best friend and mentor who truly does know what you're going through.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Although illness memoirs and recovery books saturate the market, this one makes a contribution to the literature with its voice of a young woman dealing with a lifetime of chronic illness. Edwards, who is 27 and manages bronchiectasis, thyroid disease, and celiac disease, among other conditions, ably describes the realities of people living longer with chronic (often rare) illnesses. She strikes an appropriate tone so that her suffering comes across without becoming the focus. Instead, using her own life story, Edwards shares practical advice about going to college, looking for a job, finding a partner, and deciding whether to have children, all the while juggling demanding health issues. Her comments about the financial aspects of her illness are timely considering the current interest in universal health care. Order this gem pronto to round out your consumer health collections.
—Fran Mentch

From the Publisher
“Eloquent and funny. If you’ve experienced chronic illness, or if you care for someone who has, you need to read this book.”—Amy Tenderich, coauthor of Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes (

“Chronic illness needn’t change your life for the worse if you let Laurie be your guide to everything from doctors to dating to why we sweat the small stuff (because sometimes that’s all we feel we can control). Laurie Edwards is a compassionate confidante, an understanding friend, and a witty chronicler of all things chronic illness, even the not-so-pretty parts. Bravo!”—Susan Milstrey Wells, author of A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness

“As a person living with a chronic illness, it is inspiring to hear such a fresh and important voice. Laurie Edwards puts adversity in its place and teaches us to not only go on living, but to create a better life. High five, sister!”—Kris Carr, author of Crazy, Sexy, Cancer

“For those young people suffering from chronic illness, Life Disrupted offers strategy, advice, and hope. For those of us lucky enough to grow up without illness, it tells us how to be respectfully helpful to friends, family, and colleagues in this situation. Superb and engaging writing.”—Paul F. Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston and founder of

“A wise and valuable addition to the literature on chronic illness, illuminating with verve and wit the particular struggles faced by young adults. Ms. Edwards is a delightful and seasoned guide. She knows what the issues are, how to decipher them, and how to live a rich life while shuttling between hospitals and high heels.”—Dorothy Wall, author of Encounters with the Invisible: Unseen Illness, Controversy, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

“Laurie Edwards is a generous writer who describes with grace and clarity how she has learned to live with multiple chronic conditions. This book is a gift to young people who are navigating chronic illness, school, and their new adulthood all at once.”—Jessie Gruman, author of AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You—Or Someone You Love—a Devastating Diagnosis

“Laurie Edwards is a life-enhancing writer. If you’re a person with chronic illness, you should always keep this wonderful book handy.”—Sarah M. Whitman, M.D., psychiatrist specializing in chronic pain management (www.howtocopewith

“Laurie Edwards has written a moving and meaningful description of the issues that people face when they live with unpredictable and debilitating disease. Her words reminded me of my own struggles—and her laughter helped me remember the good times, too.”—Rosalind Joffe, author of Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend! and president of Chronic Illness Coach

“Both a practical and a philosophical guide for those navigating this heretofore uncharted territory.”—Lynn Royster, J.D., Ph.D., director of The Chronic Illness Initiative at The School for New Learning at DePaul University

Life Disrupted is moving and often humorous, as Laurie Edwards informs readers about how they can navigate successfully through the medical storms, live well, and maintain fulfilling relationships.”—Douglas Whynott, author of Giant Bluefin and A Country Practice

“The time for patient empowerment has come and Laurie Edwards’ voice is leading the way. As a fellow lifelong patient, I appreciate her honesty in disclosing private patient moments which reflect the often unspoken truth of living with chronic illness.”—Tiffany Christensen, author of Sick Girl Speaks!: Lessons and Ponderings Along the Road to Acceptance (

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802779731
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 804,306
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Laurie Edwards holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She teaches a writing course designed for students of the health professional at Northeastern University. Her essays and articles have been published in the Boston Globe Magazine,, and, and on her blog, She currently is developing a creative writing program for chronically ill children at Children's Hospital Boston, for which she was recently awarded a Teachers as Writers Fellowship from the prestigious Calderwood Writing Initiative at the Boston Athenaeum. This is her first book.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    I've waiting for such an informative, updated, & though nove

    I've waiting for such an informative, updated, & though novel, with just the right words, humor, & that lean-on-your shoulder moments. I am eager to go beyond what my Nook's Sample teased
    me with. What a great person for her truth, wit, & knowlege that can make some Proff. rethink how they're Patient/Dr.Relationship. This novel has already made an impact! Good Work, take a Bow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must-Read for Those With Illness of Any Age

    I have read many books on how to cope or live successfully with a chronic illness, and as the founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, I am eager to read the ones that specifically address the emotions behind an illness, not just the illness facts. Even some of the best books, however, don't resonate with me in a personal way. And then I read Laurie Edwards "Life Disrupted: Getting Real about Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties."

    Not only did I discover a gifted writer who discussed everything from humanizing hospitals to difficult diagnoses, but also one understood the emotional roller coaster that I've personally been on since being diagnosed with an invisible illness.

    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of twenty-four, and ironically, I Laurie's book was published the year that I turned forty. I wish I'd had this book years ago, but the impact the content had on me was not diminished in any way because of my age. I believe I related to the book even more, since I have already experienced so much of what Edwards writes about.

    I've had an illness through college, dating, marriage and parenting. Through the past sixteen years I've trudged my way through all of these without a manual. Although I wouldn't call Edward's book a "how to" book, the validation that it provides through her own illness experiences, as well as her professional journalistic look at the sociology behind illness is exceptional.

    It provides helpful professional information, with the hint of her diary between the lines. And I found a friend in one who copes with her illness best by burying herself in work. She writes, "As a college student I studied for finals and wrote newspaper articles from the ICU. In graduate school, I taught writing classes so fresh from being discharged that I still had a hospital bracelet on my arm. And all of this seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Why shouldn't it?" (p. 142).

    Edwards, a journalist by trade, is not afraid to put aside her professionalism and "get real" by talking about things that gals with illness can be concerned about, such as not being able to wear "cute shoes" or trying to find the energy to have a conversation with college friends. She even discusses gazing out a hospital window longingly looking at her dorm rooms. These things are a big deal when you are young. Emotionally we learn to live with illness. . . but it's just so daily!

    Edwards reminds us that those daily events of living with illness that can seem so significant are significant and not minor decisions. How do we explain our illness when we are dating? When do we reveal it? How do we survive the embarrassment of healthcare situations that are a little more intimate than we would like? For example, when the home healthcare professional shows up is a bit too good-looking and close to our age? How do we become independent adults who care for our illness when our parents still want to be consulted? Is accepting our limitations giving in to our illness? How much of a caregiver should we allow our spouse to be? Should we have a baby?

    Edwards has put together a wonderful book that will not only encourage and validate your emotions, but also inspire you to make positive changes in your own life. Her stories are never depressing (not an easy task for the best of writers) and self-pity is not in her vocabulary. Instead, her ability to laugh at her own circumstances, and share what she has learned

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    It was like walking through my own life...

    ...granted I may have different diseases than Laurie, I could relate to almost everything. This book was like a journey through my own life. It made me happy and sad, and it brought smiles and tears to my face. It makes you take a step back and realize what not to take for granted anymore. It makes you want to wake up everyday and be thankful that you are still living.
    This is one of the best books I have ever read on chronic illness and being young. So many books are geared to the old and young at heart. It becomes so hard to relate to those because I am young with an old person's disease. Reading this book made me realize that there are other people out there with the same struggles. It is good to feel that you are no longer alone. This books takes you to that place you have always wanted to takes you where you want everyone to see that there is more to you than your disease.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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