At age 24, Janet Buttenwieser moved to Seattle with a résumé devoted to public service and fantasies of single-handedly ending poverty. But within a year she’d developed an intestinal illness so rare she wound up in a medical journal. Janet navigated misdiagnosis, multiple surgeries, and life with a permanent colostomy. Like many female patients her concerns were glossed over by doctors. She was young and insecure, major liabilities in her life as a patient. How would she advocate for low-income people when she couldn’t even advocate for herself?
Janet’s model for assertiveness was her friend Beth. She was the kind of friend who’d accompany you to the doctor when you got dysentery in Ecuador, nonchalantly translating the graphic details of your symptoms into Spanish. Throughout Janet’s illness Beth took care of her; then she developed brain cancer and their roles reversed. Eventually Janet recovered, but Beth’s condition worsened. At the age of 38, Beth died. To cope, Janet competed in endurance events, becoming a triathlete with a colostomy pouch.
With themes that echo Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home, GUTS is a story of resilience for the millions of Americans who manage to thrive while living with a chronic condition, as well as the many who’ve lost a loved one at a young age.
|Publisher:||Vine Leaves Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have you ever felt like a doctor or caregiver wasn't listening, or discounting your opinions? Have you ever known something was wrong with your body, but haven't been given the answers you need to heal? Guts is an absolutely incredibly story of a young woman's journey regarding an all to common occurrence in modern medicine. In it she recounts her early days of the illness that would come to dominate much of her life, and what it was like in a pre internet age to be diagnosed with a little understood disease. I actually felt frustrated for her that she couldn't simply Google her symptoms, or Google her disease and find support. The book isn't just about her diagnoses, or her various treatments. It's about her struggles with self image, her love life, her desire for motherhood, and suffering with loss. I don't want to give the book away at all, but at times I was incredulous this was all happening to the same person. This book is about the typical struggles and life of an average person, but with an excruciating disease thrown in to amplify those struggles. I read the book in two sittings, and it only took me two because my husband finally made me shut the light out and go to bed the first night. I needed answers for her, and I needed to know what happened to the people she encountered in her life. The author wrote in a funny, but matter of fact manner. I think most anyone will be able to identify with the author in some capacity, and will find themselves consumed by this book.