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Book Review: The Art of Getting Well
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The Art of Getting Well
A Five-Step Plan for Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness
David Spero, RN
Hunter House, 2002, 256 pages
To order: Email David at
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Brief   Description of the Book

The Art of Getting Well is a practical guide to overcoming   illness and improving our quality of life. It explains how to change the parts   of our lives that contribute to illness, adapt to things we cannot change and   how to find motivation when living with a chronic condition.
  This book brings the medical, psychological and spiritual issues involved in   recovery down to a practical level through an empowering five-step approach   applicable to any chronic condition—or even to those without an illness who   face ongoing life problems and want to take better care of themselves. The author,   a nurse and chronic disease self-management group leader, has lived and thrived   with multiple sclerosis for the last thirteen years.
  The art of getting well is a martial art; a gentle form of self-defense against   all the ways life can make us sick. It has little to do with will power or following   orders. It means overcoming barriers to self-care: obstacles such as lack of   support, lack of hope, distrusting our bodies, or not valuing ourselves.
  Interviews, studies and first-person accounts of recovery provide readers with   information, encouragement and hope. Written in a conversational, upbeat style,   this book empowers those with chronic conditions to optimize their health and   get well.
  For excerpts and other information about the book and the author contact David   at 415-585-9851 or e-mail

Praise and Reviews
    Martin L. Rossman, MD, author, Guided       Imagery for Self-Healing, director, Academy for Guided Imagery
          "David Spero is the real thing. A nurse and health coach who thrives with       a chronic illness, David is also an entertaining writer who makes you feel       that you have a friend in the self-healing business. The plan he gives us       in The Art of Getting Well is not hype, not complicated, and not expensive.       He has distilled the essence of self-care into an easy to take program virtually       certain to create a sense of well-being in anyone who takes it to heart."    
    David Sobel, MD, MPH, Regional Director,       Patient Education and Health Promotion, Kaiser Permanente Northern Californian.       Author, Healthy Pleasures and Mind & Body Health Handbook
          "For people and families facing chronic illness this book is a gift. David       Spero provides a practical, knowledgeable and compassionate "coach" to living       a healthier life with chronic illness. Grounded in scientific research,       informed by first-hand experience, and enlivened with stories from real       patients, this book is powerful medicine for those wishing to take a more       active role in managing their illness and their lives. This book can help       reverse the disability, dependence, and disempowerment that interfere with       actively coping with chronic illness. There is a healthier way to live a       disease, and "The Art of Getting Well" can help you learn it."
    Kathleen Wilson M.A. President, MSWorld,       Inc.
          "This book is for anyone alive, particularly if you face a chronic condition.       Mr. Spero's book is a friendly companion to the not always friendly art       of living with a chronic condition. Having lived with Multiple Sclerosis       for 13 years, I have yet to find a book that so plainly and straightforwardly       tackles the multiplicity of issues faced by those who choose wellness over       illness. I will read this book again and again to help remind myself to       choose wellness and I will share it with others who seek the same. This       is truly a well organized, thought provoking look at what it takes to be       well."
    Jean Tepperman from Berkeley, CA
          The hard thing about living with a chronic illness is that you have to deal       with it on so many levels: physical symptoms, the choice of caregivers--and       then the job of relating to them, information from the internet, lifestyle       changes, emotions, spiritual dimensions, and more. The unique thing about       this wise and compassionate book is that it addresses issues of living with       a chronic illness on all those levels and more, with a gentle, down-to-earth       humor that provides its own emotional support on the spot (an example is       the title of the first chapter: "Studies show life is hard.") This must       be because the author is both a nurse and a person living with MS--as well       as a very talented writer. Throughout the book are many stories of people       -- and in one case a plant -- who are doing better by using one of the ideas       described. I've read a lot of advice books--another unique thing about this       one is that it's not pushing any one approach. The author starts with a       description of some basic orientations necessary to take care of ourselves.       It gives information about a wide range of strategies for self-care, with       step-by-step directions for getting started and information about where       to learn more. It also gives brief descriptions of many places to get help       from others and how to find them. I think the Art of Getting Well will soon       be seen as an indispensable support for anyone living with a chronic illness-actually       it contains a lot of wisdom that anyone could benefit from!

About   the Author:David Spero
  Since the publication of his book, The Art of Getting Well: a Five-Step Plan for Maximizing   Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002), David has written   for publications including Diabetes Self-Management and Nursing Spectrum. He   has co-written 20 health education publications, and his classes and lectures   receive rave evaluations. Anna Satenstein, Education Coordinator at Evergreen   Hospital, Kirkland, WA, wrote, "Thank you so very much for sharing your   wisdom, humor, experience, and your heart with our Evergreen community. I am   awed by your sense of purpose and the healing you inspire in others."

  David had taken care of people all his adult life, nursing in hospitals, clinics and   homes since he was 21 years old. At age 38, he developed multiple sclerosis   and had to learn something much harder: how to care for himself. He started   practicing yoga and meditation, swimming, weightlifting and guided imagery.   He became an advice nurse and health coach, counseling people with a variety   of acute and chronic illnesses including hepatitis C, arthritis, and congestive   heart failure. He leads successful wellness groups for people with a wide variety   of chronic conditions.

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