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Book Review: Out of the Woods: Healing from Lyme Disease and other Chronic Illness by Katina I. Makris

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When a healer and a health care columnist spends several years completely baffled and in absolute torment, chances are that her mysterious flu-like illness is something that is truly difficult to diagnose. It took  Katina Makris five years to receive a correct diagnosis, and a long time to even partially recover from it. Her journey is described beautifully in Out of the Woods, which encompasses both her memoirs and an eye-opening “Nuts and Bolts” section on signs, symptoms, and available treatments for Lyme disease.

There were many valuable lessons to be learned from this beautifully written book. Some were rather obvious ones about cherishing what we have, since it could so easily be gone the very next moment, the importance of having a good support system and the need to work with one’s doctor(s).

Then there were those that should be obvious, but many times are not, like the importance of being persistent in trying to get your point across to the doctor when one does not feel that the real issue is being addressed. Nobody knows us better than we know ourselves, and nobody else can say with more certainty whether something is working for us or not.

Perhaps the most important issue was the holistic view of treatments – it is vitally important that all facets of the issue are addressed adequately, since good results simply can not be achieved without proper balance. Many of us would do well to read – and reread – the section on importance of real, true rest to the healing process.

It might sound limiting and difficult to achieve, but Ms. Makris illustrated really well how essential it was to her effort to get well again. And let’s not forget the “there are no coincidences” factor – if one even remotely believes that, one would be hard pressed to find a more fitting story to exemplify it.

I wish this book would have been published years ago, when several people close to me were diagnosed with Lyme disease. They were lucky to have at least received the correct diagnosis rather early, yet their recovery was difficult and very lengthy. I am certain that quite a lot of the information from the Part Two of this book would have been a great help to them, and I am simply grateful that the book is available to anybody who needs it now.

Out of the Woods by Katina I. Makris should be required reading not only for patients struggling with the Lyme disease, or those who suspect that Lyme might be the cause of their problems, but also anybody who has been struggling with any debilitating chronic disease, as well as for those who provide care for such patients, regardless of whether they do it in a professional or amateur capacity.

Ms. Makris’ descriptions of her struggles with even the simplest tasks were frighteningly eye-opening to me, and I can only hope they will make me more understanding and more tolerant in the future. Moreover, I greatly enjoyed Ms. Makris’ writing and her vivid descriptions of things, people, and events in her world. She made it come to life in full color.

(Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views)

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About Maria Juliana Leal-Belloso

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