Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me Review
“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” Book Summary
“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” takes the form of a confession novel about Chris Tatevosian’s personal experience as a patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It accurately traces how a physical illness can impact the entire being, from an emotional point of view to the mental and spiritual dimensions, transforming the way we relate to others to a significant degree.
Without falling into disarray or dramatic clichés, Chris molds the story of his life into a familiar pattern – one that may very well suit any of us – from early childhood to the onset of his incurable disease, the best years of his youth, first years of his relationship, his marriage to Rachel, and how everything went downhill due to an admitted lack of awareness on his part.
Who is Chris Tatevosian?
In 1983, when he graduated from Johnson State College with a BS in Ecology and a minor in chemistry, Chris was already diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Although he was a very active young man during high-school, his physical fitness wasn’t enough to keep him from developing a condition whose cause is yet to be established.
Multiple sclerosis is an immune system disease that causes the body’s own defense system to abnormally attack the myelin coating protecting the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. Lately, research has come up with a lot of information about which cells are responsible, as well as about some of the factors that cause them to respond in such a manner to begin with, but a definite understanding of the condition is still far from being achieved, especially when it comes to how to slow or stop MS.
Six years after his divorce, Chris began writing “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” as a reflection upon how frustration, stress, anger and loneliness found themselves as the status quo of his marriage to Rachel, his ex-wife. Now happily remarried, he lives in suburban Massachusetts with Jane, her son and daughter. Even after all that he has been through, Chris is not by his own admission an expert on relationships, but attempts to share his insight in the hope that others may benefit from it as well.
What “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” tries to convey
What began as a “relapsing remitting” multiple sclerosis in 1980 later transformed into “progressive” in the summer of 1993, the first year into Chris’ marriage to Rachel. Until then, the author’s life went on seamlessly, without dramatic transformations or the onset of severe symptoms that would require radical lifestyle changes. However, at the end of 1995, his vision and right leg numbness had evolved to such a degree that he had to give up driving for the rest of his life. His situation would get worse from this point onwards.
“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” provides us with a table indicating his treatment, symptoms and effects over the years, while also revealing an alternative method that showed amazing improvement to his physical condition in the later years of his disease. In addition to providing the journal of a patient, the book’s confessional tone indicates to us that the greatest loss to the narrator was actually his wife. To his mind, he never managed to cope with the changes that were brought about by multiple sclerosis. In his opinion, no healthy, attractive man with a loving wife and a full life ahead would be able to achieve this completely. In retrospect, however, Chris managed to realize what actually happened with his spiritual, mental and emotional life, which determined him to write “Life Interrupted” as a conversation to any reader willing to listen.
Besides astutely pointing out the imbalances that a relationship has to undergo once one of its members suffers from a chronic illness, the author’s most notable contribution lies in his ability to illustrate how a person might be tempted to relapse into a negative attitude as a result of their circumstances. From this point onwards, there is an indistinguishable border between self-awareness and lack of compassion towards the other, which ultimately leads to ignoring the other half of the relationship and even venting all of the anger and frustration on them without rightly acknowledging where the emotional charge comes from.
Why “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” is worth your time
With each turn of page, the reader becomes more aware of Chris’s account as a guide to learn more about our own nature, rather than his own misgivings or incredible difficulties due to MS. By opening up and exposing some of the most sensitive moments of his life, the author gives in his “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” new insight into what is likely to happen in a relationship that experiences such ordeals, without generalizations or the use of unfounded claims. If ever there was something in existence that deserved the full meaning of “value”, it is the honest story of a person admitting his or her own faults with the purpose of helping others steer clear of the mistakes that gradually lead to the separation and seclusion from others.
Whether you are a healthy individual or someone facing similar circumstances, “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” is the perfect step towards beginning to understand the full effects of a chronic disease and, hopefully, to not letting them affect the areas of our lives that matter the most to us.
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