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Uncomfortably Numb: A Memoir by Meredith O’Brien

Title: Uncomfortably Numb: a memoir

Author: Meredith O’Brien

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir

Published on: 3rd March 2020

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Uncomfortably Numb is about Meredith’s journey through Multiple Sclerosis. It started with a numbness on her left leg. An MRI revealed a mass on her brain stem. It took Meredith over two years to learn what was causing the numbness.

Months after her mother succumbed to cancer, her father’s hospitalization and an unexpected job change, Meredith O’Brien, a mother of three, is diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

I cannot begin to imagine the trauma Meredith went through. As a survivor, I know it takes time to get used to ‘living with uncertainty.’ Being diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in adult life is no piece of cake.We would have made plans – vacation trips, career moves, and many more – everything changes within a snap of a finger – all it takes is just one diagnosis.

Meredith points out the flaw in the healthcare system – the doctor she initially consulted termed her condition as ‘anxiety’. Later, when she goes in for a further neurological test for MS, she learns females are treated differently when it comes to pain toleration. My medical condition was ignored by almost all the doctors I consulted (I went to every specialty hospital in the city) and I was even told ‘the pain’ was all in my mind and I must be ‘depressed’. Reading Meredith’s experiences made me realize I am not alone when it comes to mistreatment in the healthcare system.

I cried as I read Meredith’s prognosis. I don’t think I can ever express my feelings in words. Sometimes I wonder how our lives change within a fraction of a second. A diagnosis, untimely death – it’s as if, we were happy for a second and the next thing we know, we are hit by a freight train. It is easy to say ‘adjust to the new normal’ or ‘learn to live with uncertainty’ but it is not as easy as it sounds. Traumatic experiences make ‘adjusting’ difficult.

I highly recommend you to read Uncomfortably numb. I am really lucky to having been contacted by Meredith. She’s an inspiration to many, including me. 🙂


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