Cover image for Sick : a memoir / Porochista Khakpour.
Title:
Sick : a memoir / Porochista Khakpour.
ISBN:
9780062428738
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Perennial, [2018]
Physical Description:
258 pages ; 21 cm
Abstract:
"In the tradition of Brain on Fire and Darkness Visible, an honest, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery that details author Porochista Khakpour's struggles with late-stage Lyme disease. For as long as writer Porochista Khakpour can remember, she has been sick. For most of that time, she didn't know why. All of her trips to the ER and her daily anguish, pain, and lethargy only ever resulted in one question: How could any one person be thissick? Several drug addictions, three major hospitalizations, and over $100,000 later, she finally had a diagnosis: late-stage Lyme disease. Sick is Khakpour's arduous, emotional journey--as a woman, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed healthproblems--through the chronic illness that perpetually left her a victim of anxiety, living a life stymied by an unknown condition. Divided by settings, Khakpour guides the reader through her illness by way of the locations that changed her course--New York, LA, New Mexico, and Germany--as she meditates on both the physical and psychological impacts of uncertainty, and the eventual challenge of accepting the diagnosis she had searched for over the course of her adult life. With candor and grace, she examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness, her addiction to the benzodiazepines prescribed by her psychiatrists, and her ever-deteriorating physical health. A story about survival, pain, and transformation, Sick is a candid, illuminating narrativeof hope and uncertainty, boldly examining the deep impact of illness on one woman's life."-- Provided by publisher.

"An honest, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery that details author Porochista Khakpour struggles with late-stage Lyme disease"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

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A powerful, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery.

For as long as author Porochista Khakpour can remember, she has been sick. For most of that time, she didn't know why. Several drug addictions, some major hospitalizations, and over $100,000 later, she finally had a diagnosis: late-stage Lyme disease.



Sick is Khakpour's grueling, emotional journey--as a woman, an Iranian-American, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems--in which she examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness and her addiction to doctor prescribed benzodiazepines, that both aided and eroded her ever-deteriorating physical health. Divided by settings, Khakpour guides the reader through her illness by way of the locations that changed her course--New York, LA, Santa Fe, and a college town in Germany--as she meditates on the physiological and psychological impacts of uncertainty, and the eventual challenge of accepting the diagnosis she had searched for over the course of her adult life.



A story of survival, pain, and transformation, Sick candidly examines the colossal impact of illness on one woman's life by not just highlighting the failures of a broken medical system but by also boldly challenging our concept of illness narratives.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Khakpour (The Last Illusion) incisively tells of living with a mystery illness that is eventually diagnosed as late-stage Lyme disease. From the time she was about five, she recalls feeling something was always "off" inside her body. From insomnia to hand tremors, her unusual symptoms were at first attributed to PTSD (Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978; her family fled the country during revolution and settled in L.A.). Her parents believed her health would improve as she got older, but as an adult, her physical and psychiatric symptoms increased in severity and occurrence. Fainting, hallucinations, and dangerously high fevers limited her activity. With no definitive answer from the medical community, she developed an addiction to benzodiazepines for relief. Her boyfriends and colleagues function as caretakers as she moves from one healer to another (settling in rural Pennsylvania with a boyfriend, she delights that "we built a real domestic life for ourselves for the first time"). Khakpour writes honestly about her psychological struggle ("I felt spent most of my days feeling dead inside") enduring a disease for which she's treated, but for which there's no cure. Her remarkable story is one of perseverance, survival, and hope. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Novelist Khakpour (The Last Illusion) recalls escaping revolution and war in Iran with her parents in the 1980s and relocating to the suburbs of Los Angeles. Storytelling helped her survive a childhood in which she experienced fainting and tremors, symptoms that stayed with her through adulthood. Khakpour is painfully honest about her drug use and lingering cocaine addiction, wondering if that impacted her mysterious illness, later confirmed to be Lyme disease. The author shines when recounting the years of dealing with skeptical doctors, often while lacking health insurance, and how depression and insomnia affected her personal and professional life. She conveys the transient life of an academic, from Pennsylvania to New Mexico to Germany, often the lone Iranian on campus or in town. The narrative can be exasperating, as she pursues partners who are also willing to assume a caretaker role. Still, -Khakpour writes cogently about modern health issues: dating while chronically ill, using GoFundMe to crowdsource payment for medical bills, and navigating alternative medicine and mysticism. VERDICT A sometimes challenging memoir of feeling out of place, both inside and outside of one's own body; yet Khakpour brings a fresh perspective on how women live and cope with mental and chronic illness.-Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.