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Mainstay: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill Hardcover – March 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); 1st edition (March 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316819239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316819237
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is at once an affecting, personal, yet practical and specific guide for the well spouse of a chronically ill mate. Strong has, for the past decade, cared for her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. "Those in a similar plight will recognize Strong as a spokesperson who gives voice to their mourning, anger, valor and committed love," said PW . Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Do you ever think what life must be like for the well spouse of someone chronically ill? Strong tells us what it is like to watch her husband become increasingly debilitated by multiple sclerosis, to deal with the financial burden of illness, to realize that their and their children's futures are changed forever. By writing about her experiences and those of others in similar situations she intends to offer support to the well spouse. The personal accounts are interspersed with practical advice about dealing with physicians, handling insurance, and just coping. An appendix lists organizations giving help. Not a happy book, but well written, moving, and immensely helpful. John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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I read it at a time that I felt that I and my world as I knew it were falling a part.
Joy Herritt
Maggie Strong has written a hands-on book for those who are living with a chronically ill spouse or partner.
dcohen229
Any of these books may prove to be helpful if you become a care giver for your spouse.
Robert C. Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By dcohen229 on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Maggie Strong has written a hands-on book for those who are living with a chronically ill spouse or partner. She speaks from her own personal experience and shares the stories that other caregivers have told her. Strong was the first one to write a book that 'tells it like it is." Her writing brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion because I thought my experiences with an ill husband were unique. This book showed me that I was not alone, where to turn for help in finding support groups, how to handle difficult family situations, and most importantly, gave me hope that I could carry on. Being a caregiver is a very lonely existence...most of the attention focuses on the person who is ill. However, illness impacts the entire family. The healthy or well spouse should not be an invisible part of the equation. Brava to Maggie Strong for her courage and for leading the way on this important topic.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
When my husband was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 1992, I was totally unprepared for the major lifestyle changes that it brought about, even though I am a nurse. When I found "Mainstay", it was as though I was no longer alone. There was someone who not only understood but who was able to clearly articulate the experience. The illness and the circumstances were different but the feelings were so similar. The book also gives realistic and practical ways to survive as a well spouse. However, for me, the best part was that the book led to an ongoing organization, the Well Spouse Foundation, that continues to provide support, education, and hope to many well spouses.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a rare thing--a practical, down-to-earth guide that's also very personal and written with the power of a good novel. As the wife of a chronically ill husband, Maggie Strong is honest about her husband's long illness and how it has altered their marriage and their family, and about the feelings all caregivers have: the love, the despair, the humor, the determination to go on and transcend enormous problems. There is nothing depressing here, but no Pollyanna either. You'll also learn about insurance, disability checks, dealing with doctors, asking for help, and scores of other ways to manage. You'll learn about a great support group. This voice will stay with you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
For anyone who is living through the challenges of caring for a loved one who is chronically ill, this is a voice of sense and compassion, spoken by one who obviously knows what she's talking about from first-hand experience. Maggie Strong explores every aspect of the experience, from the first dreadful diagnosis of her mate's emerging disease to the social and emotional changes that inevitably wash over the family's daily routines. And while she never glosses over the terrible toll such an experience can take on every member of the family, she also offers plenty of affirming information on what caregivers can do to save themselves while negotiating these difficult waters. I can't recommend this book enough. Short of knowing Maggie Strong personally, I can't imagine having a better companion for the journey my husband and I must travel. The book has literally saved my life! Thank you, Maggie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Ross on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Maggie Strong published this hard hitting, practical guide to spousal care giving almost 20 years ago so that some of the information is now dated, even out of date. As the Well Spouse Association writes: "Maggie Strong gives us concrete, hard-sought information on depression, impotence, fatigue, downward mobility, isolation, anxiety and the loneliness that can accompany a chronic illness in the family. This book started our Well Spouse Association."

I found her basic approach very helpful when I discovered the book (about ten years after I took on the caregiving role for my wife), especially dealing with lonliness. More to the point, her book led to the creation of an excellent support organization, the Well Spouse Association. We are not devotees of support groups but over the years a number of people have asked our advice on how to deal with various issues, and we've received only positive feedback from our recommendation to contact this group.

I have read most of the books that Well Spouse has reviewed favorably, and I've spent a few hours reviewing those that I found of interest and help. They included:

A Husband, A Wife, & An Illness: Living Life Beyond Chronic Illness by Dr. William July. Both husband and wife are professionals and they tell about her illness and their reactions to the challenges from their separate perspectives. " We were living the American dream when she was struck with a devastating illness. As we forge our path to healing and recovery, we've discovered vital ways to live our lives beyond illness and we want to help you do the same thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Spero on July 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Maggie Strong is a terrific writer. I'm not in her target audience for this book, but I learned so much from it.

Like the author's husband Ted, I have had multiple sclerosis for over 20 years. I've written books - i.e. The Art of Getting Well, available on Amazon, which you can read at davidsperorndotcom - about self-care for people with chronic illness. I teach self-care to health professionals and people with illness.

But seeing the experience of chronic illness through the well partner's eyes was hard for me. Strong doesn't pull punches - she reports the emotional, physical, social and economic toll of chronic illness on partners and entire families.

As a writer, I admire Strong's ability to mix personal stories with scientific information and expert opinion. Even though it's obvious that she knows more than many of the psychologists she interviews, she finds the nuggets of wisdom in therapists' experience and presents them to us. She tells personal stories with the telling details that touch readers' hearts and make the characters vivid.

The how-to sections are also excellent. There is information on what skills and attitudes all long-term couples need, and how chronic illness affects them. Her daily check lists - one for the sick person, one for the well spouse - are excellent guides. She provides a guide to using psychotherapy and support groups. Although she reveals her anger, fear and resentment, she does it with tremendous compassion.

My one criticism might be that little is said about how to overcome communication problems. Lack of communication caused many difficulties for Maggie and Ted and their children. He was resistant to talking about their issues, but there are probably ways she could have opened him up.
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