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Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Life and Times With IBS: A Memoir In Comics Paperback – October 28, 2014
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About the Author
Joy Spencer is an artist and illustrator who has had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for almost three decades. She attended Syracuse University School of Art and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design. She started her cartoon blog, www.chronicallyme.com in 2012 as a vehicle to vent and express her own humorous, honest, and no-holds-barred observations of living and suffering with IBS. The blog has quickly developed a following of dedicated readers who also suffer from chronic illnesses. Through this memoir in comics, Joy Spencer takes the next step and tells the whole story of her experiences, in the hope that other sufferers will know they are not alone.
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Included are the frustrations of dealing with doctors who offer less than helpful answers and treatments, the endless search for a cure (or at least relief), alternative treatments that can sometimes be a little wacky, friends and relatives who don't "get it", and the isolation that comes from living with a chronic pain condition. Joy has found the humor in a condition that is anything but humorous to live with, and I often found myself chuckling. On a more serious note, the section on helpful and not so helpful things to say to a sufferer is excellent.
I highly recommend reading this book even if you don't have IBS or another chronic condition. It's likely that at some point in your life you will cross paths with someone who does, and this book will give you a glimpse into their world. Hopefully, it will lead to compassion for those who do, something this world could certainly use more of. Plus, the book is often funny and it will make you laugh!
Maybe for the first time, Joy Spencer's new comic book confronts IBS with a no-holding-back attitude. Her decades long suffering and battling against IBS was chronicled with cycles of hope and despair as she made countless forays into different domains of both traditional and alternative medicine. The impact of IBS on her life was honestly and bitterly illustrated in a way that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. The result may not yet be victorious as she is still searching for a cure, but the humorous story-telling of her journey may help to demystify IBS and open more dialogues on this torturous topic.
Her antagonist, inside her own body, is so far too strong to be defeated.
But she certainly stands up to that antagonist with courage and honesty and ingenuity. And humor. At one point, she draws herself as Don Quixote galloping toward the windmill. One so much wants her to win.
It can be read almost as a graphic novel, as the heroine goes through various adventures. For example, the healing psychologist whose large hyper barking dog refuses to be removed from the office, and has diarrhea, is almost archetypal.
I like the clarity and humor of the drawing style.
For IBS sufferers, and for us others with similar antagonists, this is a near perfect read.