Monday, August 26, 2013

Shadow Summit

Recently, I was contacted by a publicity agent who wondered if I would read a memoir, in digital galleys, by Jon Chandonnet. Shadow Summit, Making Peace and Prospering with MS, is Mr. Chandonnet's personal story of diagnosis, struggle and transformation.

The author takes us on the journey from his first symptoms and diagnosis through the various stratagems he used in dealing with the disease over the ensuing years -- from a first response of denial, to the medical regimens, a fixation on diet, mind and spirit exercises, "sun gazing", and so on.

This is a man who had done everything with particular devotion and energy even before his diagnosis. A graduate of MIT, the quintessential 'young man with a bright future', Chadonnet soon finds himself battling MS shotgun style, having a certain sense, as I suspect, that a disease with a wide range of possible causes and treatments demanded a wide-ranged, inclusive approach.

Through a single-minded, seemingly tireless employment of various methods, Chadonnet sought to  swallow the beast in small bites, through intense exercise, painful endurance, Spartan diet, rigorous mind and emotion training, philosophical awareness -- you name it.

Personally, I tend to be rather the opposite. The less, the better, one might say. Both  I and this author have made significant recovery from a handful of significant early damages. Whether Mr. Chadonnet's modalities or more or less efficacious than mine, one cannot really say. It is, in my mind, a matter of the whim of MS. Yet, no matter what you do, you must do it in the belief that you have adopted the best course, whether that be exercise, diet, meditation, life-style change or what have you. The author of this book set out to take the victory away from MS, to hold it at bay, and he has certainly done so. More power to him.

In the final analysis, this is a well written, deeply felt book that will be educative, inspirational and thought  provoking for any reader, and especially for those with MS. We all have different stories, but, on some level, they are all the same.

I recommend it as both informative and entertaining.

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