Sick
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 this sick? 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 health problems—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 narrative of hope and uncertainty, boldly examining the deep impact of illness on one woman's life.    

Sick Details

TitleSick
Author
ReleaseJun 5th, 2018
PublisherHarper Perennial
ISBN-139780062428721
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Disability, Health, Biography Memoir, Medical, Biography

Sick Review

  • Susannah
    January 1, 1970
    “I sometimes wonder if I would have been less sick if I had a home.”
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    A finely wrought memoir of Khakpour’s battle with Lyme disease and, more broadly, how the early trauma and displacement of her childhood intertwines and muddies the challenge of “putting a name” to the cause of her symptoms. A personal fascination, for me, was the revelation that Khakpour and I are almost exactly the same age - she has lived so much more life than I have that I would have referred her to as one of the “older girls” had we been at the same school. Beautiful writing from the sente A finely wrought memoir of Khakpour’s battle with Lyme disease and, more broadly, how the early trauma and displacement of her childhood intertwines and muddies the challenge of “putting a name” to the cause of her symptoms. A personal fascination, for me, was the revelation that Khakpour and I are almost exactly the same age - she has lived so much more life than I have that I would have referred her to as one of the “older girls” had we been at the same school. Beautiful writing from the sentence-level on up.
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  • Marika
    January 1, 1970
    Iranian American novelist Khakpour describes in excruciating detail her fight against an unknown disease, which turned out to be late stage Lyme disease. Much of her battle was in getting the correct diagnoses and disregarding the Dr's who told her that her pain was psychological. For readers who enjoyed "Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved" by Kate Bowler.I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
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  • Sarah Swong
    January 1, 1970
    There's so much to praise and admire about this powerful, searing narrative of survival through unimaginable worldly instability and corporeal pain. Khakpour, a novelist whose family escaped the Iranian Revolution when she was a little girl, seems to have never lived without unpredictable, mysterious, often alarming signs of serious illness, from torturous insomnia to drug addiction to fainting spells to feeling like her skin is on fire. And she has not had the luck to have been born from privil There's so much to praise and admire about this powerful, searing narrative of survival through unimaginable worldly instability and corporeal pain. Khakpour, a novelist whose family escaped the Iranian Revolution when she was a little girl, seems to have never lived without unpredictable, mysterious, often alarming signs of serious illness, from torturous insomnia to drug addiction to fainting spells to feeling like her skin is on fire. And she has not had the luck to have been born from privilege, resources, healthy family ties either. In marvelously lyrical prose, she takes you on a harrowing journey from childhood to diagnosis to learning to live with Lyme and trying hard to keep it in remission. You get to see both a woman fighting for her survival and an ambitious, talented writer fighting for a the life she deserves, one full of love, success, and joy. At first, I was numb reading her accounts of being hospitalized, seeing countless doctors who cannot (even refuse to) help her, and struggling through it all to pay for it, feed herself, maintain a life. But I began to tear up about 2/3 through the book, when she arrives in Leipzig recovering from an inexplicable scalp abscess and eventually has to break things off with her fiancee. I was suddenly struck by the uniquely relentless torture of chronic illness, especially when you have no idea what to call it. SICK lucidly portrays a life defined by fear, loneliness, pain, and chaos without a real end in sight, (without all the romantic baggage of the Illness Narrative) and shows us what surviving by the skin of your teeth looks like.In the words of Atul Gawande, "life is a preexisting condition waiting to happen." SICK may be the story of a woman with an exceptionally difficult disease, but along the way she shows us the vulnerability and fragility that is inherent to all our lives.(I found this tucked in the ARCs section of the Strand! What a treat.)
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  • Leah Angstman
    January 1, 1970
    My review of this book is coming to a major outlet. Will update at that time.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    "Theories that diseases are caused by mental states and can be cured by will power are always an index of how much is not understood about the physical terrain of a disease."~Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its MetaphorsFirst of all thank you Harper Perennial for sending me this Arc. I am a big fan of Memoirs so I was really excited to read this one. A journey of illness that reads more like a detective novel. Porochista has late-stage lyme disease, but it took years for her to ge "Theories that diseases are caused by mental states and can be cured by will power are always an index of how much is not understood about the physical terrain of a disease."~Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its MetaphorsFirst of all thank you Harper Perennial for sending me this Arc. I am a big fan of Memoirs so I was really excited to read this one. A journey of illness that reads more like a detective novel. Porochista has late-stage lyme disease, but it took years for her to get this diagnosis. She felt sick for most of her life. Her body always working against her. Displacement and early childhood trauma aggravating her symptoms. Doctors were always baffled, convinced it was all psychological. She tried it all therapy, western medicine, eastern medicine, healers, diet, drugs, pills....lots of pills. Doctors always pushing pills some helping to a point. Addiction, depression and anxiety played their parts too. This lady went through the ringer for years! Until finally getting a positive diagnosis, with much relief, a name for what ailed her for so long. A fight she will now fight forever.Brave, honest, and informative. SICK is a very interesting memoir. One that needed to be written. More people need to be aware of this at times debilitating to deadly disease. This one hits close to home for me. A family member of mine has this disease. And it took a long time for him to get a diagnosis too. He has been on the road to recovery for the last year. Yesterday I received some news about him being in hospital. Doctor's thinking he had had a heart attack, but now think it may have been something related to the Lyme disease instead. Happy to say he is resting at home now. But It goes to show that this is a crazy disease we need to learn more about. I really enjoyed this memoir and thank Porochista for writing it.It comes out June 5th.....Check it out!
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This is a difficult, frustrating read -- an an immensely brave one. I applaud Porochista's honesty and openness about her battle with Lyme disease and the horrific chain of events that has followed the onset of her illness. It is infuriating, but sadly not surprising, to see all of the ways she has been mistreated and misdiagnosed by the myriad medical professionals she has seen throughout her life. For anyone who struggles with constant, undiagnosed pain, for anyone who doesn't understand what This is a difficult, frustrating read -- an an immensely brave one. I applaud Porochista's honesty and openness about her battle with Lyme disease and the horrific chain of events that has followed the onset of her illness. It is infuriating, but sadly not surprising, to see all of the ways she has been mistreated and misdiagnosed by the myriad medical professionals she has seen throughout her life. For anyone who struggles with constant, undiagnosed pain, for anyone who doesn't understand what it means to be a woman in pain in this world, for anyone who knows someone with a chronic illness but doesn't quite know what it means--this book is for you.
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