Books that Share the HealingInterstitial cystitis (IC), a chronic bladder condition that can produce an array of painful, even debilitating symptoms, sometimes leaves patients so desperate that they contemplate suicide. Frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, the disease is incurable and poorly understood. Doctors prescribe drugs that may do little to help. Family and friends don't always understand the depth and extent of the patient's suffering.
Catherine Simone '85, who at the age of thirty found herself with a severe case of IC, has had her moments of desperation. But the disease energized her as well. "I gritted my teeth," she said in a recent interview, "and I told myself, 'I'm going to get better, and help other people get better, too.'"
Since her diagnosis in 1995, she has done just that. A long, slow quest for healing led her to holistic, natural approaches, such as soothing herbs (like marshmallow root) that she made into teas and various methods of "detoxing" the body. She has shared her knowledge through three books that have won a devoted following among fellow sufferers, who are grateful not only for the practical advice Simone offers but also for the insight and encouragement of someone who really understands what they're going through.
The first book, To Wake In Tears: Understanding Interstitial Cystitis (1998), provides a good many coping tips, both physical and emotional, in the course of describing Simone's diagnosis and her struggle to find help. The response was so great, and there were so many questions, that Simone wrote another book, Along the Healing Path: Recovering from Interstitial Cystitis (2000). In 2003, she published the third volume, Awakening through the Tears: Interstitial Cystitis and the Mind/Body/Spirit Connection.
As the title of the third book suggests, Simone believes that where the narrowly focused therapies of conventional medicine fail, a balanced approach addressing the whole body, and the spirit, can succeed.
She calls attention to the role of stress in physical well-being and to the value of "rebalancing and rebuilding" the body through nutrition. "It's important to take control of your own healing, listen to your body, and, above all, believe that you will get well," she said. "Our bodies know how to heal themselves, if given a chance."
Simone, who lives in North Royalton, Ohio, not far from Cleveland, spends virtually every afternoon helping IC patients, either on the phone or via the Internet, where she has a Web site, IC Hope for Interstitial Cystitis (www.ic-hope.com). Her books, which have also helped family members and friends of IC patients, are available through the Web site, on amazon.com, and in book stores.
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