Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Book Review: Are You My Guru?
Now, with her sequel, Are You My Guru?, she is back at it, with a wry sense of humor and an earnest, fresh and heartfelt outlook on life. She was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, Wegener's granulomatosis, which causes severe joint inflammation and nose and ear cartilage to disintegrate. She begins a journey to find her "guru"; one person who will have all the answers and cures to fix her once and for all. There is a bit of privilege in the fact that she can afford alternative treatments and her own private health insurance, which many Americans can not. Her viewpoint is also decidely American; looking for the cure-all at once, but that is a tune that slowly changes throughout the book because western and eastern influences abound in this memoir. She tries basti, an anal douching process, Ayurvedia and a mass of steriods, along with drugs with lots of x's.
She eventually loses her sense of smell and most of her hearing, along with enduring the plethora of side effects that the drugs bring on. But she finally says no to many of the pharmaceuticals that are pushed on her and like many women, both those with and without an autoimmune disease (yours truly included), Shanker realizes that finding a balance and honoring herself and her body is cruical to managing her disease. She also learns about faith and how believing in something; soul, body or God is important.
Toward the end of the book, she notes "I may not find a cure, but I can try to find a new way to live." Best advice given. It is incredibly hard to adjust to living with a chronic illness, but Wendy Shanker lets her peek into her struggle and ultimately rewarding journey as she tries to do just that.