Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Review: In Sickness and In Health by Mandy B. Anderson

The book, In Sickness and in Health: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Cystic Fibrosis to Total Health by Mandy B. Anderson, is the author's personal story of what life is like living with what doctors call an incurable disease. In reading her story, I felt like I could completely relate to her. Although my diagnosis of a congenital heart defect is much different than hers, all the ways in which being a sick kid can take an emotional toll, is very much alike.

For instance, most kids don't ever have to think about dying an early death or having doctors put an expiration date on your life. This cannot only be emotionally devastating but spiritually devastating as well as "words of death" are constantly being spoken over you. As a kid, you can feel the fear and anxiety in those around you so you take it upon yourself to be the "brave" one. You learn how to mask and hide your true feelings and inadvertently start pretending to be someone you are not.

While Mandy talks about these struggles growing up with cystic fibrosis and with doctors telling her she would never see her high school graduation, she offers much hope despite her dire circumstances. She does believe she has experienced God's healing in her life - to the point that she can run miles without gasping for air. But she also recognizes that just because she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, she knows she still has a choice to choose sickness or to choose health and wholeness. She says, "When it comes to our health and quality of life, we always have a choice." Some of the positive choices she has made to help her live as healthy of a lifestyle as possible include eating well, exercising, chiropractic care, massage therapy and using essential oils.
Mandy B Anderson shares her story at Java JOY in Bismarck
Throughout her book, Mandy talks about overcoming her fears of dying young and how having a new perspective, speaking words of life and forgiveness have all been paramount in living life as an overcomer. She says many people throughout her life have said hurtful things to her regarding her disease and she had to learn to forgive each and every one of them.

She recalls a time at a wedding reception when one of her classmates that she had not seen for several years and who had too much to drink came up to her and said very loudly, "Wow! You're still alive! I thought you would've been dead by now from that thing you live with." Not only had she learned to forgive people who said insensitive things to her but she also had to learn to forgive herself for thinking she wasn't good enough, for not believing in herself and for judgments she held towards herself.
Mandy and her team at a speaking event in Bismarck
One chapter I could really relate to Mandy is the one titled, "Walk by Faith, Not by Sight." Having had a medical condition my whole life and then having a daughter with a disability, I have struggled with how to balance science and medicine with faith and healing. Mandy says that faith is something that must be exercised every day, whether we see proof of it or not. She says when it comes to sickness and disease, we can still believe we're healed even if we don't see it from a medical standpoint. I love that Mandy says, "I will put my faith in God's word long before I put my faith in medicine." She goes on to explain that while medicine does have a place, we tend to have more faith in medicine than God's healing power.

Mandy does a great job throughout her book of telling her story to those themselves who struggle with chronic illness but also to parents who have children with a congenital or incurable disease. I think any parent of a child with any type of special needs will also get a lot out of this book and might enable you to better relate to your child by understanding what your child may be feeling or thinking. Even if you are not one who is dealing with sickness but are trying to make positive changes in your life, this book will be helpful and encouraging.

Click HERE to learn more about Mandy B. Anderson. Buy Mandy's book: In Sickness and In Health: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Cystic Fibrosis to Total Health
Mandy selling a copy of her book 

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