counter Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. He was a young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, and his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS, only to be amb Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. He was a young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, and his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS, only to be ambushed by two bouts of colon cancer at the end of the millennium. And yet, he has writ-ten a hopeful book about celebrating life and coping with chronic illness. "Welcome to my world," writes Cohen, "where I carry around dreams, a few diseases, and the determination to live life my way. This book is my daily conversation with myself, a chronicle of the struggles in that exotic place just north of the neck. At the moment, my attitude checks out well. I do believe I'm winning." Autobiographical at its roots, reportorial, and expansive, Blindsided explores the effects of illness on raising three children and on his relationship with his wife, Meredith Vieira (host of ABC's The View and the syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire). Cohen tackles the nature of denial and resilience, the ins and outs of the struggle for emotional health, and the redemptive effects of a loving family. And while he may not have chosen to live with illness, illness did choose him. Written with grace, humor, and lyrical prose, Blindsided presents a life brimming over with accomplishment and joy in adversity.


Compare

Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. He was a young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, and his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS, only to be amb Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. He was a young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, and his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS, only to be ambushed by two bouts of colon cancer at the end of the millennium. And yet, he has writ-ten a hopeful book about celebrating life and coping with chronic illness. "Welcome to my world," writes Cohen, "where I carry around dreams, a few diseases, and the determination to live life my way. This book is my daily conversation with myself, a chronicle of the struggles in that exotic place just north of the neck. At the moment, my attitude checks out well. I do believe I'm winning." Autobiographical at its roots, reportorial, and expansive, Blindsided explores the effects of illness on raising three children and on his relationship with his wife, Meredith Vieira (host of ABC's The View and the syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire). Cohen tackles the nature of denial and resilience, the ins and outs of the struggle for emotional health, and the redemptive effects of a loving family. And while he may not have chosen to live with illness, illness did choose him. Written with grace, humor, and lyrical prose, Blindsided presents a life brimming over with accomplishment and joy in adversity.

30 review for Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robbin

    I had avoided reading this book for so long for obvious reasons. I was afraid to. After seeing him speak with Meredith a couple of monthes ago at an MS luncheon, I felt the time had come. I cannot even begin to express how incredible this book was for me. I felt that he was inside my brain, expressing every thought and feeling I too have had over these past 5 years- I will beg my family to read this book, to gain a little more insight into why I am the way I am. I guess these are traits we share I had avoided reading this book for so long for obvious reasons. I was afraid to. After seeing him speak with Meredith a couple of monthes ago at an MS luncheon, I felt the time had come. I cannot even begin to express how incredible this book was for me. I felt that he was inside my brain, expressing every thought and feeling I too have had over these past 5 years- I will beg my family to read this book, to gain a little more insight into why I am the way I am. I guess these are traits we share and are not unique to myself. I especially identified with the chapter where he spoke about the cognition problems, the chapter about the children and the final chapter about himself and the self-loathing and the anger which I know myself are my daily companions. I want to thank him personally from the bottom of my heart - I totally appreciate his candor and sense of humor and his ability to laugh at himself. I know it is a necessity and sometimes a defense mechanism for myself as well. If you can't laugh, well, I feel sorry for you. God Bless

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I chose this book because I've watched Merideth Viera on her various TV shows including and since The View, and also read magazine articles about her. Some of them, which her husband, Cohen, mentions in the book portrayed Cohen as a sickly invalid fully dependent on his wife. Looking at the photo on the cover, I felt surely that couldn't be the case, so I wanted to read his side of the story, told in his own words. If you just look at Cohen piece by piece, perhaps you'd agree with the magazines. I chose this book because I've watched Merideth Viera on her various TV shows including and since The View, and also read magazine articles about her. Some of them, which her husband, Cohen, mentions in the book portrayed Cohen as a sickly invalid fully dependent on his wife. Looking at the photo on the cover, I felt surely that couldn't be the case, so I wanted to read his side of the story, told in his own words. If you just look at Cohen piece by piece, perhaps you'd agree with the magazines. He has lived with Multiple Sclerosis since his mid-twenties, which has caused him to be nearly blind, walk with a cane and slow awkward gait (often noted by Cohen as resembling that of a stumbling drunk), and experience bouts of moodiness and depression. Add to that his 2 bouts of colon cancer which left him with many surgical scars and an uncooperative gut, and yes life hasn't dealt him all the good cards when it comes to his health. Look at the whole man, and you learn that the damaged body houses a loving father and husband with a very creative mind who is not yet ready to surrender to his troubles. Viera and his children also get a fair bit of attention in Cohen's memoir, as they are clearly his reason for living. He admits that he isn't the easiest person to live with, and yes, he is largely dependent on his family, as driving was a luxury lost long ago and tasks requiring fine motor skills, vision, or both are beyond his physical capability, but he sees the bright side to all of it, as Merideth is the perfect compliment to him and his children have been raised to be compassionate and mature young adults. At the same time, Cohen often wonders what might have been. He was the partner who craved work and loved his time producing television news shows while Merideth would have loved to remain a stay at home mom after the birth of their first child, but his health prompted the role reversal. He also remembers the grand days of his youth with his father, whose MS didn't present strongly until Cohen was in college, and how he has always been a father whose activities with his children have been limited. Cohen recognizes the burden he places on his family, even if they don't see it as such, and discusses friends whose MS advanced to the end stages and how they relieved that burden at a time of their choosing, not ruling out that he might opt for the same if he feels his time has come. Overall, I found it to be an interesting read though not a particularly gripping page turner. He was a bit maudlin for me, dwelling quite a bit on his limits rather than seeing the possibilities and accomplishments. Granted, all books can't be sunshine and roses, and I can't fault the man for his honesty, just wasn't what I expected.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adele Stratton

    Angry, painful, bitter, grim, with some resignation, if not acceptance, toward the end, Cohen hates everything about having MS (and later colon cancer), what it’s done to his body, his life, his dreams, his family. This was tough to read, and seemed a bit disorganized, choppy and repetitive at times, but it was clearly his reality. An unflinchingly honest portrait of how life with a chronic, debilitating illness must be. This one did make me grateful for the health I enjoy and so often take for Angry, painful, bitter, grim, with some resignation, if not acceptance, toward the end, Cohen hates everything about having MS (and later colon cancer), what it’s done to his body, his life, his dreams, his family. This was tough to read, and seemed a bit disorganized, choppy and repetitive at times, but it was clearly his reality. An unflinchingly honest portrait of how life with a chronic, debilitating illness must be. This one did make me grateful for the health I enjoy and so often take for granted.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    A stirring, if rather self-pitying memoir of dealing with illness, mental illness and the things that one can not change. I found it to be useful, but it might be too much for some readers. Take with some caution, but still recommended. For the complete review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/content_13766... A stirring, if rather self-pitying memoir of dealing with illness, mental illness and the things that one can not change. I found it to be useful, but it might be too much for some readers. Take with some caution, but still recommended. For the complete review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/content_13766...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henrietta

    A Goodreads member named Jessica sums this book up perfectly...... She writes: At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right? Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a st A Goodreads member named Jessica sums this book up perfectly...... She writes: At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right? Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a stoic? Sometimes, but not others. Does Cohen think it's a good idea to hide illness from children? Yes, until he no longer does. Is illness a gift or a curse? A gift, of course, but one he'd willingly trade for a used car. Fundamentally, I could have dealt with the vacillating viewpoints, but for one thing: Cohen repeatedly insists that people who live with chronic illness are somehow less than other people. He focuses intently on the image of a diminished person, a diminished life. Not exactly what I expected from a book whose subtitle is "Lifting a Life Above Illness."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Arle

    I wanted to like this book - because as a physical therapist, I've worked with so many people with M.S. and because I admire Meredith Viera so much. The first part of the book was interesting, sad and inspiring but then Cohen just kept repeating himself in different ways. By the end of the book, I was screaming at him to just "deal with it!" Dealing with any chronic disease is difficult and dealing with cancer (twice) on top of that made his life even more difficult. But wishing for a "normal" l I wanted to like this book - because as a physical therapist, I've worked with so many people with M.S. and because I admire Meredith Viera so much. The first part of the book was interesting, sad and inspiring but then Cohen just kept repeating himself in different ways. By the end of the book, I was screaming at him to just "deal with it!" Dealing with any chronic disease is difficult and dealing with cancer (twice) on top of that made his life even more difficult. But wishing for a "normal" life doesn't make the life you have any easier. I hate to say that when this book finally ended, I was glad.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ferris

    Audiobook...........This was a moving and depressing account of one man's life with Multiple Sclerosis, and how it has challenged him to grow as a person, and the ways the illness has impacted his family. Cohen is eloquent, and tells the tale of his life. He loves life and has been creative and determined in keeping it that way, despite the progressive nature of the illness. It is a heartbreaking story, yet realistic. I would recommend this to anyone who has a family member or loved one coping w Audiobook...........This was a moving and depressing account of one man's life with Multiple Sclerosis, and how it has challenged him to grow as a person, and the ways the illness has impacted his family. Cohen is eloquent, and tells the tale of his life. He loves life and has been creative and determined in keeping it that way, despite the progressive nature of the illness. It is a heartbreaking story, yet realistic. I would recommend this to anyone who has a family member or loved one coping with a chronic and/or progressive illness.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deanie

    It seems nearly impossible to convey to a "well" person, the physical challenges and isolation of living with chronic or terminal illness. The "patient" is trying to come to grips with not only the constance of deterioration but the indifference, impatience or insincerity of acquaintances who pronounce themselves friends. Richard M. Cohen talks about it all with humor and pathos. He speaks for many who may not be able to articulate this complex issue as eloquently as he does. It seems nearly impossible to convey to a "well" person, the physical challenges and isolation of living with chronic or terminal illness. The "patient" is trying to come to grips with not only the constance of deterioration but the indifference, impatience or insincerity of acquaintances who pronounce themselves friends. Richard M. Cohen talks about it all with humor and pathos. He speaks for many who may not be able to articulate this complex issue as eloquently as he does.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I read this shortly after discovering that I too have MS. A beautiful story of courage and pain. It took everything I had to not cry for the pain this man has had to endure, and his constant struggle to stay positive. More than worth reading - this could change the way you think about illness. And, as icing on the cake - the writing is incredible.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Bittersweet account of Meredith Viera's husband's 30-year struggle with multiple sclerosis. I learned a great deal about the disease and what it's like to cope with a chronic and at times debilitating illness. Bittersweet account of Meredith Viera's husband's 30-year struggle with multiple sclerosis. I learned a great deal about the disease and what it's like to cope with a chronic and at times debilitating illness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this book which discusses a formerly virile man who has to adjust his expectations of himself once MS came to rule his life. He talks about the anger he had for having a chronic disease that was intractable. It turns out that MS must be the worse neurological disease out there next to Huntington's because it can mimic any other neurological disease and the disability has a wide range of presentation that can come and go with no rhyme or reason and the course is variable. Richard Cohen I enjoyed this book which discusses a formerly virile man who has to adjust his expectations of himself once MS came to rule his life. He talks about the anger he had for having a chronic disease that was intractable. It turns out that MS must be the worse neurological disease out there next to Huntington's because it can mimic any other neurological disease and the disability has a wide range of presentation that can come and go with no rhyme or reason and the course is variable. Richard Cohen was a man who was diagnosed with MS @ age 25 and who has coped with chronic illness ever since. He says that his illness is a family affair and issue b/c it affects every other member of his family. He was an oppositional defiant kid who was against anything that had to do with the status quo. As kid involved in politics, he was taught perseverance and resourcefulness that served him well later in his life when battling MS. In an ironic twist of fate Cohen was working on PBS series on disability when his MS symptoms started. Cohen's father diagnosed him with MS b/c he himself had the illness. Cohen tolerance for ambiguity was low so that he was annoyed when he got MS. MS was present to teach him patience and to be comfortable with ambiguity. It disrupted how his life operated and how he conducted business. To him in the 70's a diagnosis condemned him to a life that was doomed b/c there were no treatment. His first coping mechanism was denial not wanting to admit that he was different, that he was like everyone else. For him, denial gave him hope and and cope. "Denail allows any individual with a problem to invent his or her personal reality and to move forward with life in the belief that he or she is in control and can do what needs to be done to keep going." MS symptoms were unpredictable and not stereotyped so no one knows when the disability would strike and what symptom it would show. Since no one knew what treatment would work for MS, Cohen learned antipathy toward young doctors who would use him as an experiment. The first time that he admitted to himself he had MS, Cohen told Koppel that he had it. With that the conception of self changed from someone who was ok albeit with unspecified illness to have MS disease. The loss of control was unnerving and confidence for the future gone. The certainty of success had cracked b/c it was clear that illness was going to touch everything in his life. Anger was his constant companion. Denial of the diagnosis was evolving into a refusal to accept limitations and the determinations to keep my life on track. I guess the first time I admitted to myself that I had XDP was my mass email to my family members after reading Paula by Isabel Allende. Cohen's paternal grandmother, Celia, was eccentric for her age. His father kept a stiff upper lip and tried to go on as though nothing was wrong. He would rather keep problems to himself rather than burden other people about it. I am the same way that is the reason why I initially did not want to talk about the XDP. His father told him to be quiet about his affliction. Cohen went to graduate school and in his final year went blind from MS. Cohen learned that telling people about a debilitating disease means losing the job so he just never told anyone. But for him, it felt like he was telling a lie of his life. Candor and his career were enemies. In order to be hired by CBS, he needed to fake the fact that he had MS and pretend that he was a healthy man. Bc of his MS, he needed to work harder than his colleagues to reach the same place while his colleagues did things effortlessly. Even though his MS was present, the fact that he was working with the best made him forget about his illness. From Teddy, Cohen learned about strength and determination. He thought that living in the present by going abroad would make up for his worsening illness so he went to Beirut @ the height of the Israel's incursion versus the PLO. He found other people's misfortunes make his own less in comparison such as being in a war zone. He got a high from being a war correspondence that made his MS symptoms disappear because he was doing something useful with his life. He was defined by his work instead of his illness in MS. He woke up in Beirut one morning and realized that he was alone and lonely. So, he started going out with Meredith Viera b/c they were temperamentally similar. He was upfront with his health problems her so she knew fully what she was getting into but they were so in love that it did not matter any longer. He knew that sickness in a marriage tests the commitment and places enormous stress on the bond. Meredith did not know what she was getting into when they got married and she was chosen to be Cohen's bride. Cohen acknowledge the burden on him in passing a genetic disease to his children but states the way his life turned out more than compensates for his disease. They went on their separate ways towards success but always came together to celebrate. But whereas Meredith thrived in her career, Richard was losing faith in the news as the source for truthtelling which instead pandered to its audience in an ever rising quest for ratings. MS is much worse than dystonia b/c one has no way of knowing what they symptom it present there is no fix course of disease like in dystonia. Cohen was certain in his naive faith that he would come out unscathed in this whole process. In '86, CBS was now run by people who wanted to maximize profits and thus the decline of good fact based journalism in favor of media sensationalism. People who have disease in which they have no control over seek outlets where they have control for Cohen that crusade/outlet is his job as a journalist. His insistence for journalism as the harbinger of truth in society eventually made him a mistake that destroyed the chance of going back to CBS. Having a child, normalized Cohen's life. But the stresses of having a child, brought on blindness again to which Cohen was given steroids which made him gain weight and cause him to have mood swings favoring depression. Cohen was loosing faith in his neurologists for not able to come to grips with his MS. Cohen liked being a father who stays at hime while Meredith flew on assignment for her new position in 60 min. Thankfully, MS does not cause pain just numbness and motor loss. His denial of MS served as hope to get over the limitations of his debilitating disease. Although Cohen wanted to move the burbs, Mark a friend, told him that living in the burbs would be impossible b/c of his physical limitations and the fact that everything was far apart from each other. Denial to him is the assumption that things will work out when their is no chance that it will. I am guilty of this. Perhaps, the reason why I am so confused by M. Dyn2's emotional response to XDP is that I always assumed that everything will work out or possibly I just kept on doing things that I always did because that is the only way I know how to live. Because his symptoms became readily apparent to all, his defense mechanism of denial was no longer an option. Meredith was having problems balancing work with family life though she clearly told the producer that family was her #1 priority, the old men's network insisted on separating work and play and thus looked unkindly towards Meredith's motherly role in the office. Meredith quit CBS b/c of her dedication to motherhood overrode any dedication to career advancement. Finally, he told the children about MS and his candor in private led to a gradual candor in public. After falling a lot, he got a cane so his disease became public knowledge. But, blindness came to be the defining feature of Cohen's MS. He talks about how blindness effects his daily living and how he has learned to use his other senses to compensate from his blindness. With his MS, Cohen learns the value of patience. Meredith talks about Cohen's MS to demystify it. Cohen's MS effects his cognition to the point that simple things are complicated for him. He was newly diagnosed with colon cancer and b/c of the post-op pain it triggered his MS. But after his surgery, he was diagnosed again with colon cancer with possible liver metastasis. Good thing that he had children and a wife to consider so he had a reason to live. Knowledge takes the place of emotions. He was lucky that the cancer itself was not painful. His ileostomy from intestinal resection provided him with a quality of life issue. Again, he was faced by the lack of control in his life which mortified him. Complications with his bowels made him feel emasculated b/c he could not control when or where he pooped. He felt out of control and needed perspective so he met a colleague named Larry who was trapped in his own body and considered suicide an option to a life with no movement. After his cancer, he turned inward on himself that perpetuated his deep depression. A classic male mistake is to confuse silence with strength b/c it is harder to admit weakness than needing help. Cancer and its subsequent complications made him an angry man even in front of his children. With the complications of surgery plus the impotence with his neurologists to control his MS, no wonder he has no faith in doctors and medical science to fix his problems. He vacillates between anger and denial its polar opposite. The children are the casualties of his unpredictable outburst. As his public falls become more of an issue, his illness changes from a private scene into a public sphere. His children began to ask whether they will get MS like their father. Ben the eldest seems to be the dictator of the family taking responsibility of the family. Gabe the middle child is laid back and has no audience to play too so is free to do what is in his mind. Gabe mentioned to Richard that he was scared of seeing his parent in an invalid state. Richard was angry that his kids had to see him in such an emasculated state. Self-consciousness self-absorption became the by-product of illness. Apparently, he states that our families are beside us as casualties to our illness. Their kids became optimist drilled into them by their father's illness. The tabloids portrayed as the martyr while her husband is the invalid hanger-on who compromised Meredith's career. Richard set the record straight by saying that they are happy people who are quirky and reclusive who like to hang out with family. Meredith loved Richard initially b/c the MS disease proceeded in a slow and clumsy manner. There common activity that initially bonded them was their love of running competing within themselves rather than against each other. While Meredith ran toward something, Richard was constantly running away from something. Richard admits that an initial relationship built on equality, is destroyed by his illness. Although they prided themselves in having a modern relationship of equals, he was still devastated that Meredith was rising while he was decreasing in stature which effected his self-esteem. Except for the fact that he has a family to be responsible for, he would have given up a long time ago rather than being a burden to them. Meredith became the rock in their family both financially and emotionally. According to Richard, heat is the enemy of MS. His pain in his staggering walk was more emotional than physical but his inability to take care of himself morphed into a type of self-loathing. He needs to make peace with his limitations that the disease created for him which is also an endless search for self-esteem. He states in a culture that celebrate men who have strength and are self-reliant, his needing help seems out of step with this culture. He yearns to be the indestructible father that his kids can look up to. He has not forgiven himself for having a debilitating illness. He seems to be a prisoner of what common culture dictates a man should be. He now measures his success by the success of his kids instead of his own accomplishments. He wants his children to learn than they are more fortunate than others and become sensitive to the misfortune of others. He learns to accept help from others. Whereas his kids seems to accept him as a person, he does not accept himself a person with a disease. In the end, disease taught him personal growth but he still needs to learn that there are things he cannot be.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    This book reveals some important truths which come with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Mr. Cohen shares the daily frustrations, the impact on family, and the triumphs which come from learning the balance between pushing yourself and knowing when you must accept your limitations. The unseen struggles can be the most difficult. The following hit home. "... cognitive problems had become the most threatening, yet the quietest, of MS enemies. Outsiders see the canes and wheelchairs and can know ma This book reveals some important truths which come with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Mr. Cohen shares the daily frustrations, the impact on family, and the triumphs which come from learning the balance between pushing yourself and knowing when you must accept your limitations. The unseen struggles can be the most difficult. The following hit home. "... cognitive problems had become the most threatening, yet the quietest, of MS enemies. Outsiders see the canes and wheelchairs and can know many of the problems, but they cannot really understand the slow, secret pain of a mind that is slowly ceasing to work as it should." "I seek safe passage across the black holes, the dark and silent pockets of the mind. Where once there was precision of specific words, information or ideas, now there are halting silences. Vacuums. I cannot reach deeply enough into myself to pull them out intact or in time to make my point." This book touched me. I highly recommend it, whether you are living with MS, Cancer, or another disease, or you have a family member or friend who is, it gives a glimpse into the reality of someone living with an incurable disease.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Denise Junker

    The reviews do not explain this book properly. It is a memoir of real reactions to a life of disability and illness. There is anger and low self-image. As the chipper ending occurs, the honest reactions coupled with work still achieved are more enduring to me than reflections on self-awareness and hope for children's learning for the better. I connected with the anger lived and the lessons learned, not the last few pages of dreams of hope. Not that I don't have the same dreams, but I feel they hi The reviews do not explain this book properly. It is a memoir of real reactions to a life of disability and illness. There is anger and low self-image. As the chipper ending occurs, the honest reactions coupled with work still achieved are more enduring to me than reflections on self-awareness and hope for children's learning for the better. I connected with the anger lived and the lessons learned, not the last few pages of dreams of hope. Not that I don't have the same dreams, but I feel they hinder. Balance for me is a goal. It gets a star off for some areas of repetitivness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Craig K.

    This book is a revealing look at the impact of multiple sclerosis on one man’s life. As such, it will give insight to those seeking to understand how this disease changes things immeasurably for those living with this ailment. It will not, however, provide insight into how to respond to such an illness in a healthy manner. Cohen openly shares his persistent response of anger, which often bleeds over into the lives of others – especially his family. From this perspective, it is unlikely individua This book is a revealing look at the impact of multiple sclerosis on one man’s life. As such, it will give insight to those seeking to understand how this disease changes things immeasurably for those living with this ailment. It will not, however, provide insight into how to respond to such an illness in a healthy manner. Cohen openly shares his persistent response of anger, which often bleeds over into the lives of others – especially his family. From this perspective, it is unlikely individuals struggling with MS will find this to be a helpful book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I think he author did a wonderful job presenting a difficult life. He provided magnificent insight on life with chronic illness and an incurable disease. I love the way he blended his family, his career, his love and his dreams into a memoir that would be hard for anyone to write. The author did a great job of being open and honest without depressing the reader.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steve Webster

    This is a very honest and unflattering account of a man's struggle with illness. I was mildly disappointed in this due to finding it in a Christian library. The story contains no elements of faith or acknowledgement of a greater being so it is the tragic struggle of man against himself. This is a very honest and unflattering account of a man's struggle with illness. I was mildly disappointed in this due to finding it in a Christian library. The story contains no elements of faith or acknowledgement of a greater being so it is the tragic struggle of man against himself.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Schoenig

    An interesting insight into chronic illness and how one copes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    In this book Cohen documents his 30 year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. What was it like to have a definitive diagnosis? How has the disease manifest itself? How has MS impacted his family - his wife, Meredith Viera, and their three children? What is it like to see his physical prowess ebb? What happens when he learns that he has cancer in addition to MS? This is a quick read. It’s about coping. Cohen describes the subtle changes to his body and how he's tried to live as normal a life as possib In this book Cohen documents his 30 year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. What was it like to have a definitive diagnosis? How has the disease manifest itself? How has MS impacted his family - his wife, Meredith Viera, and their three children? What is it like to see his physical prowess ebb? What happens when he learns that he has cancer in addition to MS? This is a quick read. It’s about coping. Cohen describes the subtle changes to his body and how he's tried to live as normal a life as possible for all of these years. The opening quote is the definition of coping: cope - a) to maintain a contest or combat usually on even terms or with success; b) to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficulties. And underneath that dictionary definition it says (in italics): That sounds simple enough. In the preface he says: For me, coping must be relearned every single day. Adjusting is not taught at any famous university and will never be advertised on a matchbook cover. Learning to live with adversity is instinctive and self-taught. It is the stuff of life. I think that we're all working on coping with the unexpected things that life presents to us. We just never can predict what's coming next. This book flows; Cohen is insightful and courageous. I found it particularly valuable in my endless attempt to fathom the male view of physical sickness, fallibility, and imperfection: Then what does define a diminished person? Common culture creates male expectations that are conventional if not shallow. We like to beat our chests and cut notches on our belts. Strong muscles and clear vision, the ability to kick the ball a mile and push the pedal to the metal, seem too trivial to amount to much. A good life requires something more sensitive and special than that. Rising above the prosaic patterns of male life in America can be difficult, even for one who sees through the thin veneer of masculinity and recognizes the trap he cannot seem to stop falling into. We are but prisoners of the standard measure. (p. 230) I finished the book, and it is a compelling read. My one hesitation is that cumulatively it hits you hard and feels like a bit too much to stomach, but then that’s the reality of living with a chronic illness.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    The pacing of the book is haphazard and I almost set it down when I came to the chapter about colon cancer. However, the narrative pulls together for two very strong concluding chapters, about his present life with Meredith Vieria and their three children. In chapter twelve, "Meredith," Cohen remembers when their dating relationship was deepening. "The talk of illness slowly fell away. We kept moving, forward, as if by plan. And we stayed in motion. 'You were somebody who liked to go out and jus The pacing of the book is haphazard and I almost set it down when I came to the chapter about colon cancer. However, the narrative pulls together for two very strong concluding chapters, about his present life with Meredith Vieria and their three children. In chapter twelve, "Meredith," Cohen remembers when their dating relationship was deepening. "The talk of illness slowly fell away. We kept moving, forward, as if by plan. And we stayed in motion. 'You were somebody who liked to go out and just walk around the city for hours. Do you remember that?' Meredith asks. 'That was your idea of a date. Once, we took the Staten Island Ferry and walked to midtown. You must remember that. Oy. You were so weird. You had a strange idea of a date.'" This was more interesting than the previous chapters recounting different career moves and covering various political events of the 1980s. Meredith's memory about their dating life tells us more about Richard Cohen than his working with Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite. "'I wish you could drive,' Meredith says to me in exasperation. 'I cannot, Meredith,' my hypercalm answer always comes. 'I know you can't, Richard,' she concedes apologetically. 'I just wish you could.' Right. 'So do I,' comes the last word. This is our ritual." This is the main source of hopefulness that the reader takes away from Cohen's slim memoir: that he managed to find the gracious and charming Meredith Vieria to be his companion through his illnesses. What a blessing for him. When I watched "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", I didn't know about her home life. I'm glad I do now; my appreciation of her is deepened.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right? Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a stoic? Sometimes, but not others. Does Cohen think it's a good idea to hide il At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right? Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a stoic? Sometimes, but not others. Does Cohen think it's a good idea to hide illness from children? Yes, until he no longer does. Is illness a gift or a curse? A gift, of course, but one he'd willingly trade for a used car. Fundamentally, I could have dealt with the vacillating viewpoints, but for one thing: Cohen repeatedly insists that people who live with chronic illness are somehow less than other people. He focuses intently on the image of a diminished person, a diminished life. Not exactly what I expected from a book whose subtitle is "Lifting a Life Above Illness."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Edwards

    There is no way around it, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir is a heavy read. Richard M. Cohen carries anger at the Multiple Sclerosis that has so marked his life around with him wherever he goes. If you have MS or know a loved one who does, I recommend you read this. Anger aside, this is unlike other MS memoirs. Richard was diagnosed four decades ago, well before the disease modifying therapies currently on the market existed. He offers a different world view of MS and There is no way around it, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir is a heavy read. Richard M. Cohen carries anger at the Multiple Sclerosis that has so marked his life around with him wherever he goes. If you have MS or know a loved one who does, I recommend you read this. Anger aside, this is unlike other MS memoirs. Richard was diagnosed four decades ago, well before the disease modifying therapies currently on the market existed. He offers a different world view of MS and has plenty to teach, including ways to cope. There is a lesson in this for all of us who face life looking into the vast unknown that is a chronic disease. Best of all, Richard is writer. Words are his profession, and this MS memoir is the most well written I have read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mel Ostrov

    Rolling with the Punches “Enjoyable” would be the wrong word to describe this book; “admirable” and “pathetic” seem more appropriate. You have to empathize with this famous couple who retain their love despite overwhelming adversity. Your heart aches upon learning that the author, Richard Cohen, had to battle cancer in addition to an incurable neurological deterioration that includes loss of vision. You have to admire the way he adjusts to a hopeless situation. Furthermore, his renowned wife, M Rolling with the Punches “Enjoyable” would be the wrong word to describe this book; “admirable” and “pathetic” seem more appropriate. You have to empathize with this famous couple who retain their love despite overwhelming adversity. Your heart aches upon learning that the author, Richard Cohen, had to battle cancer in addition to an incurable neurological deterioration that includes loss of vision. You have to admire the way he adjusts to a hopeless situation. Furthermore, his renowned wife, Meredith Vieira, deserves utmost respect for her continued love and support after marrying with the knowledge she could be facing a lifetime of disability. The memoir is relatively short, occasionally repetitive and generally not as informative as would be expected. For example, references to the children’s adjustment to the situation were not extensive. But let’s just hope none of them inherits that horrible gene.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    This memoir was very painful to read for someone who identifies as easily as I do with others' struggles. Mr. Cohen is an incredibly strong and persistent fellow who never seems to actually accept his limitations. In many ways, this refusal to admit the extent of his disability helps him to live up to his own expectations and to go beyond what others might be able to accomplish with lesser determination. Yet Richard has such a hard time forgiving his body and himself for his lack of physical apt This memoir was very painful to read for someone who identifies as easily as I do with others' struggles. Mr. Cohen is an incredibly strong and persistent fellow who never seems to actually accept his limitations. In many ways, this refusal to admit the extent of his disability helps him to live up to his own expectations and to go beyond what others might be able to accomplish with lesser determination. Yet Richard has such a hard time forgiving his body and himself for his lack of physical aptness. One wishes for the almost perfect-seeming approach of the author's father, who has had to face M.S. himself. I hope readers will come to see that there are as many ways of coping as there are people, and there is no single correct approach to dealing with what life has to deal out. We all bring our own personalities and competencies (or lack thereof) to whatever befalls us. And sometimes "mind over matter" does not work!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Cohen's memoir jumped off the shelf at me because I have been wanting to know more about multiple sclerosis. This chronic illness afflicts someone very near and dear to me. Although I learned quite a bit from Cohen's book, it also left me with quite a few unanswered questions: How was his marriage affected? What triggered episodes? I appreciated the clarity of Cohen's writing and his ability to describe both his anger over having the illness and the joys of being a husband and father. Coming to t Cohen's memoir jumped off the shelf at me because I have been wanting to know more about multiple sclerosis. This chronic illness afflicts someone very near and dear to me. Although I learned quite a bit from Cohen's book, it also left me with quite a few unanswered questions: How was his marriage affected? What triggered episodes? I appreciated the clarity of Cohen's writing and his ability to describe both his anger over having the illness and the joys of being a husband and father. Coming to terms with MS seems to be similar to the stages of grief. In Cohen's case, he also had to face the fears and horrors of colon cancer. He begins the book with a dictionary definition of "cope" and throughout his memoir he returns to that word. Considering the dignity with which he leads his life, "triumph" might be a better word choice than "cope."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I have mixed feelings about this book. It was thought provoking and really made me look at myself and family and the time that we get to spend together. I really value all of it and would not trade anything for them but this book really had an angry/sad/mad tone to it. I understand that living with MS and multiple cancers it not a happy situation but this was not what I was expecting. I cringed when reading about how Richard would yell at his children and wife because of his heath issues. Again, I have mixed feelings about this book. It was thought provoking and really made me look at myself and family and the time that we get to spend together. I really value all of it and would not trade anything for them but this book really had an angry/sad/mad tone to it. I understand that living with MS and multiple cancers it not a happy situation but this was not what I was expecting. I cringed when reading about how Richard would yell at his children and wife because of his heath issues. Again, I am sure this is somewhat common when living in a household with someone who has major medical issues but I could never deal with someone who treated me that way emotionally. I guess if you can get past the negativity then read this book otherwise I would pass.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Richard Cohen has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years. He chose not to be defined by it and to live each day as it comes. I think he managed to do just that until a second bout with colon cancer almost did him in physically as well as mentally. In the end as much as he would like to have lived a normal life, he wonders if he would have some of the same desirable attributes to his personality that having a chronic illness has given him. He is married to Meredith Viera and has three ch Richard Cohen has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years. He chose not to be defined by it and to live each day as it comes. I think he managed to do just that until a second bout with colon cancer almost did him in physically as well as mentally. In the end as much as he would like to have lived a normal life, he wonders if he would have some of the same desirable attributes to his personality that having a chronic illness has given him. He is married to Meredith Viera and has three children. What a great marriage they have and what great parents they are. This was hard to put down.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jill Barton

    I love this book. I have multiple sclerosis & had been searching for anything on the subject but particularly I wanted something that was honest & real, more of a memoir. I was going thru a particularly severe ms relapse when My husband happened to see Mr. Cohen on tv when he was talking about his new book Strong At The Broken Places. My husband went searching for Strong At The Broken Places & also found Blindsided of course he bought both books & surprised me with them. I was hooked & am truly I love this book. I have multiple sclerosis & had been searching for anything on the subject but particularly I wanted something that was honest & real, more of a memoir. I was going thru a particularly severe ms relapse when My husband happened to see Mr. Cohen on tv when he was talking about his new book Strong At The Broken Places. My husband went searching for Strong At The Broken Places & also found Blindsided of course he bought both books & surprised me with them. I was hooked & am truly a fan of Mr. Cohen. He tells it like it is with no sugar coating & humor. That's something I can relate to. Thank You Mr. Cohen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Having just read the very last sentence I have tears in my eyes from the strong emotions I feel upon it's end. Words can't describe how well written and truly honest this book is. It will touch your heart and soul. This book will take you to places within your psyche that are so painful, gut wrenching and raw you will wonder how Richard could write in ways that you have always felt but were unable to put into words. I have MS and have read many books on the subject of living with a chronic illness Having just read the very last sentence I have tears in my eyes from the strong emotions I feel upon it's end. Words can't describe how well written and truly honest this book is. It will touch your heart and soul. This book will take you to places within your psyche that are so painful, gut wrenching and raw you will wonder how Richard could write in ways that you have always felt but were unable to put into words. I have MS and have read many books on the subject of living with a chronic illness. This is by far the best. If you or your family is living with illness this book is should be on the top of your reading to-do list.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    An interesting read, especially for someone with a chronic illness. Although the author's illness is dissimilar in many ways to my own, the resulting situation is still much the same. Feelings of being less than whole, and the difficulty in coping with such a situation day in and day out. I found the book to be inspiring, especially as I seem to be starting out in my journey, and the author has been on this road for some 30 years and is raising children. A good read, both for understanding chron An interesting read, especially for someone with a chronic illness. Although the author's illness is dissimilar in many ways to my own, the resulting situation is still much the same. Feelings of being less than whole, and the difficulty in coping with such a situation day in and day out. I found the book to be inspiring, especially as I seem to be starting out in my journey, and the author has been on this road for some 30 years and is raising children. A good read, both for understanding chronic illness and for learning the coping mechanisms of another sufferer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Nicole

    Richard Cohen, a man afflicted with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer, writes about his experiences dealing with illness with denial, anger, and finally acceptance. His frank honesty in dealing with multiple sclerosis since his diagnosis at 25 is inspiring and makes the average healthy individual thankful for everything he or she often takes for granted. His worry about passing the condition on to his children is painful as his worry about being a strong role model because of his physical limi Richard Cohen, a man afflicted with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer, writes about his experiences dealing with illness with denial, anger, and finally acceptance. His frank honesty in dealing with multiple sclerosis since his diagnosis at 25 is inspiring and makes the average healthy individual thankful for everything he or she often takes for granted. His worry about passing the condition on to his children is painful as his worry about being a strong role model because of his physical limitations.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.