By: Grace Moon | September 25, 2015
One of the last things an “able-bodied” young person thinks about is suddenly coming down with a mysterious crippling illness for which doctors only have the slightest idea how to manage let along
One of the last things an “able-bodied” young person thinks about is suddenly coming down with a mysterious crippling illness for which doctors only have the slightest idea how to manage let along cure. Yet this is the fate of author Ellis Avery who describes her ordeal in “On Fear” out on Amazon’s Kindle Singles.
Avery is the author of two award winning novels, “The Tea House Fire” and “The Last Nude” (Riverhead). In the last few years Avery has focused on writing a memoir, “The Family Tooth,” exploring a series of life circumstances including the death of her mother and navigating a life-threatening illness.
In 2009 Avery was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis, a condition caused by one of the many autoimmune disorders that afflict between 23 and 50 million Americans a year. Under the guidance of doctors she was prescribed two medications, one of which, Humira, is in a category of drug cited by the FDA as correlating with an increase in a rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma among juvenile and adolescent patients. In just over two and a half years later (the amount of time the FDA warned the cancer could show itself) Avery became one of the unlucky statics diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma.
“On Fear” continues with Avery taking on her oncologist, getting a second opinion and investigating “alternative” healing modalities from meditation to a strict and punishing diet and even getting a cat. Avery did not eschew modern treatment altogether, but after the requisite surgery she postponed traditional treatments recommended by her specialist. I won’t ruin the rest of the story for you, its a compelling read as Avery puzzles through her illness both physically and emotionally.
Perhaps after reading “On Fear” you will want to double back to Avery’s first Kindle Single, “The Sapphire and the Tooth“, a story which constructs a picture of the author’s mother, a character whose shadow is felt in “On Fear”. “The Family Tooth” is dubbed as essays on grief, illness and food. In a way the slow release of each chapter of the “The Family Tooth”, builds the kind of momentum like a good cable series, leaving the reader anticipating the next episode. The next single, “Good Bye Ruby” is coming soon. You can keep up on Amazon’s author page.