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What Doesn't Kill You

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Publication date: February 02, 2021

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What Doesn't Kill You

A Life with Chronic Illness - Lessons from a Body in Revolt


A riveting and candid account of a young journalist's awakening to a life of chronic illness, weaving together her personal story with reporting to shed light on how Americans live with long-term diagnoses today.

Tessa Miller was an ambitious twentysomething writer in New York City when, on a random fall day, her stomach began to seize up. At first, she tried to push through the searing pain, taking time off work and staying home, glued to the toilet. But when it became glaringly apparent something was wrong, Miller gave in to her family's requests and went to the hospital-and thus started a years-long personal nightmare that included procedures, misdiagnoses, and life-threatening infections. Once Miller was finally correctly diagnosed with Crohn's disease, she had yet another new battle to face: accepting that she will, in truth, never get better.

Today, 3 in 5 adults in the United States suffer from a chronic ailment, whether the illness is endometriosis, IBD, IBS, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, asthma, depression, anxiety, diabetes, or any other chronic ailment. However, despite the prevalence of these illnesses and the impact they have on just about everyone-whether the sufferer is a colleague, a loved one, or you personally-there remains an air of shame and isolation around the topic. Millions endure these diseases alone, not only physically but also emotionally, balancing the stress of relationships and work amidst the ever-looming threat of health complications.

Moving from Miller's maddening yet all too relatable experience into a deeper look at how the medical community handles chronic illness, What Doesn't Kill You exposes the realities of what it means to accept a lifetime diagnosis, pushing past the good, the bad, and the ugly to offer wisdom and solidarity for those trying to make sense of it all.

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