Book Reveiw 7-21
Sunday, November 9, 2008

By Denise Turney

Imagine you are a neurologist.  You study the brain.  You spend your days helping other people recover from brain illnesses.  On top of that you have a brother who has been suffering from a mental illness for several years.  You and your parents try but have yet been unable to see him healed.   You’re well respected in your field.  You chair organizations and create ways for others to find their way back from brain injuries.
But there’s one crucial thing.  You don’t count on becoming a patient.  You don’t count on becoming sick.  You don’t count on becoming someone another talented neurologist will study and treat.
This is the true story of what happened to the author of My Stroke of Insight.  Jill Bolte Taylor woke up one morning the way she had always done.  She wasn’t awake long when she realized that something was very odd.  Her mind worked differently and doing the simplest things like dialing for help on the telephone took extreme focus and concentration.  Her knowledge of the brain served as a safety net and kept her from panicking.  It took awhile for her to realize that she was having a stroke as she lost more ability to care for herself.  Soon she was in the hospital being poked and prodded like millions of others.
My Stroke of Insight is the first20book I have read where a physician with volumes of knowledge about an illness was impacted by the very illness they had studied for years.  Jill does a magnificent job of taking readers through what she experienced when she first noticed she was having a stroke.  It’s not terrifying; it’s enlightening.  The book includes a list of signs readers can look for that might indicate a stroke.
What stood out to be most about My Stroke of Insight was the difference in how the right and left brains work.    She also lost her ability to judge and to criticize.  I found this fascinating as I’m sure others will as well.  As Jill’s brain began to heal, a process that took eight years of constant effort, Jill started to dream again.  She also began to experience anxious thoughts, judgments and the temptation to blame and criticize.  But she’d learned that there was another way and she chose it.  She chose not to give into old thoughts and blame or find fault. She chose to enjoy life, find its joy and jump right into it.
My Stroke of Insight shows that a person can fully recover from having a stroke.  It also shows that if we recognize the signs of a stroke, we can get help before the stroke becomes full blown.  More importantly, My Stroke of Insight shows that each of us can choose love and joy anytime we want, right where we are. 

Visit Denise online at  Read excerpts from Denise’s two new books online FREE by e-mailing with “Request New Free Excerpts” in the subject line.


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