“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” Book Summary
“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” is an autobiographic novel written by Chris Tatevosian who tells his personal experience as a patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). The book traces Chris’s life from early childhood, young adulthood that came with the first symptoms of his cruel disease, and adult life and first marriage to Rachel. The author also recalls how his relationship with the first wife started deteriorating and ended because of his “poor-attitude” towards his conditions, low self esteem, and lack of communication.
Who is the author of “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me”?
Chris Tatevosian grew up as a normal child, went to college and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and a minor in Chemistry. He was diagnosed with the horrible disease in 1980, but the causes of MS are not known.
Multiple sclerosis is an incurable condition that affects the immune system. This causes body’s own defense system to attack the myelin coating protecting the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. The nerves become irreversible damaged, and the brain will no longer be able to correctly transmit information o the other organs, including to the muscles. As a result, people suffering from MS usually have movement problems (unable to walk), muscle weakness and spasms, or vision problems. Although a cause for this disease has not been established, it is believed that individuals with certain genes are more likely to develop MS. Smoking has been identified as another potential risk factor, as well as viral infections that affect the immune system (such as the Epstein Barr virus or the human herpesvirus6)
Chris Tatevosian started writing this novel some years after his first relationship ended with a divorce. He identifies the main causes that lead to this sad ending, and hopes his book will help other MS patients not make the same mistakes as he did. Anger, stress, and frustration are only a few of the reasons why things got out of control and damaged his relationship with Rachel up to a point of no return. Chris is now remarried and lives with his new wife and kids in Massachusetts.
What does “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” try to convey?
When he was first diagnosed, Chris perceived it like it was a “relapsing remitting” type of MS. However things would take a completely different turn in 1993 when the diagnosis changed to “progressive”. It was the first year into Chris’ marriage to Rachel. By the end of 1995 his vision and right leg numbness had evolved to such a degree that he had to give up driving and couldn’t perform normal tasks anymore.
“Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” also includes a table indicating his treatment, symptoms and effects over the years, while revealing an alternative method that would help his symptoms improve considerably in the later years of his disease. Besides providing accurate information about the disease itself, the book is also a confession of the author who reveals its inner fears, frustration, and all the other feelings he felt the entire time he had to face this cruel disease. Chris also confesses that his greatest loss to the disease is his first wife. He mostly blames himself for not being able to cope with the changes brought about by multiple sclerosis. Still, in retrospect Chris was able to objectively analyze its situation and become aware of his spiritual, mental and emotional situation, which determined him to write “Life Interrupted” and try to help other individuals in its situation.
The book illustrates the impact of a chronic illness on a couple’s relationship and how it can be negatively affected by a resigned attitude and the stress that comes out of it. It is particularly important for all those who are trying to cope with such a disease and maintain a positive attitude in front of a sealed faith.
Is “Life Interrupted: It’s not all about me” worth your time?
The book is not an attempt of some writer who only writes from a theoretical point of view trying to give unsolicited advice. It is the sincere confession of a sick person who has been struggling with an incurable disease for over three decades. A person who wants to help others, understand their feelings and cope with them so they will not repeat mistakes. Understanding your feelings and knowing that it is normal and ok to feel helpless, useless, abandoned, and frustrated is the first step towards accepting an illness. Dealing with these feelings and being able to keep them under control (not letting them control you) may be the premises for maintaining an active social life and even healthy relationships. “Life Interrupted” talks about these feeling, but does not try to generalize one’s situation. It merely tells the story of a guy who made mistakes that he was later able to admit. Healthy people and those who find themselves in the situation of fighting with incurable conditions can benefit from reading this inspiring novel.