An adventure seeking woman interested in making a difference in the world, Cherie travels to Zambia with the Peace Corps in 1994. Amidst teaching the locals how to build a trench latrine to help decontaminate their water source Cherie comes down with a series of symptoms that the medical team is unable to solve. Her eventual diagnosis of Malaria does not explain all of her symptoms, but she ignores it and keeps stubbornly pushing forward with her life and education. Then in 2004 thing reach critical mass and she is stricken with horrendous pain and a whole new slew of symptoms. What follows is a multi-year odyssey through multiple doctors, tests, treatments – both traditional and non-traditional – and some serious soul searching.
Cherie’s story is an inspiring one. Despite a number of very terrible events, and some royally terrible bad luck, she fought through her pain – both mental and physical – to make it through to the other side. This is very much a memoir and not a self-help book, and as such shouldn’t be looked at as a guide to figuring out your own elusive ailments, but it does offer hope and inspiration for those stuck with their own undiagnosed diseases. The book is written in first person, and in a completely conversational style that invites readers in along for the ride and easily evokes emotional responses as the story progresses.
The book’s narrative ends in 2011, and while that may complete the bulk of her journey towards health, some readers may feel the book is a little incomplete since there is no note as to what Cherie’s been up to between 2011-2017, as the book has only just been published September of this year. A short afterword may not have been amiss for those wondering whether or not her health continued to improve over time.
A Few Minor Adjustments is an engaging memoir whose title greatly understates the struggles the author endured and is well worth the read.
Whitney Smyth received a Master’s in Book Publishing and Technical Writing at Portland State University, following a Bachelor’s in English at the University of Arizona. She took over ownership of Portland Book Review in December of 2014. She also works as a freelance editor and can be commissioned at Smyth Editorial Services and spends what little free time she has on her own writing. Coming from a family of readers she devours an average of one hundred books a year, in a variety of genres. Her favorite authors are far too numerous to list, but include Alexandre Dumas, Mary Shelley, Jim Butcher, and John Green.
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