I went to the library yesterday which probably wasn't a good idea given how tired I felt but I'm glad I did because I was able to check out "Alchemy of Illness" by Kat Duff along with another book called "Finding the Way Home: A compassionate approach to illness" by Gayle Heiss. Both look very good.
I found this passage in "Finding the Way Home" (p. 142-143):
Accepting illness is a way of making it our own. It is a creative act, unique to each individual. It requires all the curiosity, imagination, intuition, commitment, and faith necessary to any other creative endeavor. We work with what we are given and use whatever tools we can find, often discovering we have many more resources than we thought. The act of accepting illness changes not only the experience of illness; we undergo a metamorphosis as well.
Flying without Wings is an account of Arnold Beisser's life since the onset of polio at age twenty-five. It left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breath outside an iron lung. Beisser had just completed medical school and won a national tennis championship when "without warning my body failed me. In a few hours I was transformed from a doctor into a patient, from an athlete to a cripple. Polio ravaged me so I that I could not move. I could not stand, walk, sit, eat, drink, or even breathe by myself."
My physical world had shrunk to the small room that contained my iron lung. My field of vision was limited to the ceiling and what was reflected in the mirror on my iron lung. In the evening, when the world grew darker, my world shrank further. I could no longer see the pattern on the ceiling, and the reflection in the mirror was dim. Not until two years later, in my fourth hospitalization, could I turn my head to the side enough to look down a corridor outside my room.
One evening, lying there alone, feeling particularly hopeless and bored, I looked down the corridor wishing for, perhaps expecting, someone or something. But I saw only the darkened hallway with a few doors opening into it. There was no activity, and there were no people to be seen. My despair mounted, and I felt as though I could no longer stand it. Then, slowly, I began to see variations, shades of gray and darkness, shadows and light. The doorways opening onto the corridor formed subtle geometric patterns according to the different ways the doors were ajar. I began to look carefully and wonder at this scene that only a few moments before had depressed me so. It now seemed startlingly beautiful. My perception had shifted, my eyes miraculously refreshed. This experience was full and whole. I looked down the hallway for a long time. I think that at last I probably fell asleep, but I a not sure.
I do not know how that perception arrived, or why it left, but from then on I understood that what I sought was possible. My task now was to discover how to change from one place to the other. (as quoted from Heiss, p. 142-143)
I thought that was pretty cool.