WALK IT OFF by RUTH MARSHALL

Title: WALK IT OFF

Subtitle: The true (and oddly hilarious) story of how I learned to stand, walk, pee, run, and even have sex again, after a nightmarish diagnosis turned my perfectly awesome life upside down

Author: RUTH MARSHALL

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTO-BIOGRAPHY

Length: 257 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER ARC

Received From: GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

Release Date: JANUARY 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7362-2

Price: $26.00 CDN / $21.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

First off, let me say that I ADORE the title of this book. I generally am averse to book covers with long subtitles, however this book would not have caught my eye without it.

I was lucky enough to win an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) from GOODREADS and I am very glad I did.

This memoir chronicles one woman’s journey to find out what was causing the bizarre symptoms she was experiencing, through diagnosis, surgery, rehab and beyond.

I suppose I should tell potential readers right away that this is NOT a self-help book. Instead, it is the unflinchingly honest memoir of a woman who goes from leading something closely akin to a charmed life, to discovering that no life is perfect.

I have never met Ruth Marshall, but after reading her story, I feel confident in stating that she is an amazing woman. This is not due to the fact that she is famous (or as famous as any Canadian television actress can be), nor is it because of her health issues. My opinion of Ruth as an amazing woman is based on her honesty.

It could not have been easy to chronicle her medical condition and her efforts at recovery, and yet she has done so while managing to be surprisingly honest. She does not shy away from the “icky” stuff. She talks about everything from poop to sex to shoes.

It’s human nature to want to ‘put your best foot forward’ (yes, pun intended) and to present yourself to the world as close to perfect as possible. However, if this memoir had been written that way, it would not have been authentic, nor would it have been such a compelling read.

Ruth has been able to tell her story in such a way that instead of pitying her, you find yourself following her journey with rabid interest.

You will want to cry at times, yet at others, you will be laughing along with her – and a few times you just might find yourself laughing at her antics.

It may not have been her intention, but this memoir also has lessons to teach us all. Firstly, even though Ruth looked perfectly healthy and happy, she was struggling with a wide variety of symptoms. Not yet diagnosed, and working at a voice acting gig, Ruth says: “I was able to stand for the entire voice session, ignoring the temptation to rest on the stool behind me. Neither the producer nor my voice partner seemed to notice the effort it took for me to remain perfectly upright, making me wonder for the thousandth time: If no one else was noticing, was anything wrong with me.”

This is something that many people struggle with. But, as Ruth proved, it is important to listen to your body and to be your own healthcare advocate. Do NOT ignore your symptoms.

By all accounts, Ruth Marshall is a terrific actress, but I believe she was always meant to be an author.

Judging by the readability of WALK IT OFF, I am sure others will agree. This memoir is destined to become a Bestseller and I would bet money that Ruth Marshall’s name will be on literary lips everywhere in 2018.

I rate WALK IT OFF: THE TRUE (AND ODDLY HILARIOUS) STORY OF HOW I LEARNED TO STAND, WALK, PEE, RUN, AND EVEN HAVE SEX AGAIN, AFTER A NIGHTMARISH DIAGNOSIS TURNED MY PERFECTLY AWESOME LIFE UPSIDE DOWN as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Excerpt from Chapter One:

“I wanted to be an actress from the time I was six years old and have been one since I was twenty-five. My career has been notable for three reasons: I got naked in my first film role; I was in a television series with Billy Ray Cyrus; and for eight seasons I played a Mom on the Canadian teen drama DEGRASSI. The biggest chunk of my career, however, has been made up of commercial voice work. My voice has sold everything from Ikea kitchens to condoms.”

Ruth Marshall was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is known for her work on Casino Jack (2010), Doc (2001) and Dolores Claiborne (1995).

She graduated with a degree in English from McGill University in Montreal and then returned to her hometown of Toronto to pursue a career in acting.

Ruth Marshall made her feature film debut in the lead role of Candy in Love and Human Remains.

Marshall is also a stage actor and was critically acclaimed for her one-woman performance in 4 Letters, 5 Years, which she wrote, produced and starred in.

In 1994, Marshall took on the role of Celeste in Transit of Venus at the Globe Theater in Canada. In addition to her career as an actor, Marshall is also a very accomplished voice actor as well.

Features & TV Movies:
Love & Human Remains (1993)
TekWar: TekJustice (TV-1994)
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Waiting for Michelangelo (1996)
Too Close to Home (TV-1997)
Half a Dozen Babies (TV-1999)
Dogmatic (1999)
Apparent Woes (2006)
Baby Blues (2007)
Daniel`s Daughter (TV-2008)
Degrassi Spring Break Movie (TV-2008)
Casino Jack (2010)

TV Series – Cast:

Wild C.A.T.S. (voice, 1994)
Doc (2001-2004)
The Path to 9/11 (mini-series, 2006)
Degrassi: The Next Generation (2007-)
Flashpoint (2008-2009)
TV Series – Guest appearances:
F/X: The Series (1997)
Power Play (1998)
This is Wonderland (2004)
Zoe Busiek: Wild Card (2005)
Puppets Who Kill (2006)
Love You to Death (2007)
Friends and Heroes (voice, 2007)
The Dating Guy (2009)
She’s the Mayor (2011)
The Listener (2011)
The Firm (2012)
Rookie Blue (2012)

To learn more about Ruth Marshall and her new career as an author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

NORTHERN STARS – CANADA’S CELEBRITY DATABASE

INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE

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BACKBONE: Living With Chronic Pain Without Turning Into One by Best-Selling Author KAREN DUFFY hits shelves on November 7th.

Title: BACKBONE: LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN WITHOUT TURNING INTO ONE   

Author: KAREN DUFFY  

Genre: NON-FICTION, CHRONIC PAIN 

Length: 252 PAGES 

Publisher: ARCADE PUBLISHING an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing     

Type of Book: EBOOK 

Received From: NETGALLEY 

Release Date: NOVEMBER 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781628727951

Price: $22.99 USD 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


DESCRIPTION
:

AN INSPIRATIONAL, PRACTICAL, AND FUNNY GUIDE FOR EVERYONE LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN.

“My friend Karen Duffy, who lives with unimaginable pain, has taught me so much; that my 
complaints are the most ridiculous in the world.”     George Clooney

Over one-third of the United States population—nearly one hundred million Americans—is currently living with chronic pain, while another 133 million Americans live with some form of chronic illness. Over half of the United States population suffers from these invisible illnesses where their symptoms are not always obvious to the casual observer. Among them is Karen Duffy, New York Times–bestselling author, former MTV DJ, Revlon model, and actress: she suffers from sarcoidosis, a disorder that causes the growth of inflammatory cells on different organs of the body. In her case, her sarcoidosis is located in her brain, causing her unimaginable pain. 

For two decades, Duffy has managed to live a full life, despite living in a state of constant pain. 

In BACKBONE, a powerful, inspirational, funny, and important manual for surviving pain, Duffy draws on her experience as a patient advocate, trained recreational therapist, and hospice chaplain to illuminate gratifying methods people can use to cope with chronic pain. 

Addressing a country ravaged by both chronic pain and opioid addiction, BACKBONE offers a salve of self-sufficiency, spunk, and perseverance. 

BACKBONE is for the massive population of sufferers who are eager to be understood and helped and sends the message that despite the pain, there is a way to have a good life. 

MY REVIEW

In her introduction, author Karen Duffy states; “When I first got sick, I thought the doctors would figure it out and I’d go back to my life the way it was before. It didn’t turn out that way…I never imagined that the pain was going to last this long, that it would be endless, and that I’d have to figure out how to deal with it for the rest of my life.” I can completely relate to her and to this statement, it is exactly how I feel. Our diseases may be different, but chronic pain is something that we share (unfortunately). I felt EXACTLY the same way Karen did when I was diagnosed. 

We are very spoiled as a society, especially here in Canada. When a person gets sick or is injured, they go to the doctor or the hospital where tests are completed, a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan and/or presciption is handed out, and they get better. With chronic pain there is no cure, and treatment consists of little more than prescriptions for pain medication which helps with the symptoms, but does absolutely nothing to fix the underlying condition.

 To those who have never had to deal with pain that never stops, I say be thankful. To those who think that chronic pain sufferers are all liars and frauds, I say that I would trade just about anything to be lying about the pain I endure on a daily basis.

Karen says; “The minutia of daily life are more taxing when you have the stress of a chronic condition, and I often need to regulate my pain medication around [my son’s] hockey schedule.” Thankfully my sons are older now, but I distinctly remember doing the same thing. In fact, currently I have to wake up two hours before leaving for work so that I have one hour for the pain meds to kick in and one hour to actually spend getting ready. Reading that I am not alone in this is strangely yet incredibly helpful.

I am not someone who typically reads self-help books. This book is more of a memoir (laced with humor,) rather than a self-help book, yet it helps to feel that there are people out there who understand what my daily struggles are. I guess the saying that “misery loves company” must be true. Just kidding.

Karen offers up advice in a non-standard way. She does not claim to be an expert on chronic pain. Rather, her writing comes across more like a series of conversations with a friend over coffee or more likely a glass of wine. This is why her tips seem so genuine. They are things that have helped her to manage her pain.

Karen Duffy’s writing comes across as coming from her heart. She offers anecdotes from her own life as well as offering up quotes from experts in various fields.

I have read several books on chronic pain and I can honestly say that this book was the easiest to read and the most realistic. 

Karen Duffy does NOT promise to know how to cure chronic pain, she simply informs readers of what has worked for her to help her live with it, and suggests that what has helped her may also help others.     

She also includes modern, up-to-date links to helpful websites for those seeking more information about specific issues. 

I recommend this book to anyone suffering from chronic pain as well as family members and caregivers. I rate this memoir as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**  

QUOTES 

As I read through this book I ran across so many quotes that I wanted to remember that I actually started keeping a list. 

Some of the quotes are funny, some I highlighted because they hit close to home and were so similar to my own life, and some I kept for no reason other than they struck a xhord with me somehow. I will leave it to your imagination to decide which quote falls into each category. 

“Chronic pain is like serving a life sentence. It’s punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.”

“… I look a lot better in person than I do on paper.”


“I take strong opiates to tamp down the burning, biting, sharp sensations. Before the morphine takes effect, it feels like a donkey wearing hockey skates is kicking me in the neck. After the medication, it feels like the jackass put skate guards on, but he’s still kicking.” 

When writing about her son playing hockey she wrote the following: 

For example, would it surprise you that the first nut cup (also known as a testicular guard) ever sported in a hockey game was worn in 1873? That the first helmet worn in the NHL was in 1973? That it took a full one hundred years for hockey players to consider protecting their brains was as important as protecting their down below.” 

“…the sinister vapors emanating from a hockey bag would flatten most people. It’s like getting sucker-punched in the face by an invisible roundhouse of adolescent B.O.” 
“… family dinners are a dim memory like dial telephones and eighteen-hour girdles…” 

“When things are easy, you miss the chance to learn how tough you are.”

“… life is going to give you some hits and you have to get up and keep going.”    

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”


“The ability to walk without pain is a gift that we don’t have anymore. Being able to walk with pain and not give up is a superpower.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

KAREN DUFFY – Bio partially obtained  from Hollywood.com 
  

Witty, alluring performer whose offbeat charm and amiability landed her a gig as an MTV VJ. Duffy’s (aka “Duff” on-air) less-than-serious approach to her job quickly made her a favorite to viewers. Unlike many of her predecessors who quickly fell into obscurity, she diversified into commercials and feature appearances.

 She made her feature debut playing a “Crack Den Girl” in the Christopher Walken actioner “McBain” (1991). Her subsequent feature credits include small roles in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” (1991), “Who’s the Man” (1993)–which also featured such MTV luminaries as Dennis Leary and Ed Lover–and “Reality Bites” (1994) in a cameo spoofing MTV’s “The Real World.” Duffy made her first substantial feature performance as a woman reminiscent of Mrs. Robinson (“The Graduate”) in the Disney comedy “Blank Check” (1994).

Karen “Duff” Lambros is an American model, actress, and author. Diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis in 1995, she has become an outspoken advocate for sarcoidosis patients and those who suffer from chronic pain. Her positive approach to coping with sarcoidosis is highlighted in her autobiography, Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass. The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research is proud to have Duff as a board member and the Board Chair to the Patient Ambassador Program.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

GOODREADS     

TWITTER 

FACEBOOK 

AMAZON     

CHAPTERS 

SARCOIDOSIS FOUNDATION