Legwork: An Inspiring Journey Through a Chronic Illness.

Legwork: An Inspiring Journey Through a Chronic Illness. – book reviews

Carol Huebner

When Ellen Burstein was first diagnosed with MS, she felt a mixture of emotions familiar to anyone who has heard that pronouncement: relief that the search for a label was over and denial that anything was permanently wrong. Working with passion as a reporter investigating consumer issues, she went on with her active life, downplaying each new physical difficulty. While her career was marked by solid successes, defending the rights of common people in their struggle against crooks and cheats, her personal life was challenged by an unpredictable and insidious disease.

This excellent book chronicles Burstein’s public and private lives, the two joining dramatically in her acceptance and, later, rejection of a sham treatment that promised to cure her MS. A false hope cost Ellen over $100,000 and robbed her of her j ob and a year she could not afford to lose.

The fact that a crusader against consumer fraud can herself be a willing dupe is a testament, not just to human frailty, but to the strength of the desire to be cured, to be normal once again.

Any struggle offers lessons, and Burstein learns them well: that her new self is preferable to the old, that a reason for all this must exist, that a disease may cripple one’s body but not necessarily one’s character.

The book is valuable reading for anyone, but especially for someone coping with the losses and challenges caused by MS.

Reviewed by Carol Huebner, a high school district administrator in an area southeast of Los Angeles. She has lived with MS for 10 years.

COPYRIGHT 1995 National Multiple Sclerosis Society

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group