Book recommendation - Brain on Fire

Though her book is not about migraine disease, Susannah Cahalan’s memoir Brain on Fire, had me at hello. Or, rather, the title attracted me immediately since I myself have felt at times that my brain was on fire.

I won’t spoil the plot (which is, in fact, Susannah’s life story), but I will say that the mysterious illness Susannah had was not migraine and is not, as far as I know, evidenced to be migraine-related.

All that said, though, I want to recommend it highly because it is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, and ultimately inspiring chronicle of the long road to diagnosis. A staggering number of migraineurs out there are not diagnosed, sometimes because they don’t seek medical care and sometimes because healthcare providers are misinformed about migraine and its manifestations and misdiagnose patience with alarming frequency.

In her autobiography, Susannah does mention how very fortunate she was to have good insurance and a strong support system (both monetarily and emotionally speaking), but even with those cushions, her trial was not an easy one. I nearly teared up when I read the dedication page: “Dedicated to those without a diagnosis.”

At its heart, this is what the book is about, and this is why I recommend it to those of you who have been challenged by your health issues. It’s really well-written, well-researched, and tells a realistic story of the long, hard road to getting a proper diagnosis. Those of us who waited a long time to finally be diagnosed with migraine and/or another debilitating illness will certainly identify.

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