An inspirational, powerful, and funny manual for coping and living with devastating pain.
For two decades, Karen Duffy —New York Times bestselling author, former MTV VJ, Revlon model, and actress— has managed to live an enriching life despite living in a state of constant pain. Duffy has 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. In this powerful, inspirational, funny, and important manual for surviving pain, Duffy draws on her experience as a patient advocate, certified recreational therapist, and hospital chaplain to illuminate gratifying methods people can use to cope with chronic pain and reinforces the sentiment that "circumstances determine our lives, but we shape our lives by what we make of circumstances" (Sir John Wheeler Bennet).
More than one-third of the US population—nearly 113 million Americans—is currently living with chronic pain, while another 133 million Americans live with some form of chronic illness. Half of the US population lives with the challenges of these invisible illnesses where their symptoms are not always obvious to the casual observer. Addressing a country ravaged by both chronic pain and opioid addiction, Backbone offers a salve of self-sufficiency, spunk, and perseverance. With a light tone, deft wordplay, and interactive gems such as the Bill Murray Pain Scale, Mastectomy Paper Dolls, and a crown to wear just for getting out of bed, Duffy's serious—and seriously funny—book is for the massive population living with chronic pain who are eager to be understood and helped, and sends the message that despite the pain, there is a way to a good life.
Karen Duffy is the author of the New York Times bestseller Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass. She was the face for Revlon's "Charlie's Girl" and a VJ for MTV. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Glamour, Esquire, and the New York Daily News, and has played parts in the movies Dumb and Dumber, Celebrity, and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. She resides in New York with her husband and son.
"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
"I watch to see how the girl can bear terrible pain, but like a magician, she is quicker than the eye can see. All I catch is the woman, helping other people with their terrible pain."—Bill Murray
"It's highly beneficial to have a book that brings hope and humor to people. Backbone is inspiring and alive, a rare book that offers insight for the patient and the people who love them."—Ginger Spitzer, Executitive Director Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
“Writing from the heart and the funny bone, Duff shares her raw and inspiring triumph over extreme pain and illness. Her bone-deep understanding of how to transcend suffering is a must-read. Thank you, Duff, for shedding light on the pathway to empowered living.”—Dr. Beth Darnall, author of Less Pain, Fewer Pills: Avoid the Dangers of Prescription Opioids and Gain Control Over Chronic Pain and The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit
"Backbone is beautifully written, laugh out funny, and profoundly moving. It will charm and delight, the interactive graphics are brilliant. I'm wearing the "I Got Out of Bed Today Crown" as I write this review. I cannot recommend this book more highly."—Carole Radziwill, Emmy-Award winning producer and author of the New York Times bestseller What Remains
"Karen Duffy may just be the worlds finest alchemist. Her bodacious, brilliant, JOYOUS—yes JOYOUS— book about chronic pain isn't just one of the best memoirs I've ever read, it's one of the best books I've ever read in my lifetime. Full of witty wisdoms, it's an unputdownable triumph of the spirit. I just love this book!"—Marisa Acocella Marchetto, author of The New York Times bestselling graphic novel Ann Tenna and Cancer Vixen
"Backbone is an owner's manual for anyone whose body is behaving badly. Sensible, inspirational, and above all, hilarious. It's like sharing a hospital room with Nora Ephron."—Edward Conlon, bestselling author of Blue Blood
"I wish I could write like Duff. Her style is witty banter and yet there's a profound message of hope in there as well as the wisdom of experience."—Donald Robertson, professor and author of Stoicism and the Art of Happiness
"Backbone is amazing. It is a memoir of sorts—chronic pain meets hysterical laughter. Even though it's a book of how Duff lives with pain, each page is a surprise. With Backbone, she's written a book for people who are sick and people who share a sick sense of humor."—Tabitha Soren, Fine Art Photographer and author of Fantasy Life
"Karen Duffy's Backbone: Living With Chronic Pain without Turning into One gives a new and strangely inspiring spin to Samuel Beckett's maxim, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness." With grace and great humor, Duffy records her endurance of considerable and prolonged suffering only to reveal, through her example, how that can be diminished and marginalized in a life invested with gratitude and determination. This book should be given to all chronic complainers to cure them of their ailment."—Christopher Cahill, Director of the American Irish Historical Society
"Duffy’s memoir is a joy to read and an inspiration for those who are healthy as well as those with lifelong travails."—Library Journal,starred review
"A thoughtful, comprehensive look into the world of chronic pain suffers and a guide for other people on what—and what not—to do."—Diane Clehane, New York Times
Praise for Model Patient, My Life as an Incurable Wise-ass
"If laughter is the best medicine, Duffy shows that laughing at debility is better yet." —Booklist
"Model Patient is an unforgettable, illuminating story that captures Duff's indomitable joie de vivre and how she has survived." —Google Books
"A cross between On the Road and The Power of Positive Thinking. Model Patient is an inspiring, life affirming and effortless poetic. And man, is it funny." —Peter Farrelly, film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist
"Karen Duffy's writing comes across as coming from her heart. . . . I recommend this book to anyone suffering from chronic pain as well as family members and caregivers."—amiesbookreviews.com