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All in My Head
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About the Author

Paula Kamen is the author of All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache. Her commentaries have appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Chicago.

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Journalist Kamen (Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution) recalls her 15-year quest to rid herself of a continual headache that began when she was 24 years old. After exhausting every mainstream medical option-some physicians went so far as to suggest that her illness was "all in her head"-she turned to alternative practitioners and remedies, trying almost any suggestion even when she believed it probably wouldn't help. Her story documents the failures of our medical system to deal with chronic pain or any other illness that is difficult to measure objectively while also offering insight into the desperation experienced by chronic illness sufferers. Kamen intersperses her thoughtful text with sidebars featuring the latest research on pain, the nervous system, and neurological drugs. Engaging, informative, and at times humorous, this medical memoir is recommended for public libraries and consumer health collections.-Eris Weaver, Redwood Health Lib., Petaluma, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Imagine the sensation of a fishhook lodged behind your left eye and tugging backwards. Now imagine that you live with that pain 24 hours a day for 15 years. That is Kamen's headache, one that she attempted at first to cure but finally learned to accept. Kamen (Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution) first tried all sorts of drugs-some were addicting, others made her gain 70 pounds in six months; none had any effect on the pain. She turns to alternative medicine: cranial-sacral adjustments, acupuncture, gluten-free diets, magnets, yoga. Kamen intersperses her account of these increasingly bizarre treatments with a look at how Western medicine, and even feminism, abandons patients with chronic pain and other invisible ailments: since her pain has no discernible physical cause, she has been told it's "all in her head." This book may not be uplifting, but it is undeniably funny. Kamen's irreverent sense of humor about her pain and herself makes the book a delight to read as she unabashedly pokes fun at the corporate pharmaceutical industry (even while she hopes for a test-tube cure), doctors and other caregivers. Kamen makes the reader understand what it is like to be happy even while one is in pain. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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