In 1960 at age 20, Barbara Goodyear Minar was busy setting up house with her new husband on a Wyoming Air Force base when she began suffering strange aftereffects of a sunburn she received on her honeymoon: fevers, joint swelling, headaches, mouth and throat ulcers. She soon learned that they were caused by the autoimmune disease lupus.
During the next 24 years, she coped with her disease through endurance and denial, she writes, while earning her college degree, having three children and working part time. Then, in 1985, her lupus took a debilitating turn and, she notes, “my survival system fell apart.”
In journal entries and letters Minar compiled over the next 13 years, she shares her struggles and triumphs while regularly checking in with her spiritual health. During this time, she had more than her health to cope with: One son struggled with drug addiction, another survived a bout of cancer. Minar worked to find healthier ways to respond to her adult children’s problems. About her son’s addiction, she writes, “I have a boundary problem with my son. I don’t know where our skins, our minds, our souls start and stop . . . The emotions of his life drive my life, as surely as if I had a bit in my mouth and handed him the reins . . . [But] I’m beginning to take my feelings back in[to] my own skin . . .”
Though Minar is Christian, her insights are never “preachy” but often thought-provoking and comforting as she explores living with a chronic, incurable disease that can leave her fatigued and in pain. She adeptly expresses her feelings of sadness, fear and loss but also gratitude and joy, including strategies for decreasing the stresses of everyday life —- such as giving up perfectionism — especially during holidays.
Minar’s book is full of prayer, humor and emotional depth. While a quick read, it stays in the heart long afterward.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.
BlueInk Heads Up: This book has received a Star designation with the understanding that some minor copyediting issues remain.