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Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir
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Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. He was a young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, and his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS, only to be amb ...more
Hardcover, 236 pages
Published January 30th 2004 by HarperTorch (first published 2004)
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I had avoided reading this book for so long for obvious reasons. I was afraid to. After seeing him speak with Meredith a couple of monthes ago at an MS luncheon, I felt the time had come. I cannot even begin to express how incredible this book was for me. I felt that he was inside my brain, expressing every thought and feeling I too have had over these past 5 years- I will beg my family to read this book, to gain a little more insight into why I am the way I am. I guess these are traits we share ...more
A Goodreads member named Jessica sums this book up perfectly......

She writes:
At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right?

Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a st
I chose this book because I've watched Merideth Viera on her various TV shows including and since The View, and also read magazine articles about her. Some of them, which her husband, Cohen, mentions in the book portrayed Cohen as a sickly invalid fully dependent on his wife. Looking at the photo on the cover, I felt surely that couldn't be the case, so I wanted to read his side of the story, told in his own words.
If you just look at Cohen piece by piece, perhaps you'd agree with the magazines.
Audiobook...........This was a moving and depressing account of one man's life with Multiple Sclerosis, and how it has challenged him to grow as a person, and the ways the illness has impacted his family. Cohen is eloquent, and tells the tale of his life. He loves life and has been creative and determined in keeping it that way, despite the progressive nature of the illness. It is a heartbreaking story, yet realistic. I would recommend this to anyone who has a family member or loved one coping w ...more
Adele Stratton
Angry, painful, bitter, grim, with some resignation, if not acceptance, toward the end, Cohen hates everything about having MS (and later colon cancer), what it’s done to his body, his life, his dreams, his family. This was tough to read, and seemed a bit disorganized, choppy and repetitive at times, but it was clearly his reality. An unflinchingly honest portrait of how life with a chronic, debilitating illness must be. This one did make me grateful for the health I enjoy and so often take for ...more
It seems nearly impossible to convey to a "well" person, the physical challenges and isolation of living with chronic or terminal illness. The "patient" is trying to come to grips with not only the constance of deterioration but the indifference, impatience or insincerity of acquaintances who pronounce themselves friends. Richard M. Cohen talks about it all with humor and pathos. He speaks for many who may not be able to articulate this complex issue as eloquently as he does.
Mel Ostrov
Rolling with the Punches

“Enjoyable” would be the wrong word to describe this book; “admirable” and “pathetic” seem more appropriate. You have to empathize with this famous couple who retain their love despite overwhelming adversity. Your heart aches upon learning that the author, Richard Cohen, had to battle cancer in addition to an incurable neurological deterioration that includes loss of vision. You have to admire the way he adjusts to a hopeless situation. Furthermore, his renowned wife, M
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Astrid Edwards
There is no way around it, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir is a heavy read. Richard M. Cohen carries anger at the Multiple Sclerosis that has so marked his life around with him wherever he goes.
If you have MS or know a loved one who does, I recommend you read this. Anger aside, this is unlike other MS memoirs. Richard was diagnosed four decades ago, well before the disease modifying therapies currently on the market existed. He offers a different world view of MS and
I read this shortly after discovering that I too have MS. A beautiful story of courage and pain. It took everything I had to not cry for the pain this man has had to endure, and his constant struggle to stay positive. More than worth reading - this could change the way you think about illness. And, as icing on the cake - the writing is incredible.
Rebecca Huston
A stirring, if rather self-pitying memoir of dealing with illness, mental illness and the things that one can not change. I found it to be useful, but it might be too much for some readers. Take with some caution, but still recommended.

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Having just read the very last sentence I have tears in my eyes from the strong emotions I feel upon it's end. Words can't describe how well written and truly honest this book is.

It will touch your heart and soul. This book will take you to places within your psyche that are so painful, gut wrenching and raw you will wonder how Richard could write in ways that you have always felt but were unable to put into words.

I have MS and have read many books on the subject of living with a chronic illness
Jill Barton
I love this book. I have multiple sclerosis & had been searching for anything on the subject but particularly I wanted something that was honest & real, more of a memoir. I was going thru a particularly severe ms relapse when My husband happened to see Mr. Cohen on tv when he was talking about his new book Strong At The Broken Places. My husband went searching for Strong At The Broken Places & also found Blindsided of course he bought both books & surprised me with them. I was ho ...more
The story Richard Cohen tells is the story of RRMS in his early life. I recognized the symptoms and the signs of the beginnings of MS. It was at times funny, eye opening,scary, uplifting, and prophetic of what could be. Luckily, in the 10 years since the publication of this memoir medicine and research have progressed by leaps and bounds. Mr. Cohen's attitude, love and honesty are refreshing. His wife, Meredith Vieira, is strong, witty and so smart. The team of Cohen and Vieira is inspiring.

In this book Cohen documents his 30 year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. What was it like to have a definitive diagnosis? How has the disease manifest itself? How has MS impacted his family - his wife, Meredith Viera, and their three children? What is it like to see his physical prowess ebb? What happens when he learns that he has cancer in addition to MS?

This is a quick read. It’s about coping.

Cohen describes the subtle changes to his body and how he's tried to live as normal a life as possib
At the beginning of this book, Richard M. Cohen warns the reader that he doesn't have all the secrets. Fair enough, I thought, he doesn't have all the secrets for everyone, but certainly he's figured things out in his own life, or he wouldn't be writing a book, right?

Wrong. While I appreciate Cohen's candor in his descriptions of how he has dealt with MS and colon cancer, his book lacks a consistent theme. Is Cohen a stoic? Sometimes, but not others. Does Cohen think it's a good idea to hide il
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was thought provoking and really made me look at myself and family and the time that we get to spend together. I really value all of it and would not trade anything for them but this book really had an angry/sad/mad tone to it. I understand that living with MS and multiple cancers it not a happy situation but this was not what I was expecting. I cringed when reading about how Richard would yell at his children and wife because of his heath issues. Again, ...more
Just couldn't connect with this book. Seemed to try and be inspirational and a biography but fell short on both accounts. Stopped after 100 pages. Life is too short to read something you don't enjoy.
Tisho Jessop
Quick read. Lots of very interesting information on MS and its progression. It made me like his wife (Meredith Vieira) even more than I already did :-)
Pat Barrington
Everybody will eventually have an illness. Richard Cohen tells how to cope and have a life despite disabilities.
Kathy Arle
I wanted to like this book - because as a physical therapist, I've worked with so many people with M.S. and because I admire Meredith Viera so much. The first part of the book was interesting, sad and inspiring but then Cohen just kept repeating himself in different ways. By the end of the book, I was screaming at him to just "deal with it!" Dealing with any chronic disease is difficult and dealing with cancer (twice) on top of that made his life even more difficult. But wishing for a "normal" l ...more
Richard Cohen has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years. He chose not to be defined by it and to live each day as it comes. I think he managed to do just that until a second bout with colon cancer almost did him in physically as well as mentally. In the end as much as he would like to have lived a normal life, he wonders if he would have some of the same desirable attributes to his personality that having a chronic illness has given him. He is married to Meredith Viera and has three ch ...more
This is the memoir of Meredith Vieira's husband, who has battled MS for many years.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my sister-in-law's MS diagnosis, and I know the battle is a difficult and lonely one. One of those battles where a person tries many drug cocktail combinations to find the best possible combination, and then the symptoms change and you have to start all over again. A battle where the symptoms are devastating, but not always visible to others, so the person doesn't really se
An interesting read, especially for someone with a chronic illness. Although the author's illness is dissimilar in many ways to my own, the resulting situation is still much the same. Feelings of being less than whole, and the difficulty in coping with such a situation day in and day out. I found the book to be inspiring, especially as I seem to be starting out in my journey, and the author has been on this road for some 30 years and is raising children. A good read, both for understanding chron ...more
Gina Elle
Loved every single word of this book.
As someone who suffers from a chronic illness herself, Richard Cohen echoes thoughts and feelings I myself have felt and stated. His memoirs travel through his life with multiple sclerosis while trying to hold a career and a family and details how he's had to make sacrifices along the way. It was interesting to see how I could relate to the author even though my diagnoses came decades later. It goes to show that no matter when the illness hits, we all share similar thoughts. It's a definite read ...more
Erica Turner
Mrs. Nicole
Richard Cohen, a man afflicted with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer, writes about his experiences dealing with illness with denial, anger, and finally acceptance. His frank honesty in dealing with multiple sclerosis since his diagnosis at 25 is inspiring and makes the average healthy individual thankful for everything he or she often takes for granted. His worry about passing the condition on to his children is painful as his worry about being a strong role model because of his physical limi ...more
Elaine Briggs
The first 3/4 of the book was excellent. A great insight into the challenges faced by an individual and their family in having to deal with a debilitating, chronic this case MS. Richard M. Cohen is to be admired for his coping and focusing on doing as much as he could, continuing ahead in the face of loss of functions of his body. Then to be faced with colon cancer twice. At this point, the book became very difficult to read. I'm sure without doubt that his life is a difficult life ...more
I'm not sure if I just relate to Cohen because I have MS or if others (not living with a chronic illness) would also find this an amazing story. I have to say that I don't alway see eye to eye with how he handles his illness...but then I'm fortunate to not have to deal with MS AND cancer AND blindness AND still deal with a career AND be in the public's eye! Wow...a very emotional read. (By the way, Richard Cohen is married to Meredith Vieira from The View.)
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“Going at it alone had been my badge of honor. How foolish. I confused silence with strength.... Shutting out others is weak and grossly unfair to those around us.” 2 likes
“We all need to appreciate ourselves for what we are and stop whining about what we are not. I grow weary of wishing so desperately for something else. Those concerns find no resolution. All I can do is do what I can do....” 2 likes
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