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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

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  491 Ratings  ·  77 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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Jun 30, 2012 Robbin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2012 Kristin rated it liked it
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.
Adele Stratton
Mar 04, 2011 Adele Stratton rated it liked it
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
Dec 15, 2012 Henrietta rated it it was ok
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
Nov 23, 2008 Ferris rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: read2015
The pacing of the book is haphazard and I almost set it down when I came to the chapter about colon cancer. However, the narrative pulls together for two very strong concluding chapters, about his present life with Meredith Vieria and their three children.
In chapter twelve, "Meredith," Cohen remembers when their dating relationship was deepening. "The talk of illness slowly fell away. We kept moving, forward, as if by plan. And we stayed in motion. 'You were somebody who liked to go out and jus
Jun 05, 2011 Deanie rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2014 Mel Ostrov rated it liked it
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
May 07, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This memoir was very painful to read for someone who identifies as easily as I do with others' struggles. Mr. Cohen is an incredibly strong and persistent fellow who never seems to actually accept his limitations. In many ways, this refusal to admit the extent of his disability helps him to live up to his own expectations and to go beyond what others might be able to accomplish with lesser determination. Yet Richard has such a hard time forgiving his body and himself for his lack of physical apt ...more
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
May 22, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it
Cohen's memoir jumped off the shelf at me because I have been wanting to know more about multiple sclerosis. This chronic illness afflicts someone very near and dear to me. Although I learned quite a bit from Cohen's book, it also left me with quite a few unanswered questions: How was his marriage affected? What triggered episodes?

I appreciated the clarity of Cohen's writing and his ability to describe both his anger over having the illness and the joys of being a husband and father.

Coming to t
Jul 10, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: illness, favorites
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.

For the complete review, please go here:
Apr 22, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2014 Jill Barton rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 25, 2009 Bonnie rated it really liked it

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
Dec 04, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2009 Erin rated it it was ok
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
Jan 19, 2015 Missquimmie rated it it was ok
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
Jul 12, 2014 Tisho Jessop rated it liked it
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
Dec 10, 2014 Pat Barrington rated it really liked it
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
Nov 05, 2007 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
May 03, 2011 Brenda rated it liked it
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
Lettie Cox
Sep 26, 2016 Lettie Cox rated it really liked it
Living with MS from age 25 & then cancer on top of it. A sobering story.
May 16, 2016 Jean rated it it was ok
Author is a liberal journalist. He and I don't see eye to eye. Didn't finish.
May 12, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it
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
Dec 17, 2015 Erin added it
I didn't realize what a full life he led and how accomplished he is.
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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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