6 Books for those with Chronic Illness and a Giveaway!

Are you ready to spring clean your healthy habits in 2018?

We’ve compiled a list of books perfect for people living with chronic illness who want to make impactful changes to their health and life.

6 Books about Chronic Illness and a Giveaway!

Enter to WIN 6 BOOKS!

If you would like a chance to win all of these books, then head on over to the giveaway page!

The books are:

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

yoga for chronic pain coverYoga for Chronic Pain: 7 Steps to Aid Recovery From Fibromyalgia Through Yoga by: Kayla Kurin – In this book Kayla tells us how she utilises the benefits of yoga for chronic pain. See my review here!

Thriving in the Workplace with Autoimmune Disease: Know Your Rights, Resolve Conflict, and Reduce Stress by: Holly Bertone – “This is the first book ever to educate individuals specifically with autoimmune disease on their legal and disability rights in the workplace.”

Melissa vs. Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, CMelissa vs Fibromyalgia book coverhronic Fatigue, and Insomnia by: Melissa Reynolds – This is my book! This is where I share everything I have researched, learnt and do to fight Fibromyalgia.

Radical Health: Insightful, Humorous, Compelling by: James Lilley – “This book will help you get from simply surviving to thriving in easy to understand steps.”

The Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing by: Alexa Fredrico – “There is no clearly defined path that newly diagnosed people should follow and therein lies the author’s motivation for this book.” Alexa is another chronic illness blogger who found a disappointing lack of whole-person health-focused information for her illness and so created it!

If you love reading you can try Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Just sign up here Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. Amazon Kindle Unlimited gives you unlimited reading (say what?), unlimited listening to their audiobooks.

The Easy Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Fast and Simple Recipes for the 15 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods (HARDCOPY) by: Karen Frazier – “Chronic inflammation has been linked to just about every health concern out there, and research indicates that certain foods are the root cause. But with the plethora of information available on the Internet, it can be difficult to know exactly which foods an anti inflammatory diet consists of—and moreover, how to easily incorporate it into your daily life.”

If you would like a chance to win all of these books, then head on over to the giveaway page!

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To purchase your own copy of my book

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover

Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia: A Book Review

At this point, I’ve read a lot of the research and books by doctors with Fibromyalgia, what really perks my ears up is a book written by a fellow fibro fighter.

Alisha Nurse interviewed me for her Overcomers series recently and I began reading her book Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia. She gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Affiliate notice: Please note some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission. 

It has a pretty and inspiring cover:

living your best life.PNG
Image from GoodReads

In the introduction, Nurse shares how she was diagnosed – after years and years of being fobbed off by doctors (sounds familiar).

The chapters are broken into: Challenges, Diet, Recipes, Medication and Supplements, Lifestyle, Meaningful Living with a summary at the end.

In challenges Nurse presents some of the key issues we face.
The symptoms

“Each of us battles our demon symptom, the one symptom that is king above all else. For me, that’s the chronic exhaustion. But my GP says there is nothing she can recommend for me except exercise.”

I can relate to this, my demon symptom is my neck and doctors have been generally unhelpful.

Other challenges include: the people who disbelieve us. The impact of stress. The invisibility of our illness.

In Diet, Nurse outlines how she (step by step) implemented dietary changes. She provides a list of healthy foods.

The recipe section includes some nourishing teas to try and some delicious, nutritious foods.

In the medicines and supplements chapter she discussed an important point around medicines:

“When I consider how fibromyalgia steals our dreams and lives, I staunchly decided that I would have some quality of life on medication than have a longer life in a worse off position.”

I want to thank Alisha for this piece of honesty with which I wholeheartedly concur.

In Lifestyle, Nurse lists some good, practical tips for living well with fibromyalgia. Including eating well, Epsom salt baths, exercise, pacing, managing stress.

Meaningful Living – help others, have empathy and faith.

“Have faith, believe and work without ceasing.”

In this compact handbook, Nurse provides you with some of the things that have helped her. Hopefully you can find something here to help you on your journey.

Find her book here.
Find her website here.

If you love reading, like me, you can try Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Just sign up here Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. It’s also available for those of us who use Amazon.com.au *squee*.

If audio books are more your speed, as they are for me with three little ones, you know you can get a free trial of Audible on Amazon here. I’ve recently started reading a lot more audio books as the hands free option is far easier to access with the wee ones. You will get access to two audio books, plus two Audible Originals, and other cool membership options for 30 days. Cancel anytime if you don’t want the full subscription.

Find my book, which is everything I know and do to fight Fibromyalgia:

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover


A Whole Person

It’s a funny thing, blogging. I invite you into my life – my life distilled into a post by post basis, with a tilt toward health and mamahood.

You could be forgiven for thinking I spend my whole day fixated on my health.

I am passionate about a great many other things, reading and writing are high on the list. I read a great deal more than I share on this blog, because of the health tilt.

This blog functions as a partial diary, to share my hard earned knowledge, to write through and explore some parts of my journey and inner landscape, and to keep myself writing.

With the baby, work, the house, reading, the (attempted) healthy lifestyle, writing has had to fall down the list a ways. But this is my place to put (metaphorical) pen to paper. I’m practising for the day I have spare time and energy to write properly again. 

Looking after my health is a lifestyle. I choose to focus on all the ways I can be healthy (modified for the lesser energy and extra pain). A lot of what I do is what everyone ought to do to look after themselves.

Keeping up what your passionate about, in whatever way available to you at the time, is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle.

So, if there is a message to this pensive post, it’s an encouragement to keep up your passions despite your pain levels. Because I am, despite what it looks like on my blog 🙂

10 Nice Minutes with a Chronic Illness

I’m a fan of having a moment of nice in an otherwise tough day. My moment of nice is usually a good espresso, that jolt only caffeine can give me that lasts a fleeting 10 minutes, if I’m lucky.

I’ve had a liberating thought. What if we reclaim our days, what if we add as many “10 nice minutes” as possible?

10 nice minutes with chronic illness with cup and flowers

Here’s a list of the things we could do in 10 good minutes:

  1. Read (book nerd alert, always number one if my brain is not super fogged)
  2. Meditate
  3. Have a cup of tea or coffee and savour it
  4. A hot shower
  5. Lie down with a heat pack
  6. Lie down with a heat pack and a book
  7. Skype a dear friend or sister
  8. Eat a cupcake, or other deliciously good piece of food, savour it!
  9. Lie down with your legs up on a couch (yoga pose for calm)
  10. Watch half of a funny sitcom, or the whole thing and make it 20 good minutes!
  11. Sit in the sun
  12. Sit in the sun with a book
  13. Pray The Serenity Prayer with sincerity and meaning
  14. Read some good, inspiring blog posts that you’ve saved somewhere (like Pocket or Evernote)
  15. Give yourself a good foot rub (bonus with some lavender essential oil and coconut oil)
  16. Give yourself a good neck and shoulder massage with a heating cream
  17. Stretch, gently and mindfully
  18. Read a beautiful poem and just soak it up (I love Desiderata)
  19. Have a snuggle with your dog/cat/fluffy creature
  20. Have a snuggle with your baby, if you have one and they let you!
  21. Some form of intimacy with your significant other
  22. Breathe, deeply and mindfully
  23. Make your art (journal, write, colour, draw, imagine…)
  24. Write a “thankful list” for future reference
As you can see, for me, a lot of things revolve around reading, but that’s because it’s a big passion of mine.

Do you have more to add to the list?

5 Things That Keep Me Sane

Having a chronic illness is hard. So is having it while trying to raise a baby.
In addition to coping methods and lifestyle changes, the following things help keep me going:

  1. A close family. We’re all pretty close, but my sister and second brother, Luke, are my best friends. My mum helps me with the baby often and Luke keeps me company a lot. My other two brothers will often watch the baby so I can go for coffee with mum and Luke. My dad also regularly calls to see how we’re doing. If I need them, I know they’ll be there.
  2. My faith. I know there’s Someone bigger than me keeping everything together, so I don’t have to. Prayer, hope and grace are super important mechanisms I use to cope.
  3. Reading. I love to read. It’s my favourite. I usually read a few books at a time, have multiple requests with the library and a giant to read list on Good reads. Getting lost in a good book with a hot coffee is perfection.
  4. Passion. I am passionate about many things. This keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Currently I’m in love with scrapbooking my baby’s first year and our wedding.
  5. My husband, baby and dog -my little family. They are why I am so fixated on trying to be well, why I push myself, why I smile every day.IMG_20141029_141835-EFFECTS

All I Love & Know: A Novel, My Review

We can’t always focus on our problems and one of my favourite escapes is to read.all i love and know

All I Love and Know: A Novel by Judith Frank was just the right thing to take me out of my head for a while.

Rating: Five stars!

I had to sit with this book a while, before I could adequately write about it.


Daniel and Matt are a couple living in “lesbian central” America when Daniel’s brother and sister in law are killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Named as the guardian of the two children left behind, Daniel must deal with his grief and become a father to two small, grieving children.

Meanwhile, Matt is also grieving, but as a gay partner, he is not welcome in the family and is left outside while the family deals with the loss.

This book deals with some big emotions. It explores grief in the many forms it takes and its impact on babies, children and adults. It explores the aftermath of terrorist attacks in a personal manner. It also explores gay relationships and what happens when there is a gay partner as opposed to a straight partner. The disparities are stark.

I chose this book because I was intrigued by the plot outlined on the cover and the pure sense of “otherness” it brought for me. Every part of this story, except for parenting, is “other” to my experience. I revelled in the different point of view. Some of the occurrences in the story were uncomfortable for me and there were some intimate scenes, but it is all conducive to the story.

It is beautifully written and weaves together all these strands into a beautiful story of family love and bonds, however that family comes together.

I couldn’t put it down and recommend it wholeheartedly.

High Energy Happiness – A Book Review

There hasn’t been much time or brain power to read recently. So I’ve been choosing what I read (of course I’m still reading something!) wisely. I also love to read books by fellow kiwis!

High Energy Happiness Book Review

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and if you make a purchase using this link I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It all helps me keep making these resources. 


I’ve just managed to finish reading The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness by Louise Thompson.

Rating: Five stars
Recommended for: Anyone who has a fatigue-based illness or who is interested in learning the basics to living well.


In this practical self-help book, life coach Louise Thompson shares her secrets for achieving wellness, balance and fulfilment in this fast-paced world. A former corporate executive, Louise was once bedridden with extreme fatigue – but now she has energy to burn! She has written this book so that you, too, can be buzzing with energy. With Louise’s practical tips, exercises, worksheets and with real-life stories from clients, you’ll be inspired to take control of your life and lead a more energetic and rewarding existence.
You CAN have the life you want, and The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness will show you how.

This book has really resonated with me because the birth of my son has renewed my passion for getting well. I have so much I want to do with him, with my husband, for my work and in my life.

It is written conversationally and is easily accessible, but it is still backed by research and experience.

There’s a multitude of suggestions that I intend to follow. Including fighting for my right to rest, my right to follow guidelines that enable me to live well (including being in bed by 9.30pm, when I’m usually over the day) and my commitment to healthy living.

Other posts you might like

My Favourite Five Books About Fighting Fibromyalgia
Yoga for Chronic Pain by Kayla Kurin Book Review
Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia: A Book Review

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of this fabulous book you can head on over to Amazon here.

Nerdy note:

If you read a lot, like me (I read around 100 books per year), then you might like Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Just sign up here. Amazon Kindle Unlimited gives you unlimited reading (say what?) and unlimited listening to their audio books. If brain fog is an issue and you need to re read over again, it’s all there. Happy reading!

For more information

Sign up to my free You vs Fibromyalgia microcourse