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EDITOR: Julie Morgenlender
PUBLISHER: Three Barrel Bluff
DATE: June 19, 2020
PAGES: 256

The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths

edited by Julie Morgenlender

Spanning different ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and diagnoses, forty-two authors from around the world open up in fifty true stories about their chronic illnesses and their search for answers, poor treatment by doctors, strained relationships with loved ones, self-doubt, and more. They share the warmth of support from family and friends, the triumph of learning coping mechanisms, and finding ways to live their dreams.

These stories are honest, raw, and real, and if you have chronic illness, you will find comfort and companionship in these pages. For everyone else, if you have ever wanted to know more about your loved one’s experience with chronic illness but didn’t want to ask the wrong questions, this book will have some answers, and more importantly lead you to a new-found understanding.


Includes writing by multiple bisexual/queer writers, including Julie Morgenlender (editor) and Heron Greenesmith.

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 | Relationships: Family, Friends, Dating, & Sex
  • A Flash of Blue | Shelia Bolt Rudesill
  • To the Friend Who Told Me that I Talk About My Illnesses Too Much | R.S. Nash
  • Yes, We Can: Sex and Chronic Illness | Kit Stubbs, PhD
  • Multiple Sclerosis: My Lost Connections | Sónia Lopes
  • This I Believe | Marcia Allar
  • One-Two Punch | Charity Cole
  • Part 2 | Experiencing the Emotions
  • Imagine | Michaela Shelley
  • This Is Hard | Julie Morgenlender
  • I Didn’t Cry on My Birthday This Year | Tara A.
  • Chronic Contradictions | Wendy Kennar
  • Expecting Motherhood, Creating Self | Sarah Myers
  • Adventures in Snow Shoveling: January 9, 2016 | Danielle Lorenz
  • I Am Not My Cornea | Keidra Chaney
  • PTSD: The Illness I Couldn’t See | Amy Oestreicher
  • An Echo Unheard | Deepti Dilip Kumar
  • Part 3 | The Medical Side: Diagnosis, Treatment, Doctors, & Hospitals
  • Pain | Heron Greenesmith
  • Going to the Emergency Department with a Chronic Illness | R.S. Nash
  • Miss Treated | Katherine Ernst
  • “.. .Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen…” | Katie Hiener
  • The Tale of a POTSie | Bella
  • Chronic Illness Eugenics | chaya hazel caninsky
  • Pudendal Neuralgia | Atara Schimmel
  • The Monster Within | Annie Wittenberg
  • Part 4 | Acceptance: For Better or Worse
  • Good Morning | Kaitlyn M. Smith
  • Snakes & Accessibility Ramps | Alix Penn
  • Anxiety Is My Constant Companion | Devin Reynolds
  • What Is It Like? | Hannah Rembrandt
  • Forgive Yourself for Saying No | Glynis Scrivens
  • Forgive Yourself for Saying Yes | Glynis Scrivens
  • Grieving the Loss of Body | Bret Stephenson
  • The Superior Mutant’s Victory Garden | Raven Kaldera
  • Growing Up with Asthma | Mark Ludas
  • Part 5 | Things We Wish We’d Known
  • Things Every Newly Diagnosed Patient Needs to Know | Dylan Gomez
  • Wishing I Had a Heads-Up on My Autoimmune Illnesses | Jamie Jasinski
  • Along the Way | Dess
  • I Wish I’d Known | Zoe A. Bateman
  • If I Had Known Then, What I Know Now… | Marcia Allar
  • Part 6 | What We Wish Folks Knew
  • Chronically Ill Teens | Michaela Shelley
  • All About the Pain | Nikki Albert
  • That’s Why the Lady Was on Stamps | Litsa Dremousis
  • The Things That Go Bump…In Your Body | Lindsey M. Clouser
  • The Quandaries of Chronic Pain | Elin Walther
  • A Little Understanding | Mary Lee Evelyn Keeney
  • Part 7 | Others’ Perceptions
  • No Different from Anyone Else | Glynis Scrivens
  • Chronic Pain Versus Masculinity | Bret Stephenson
  • The Importance of Representation: Why Using My First Cane Was Scary | Rebecca Bartlett
  • Hope’s Visible in Me: How My Invisible Illness Is Actually Visible | Jessica Ward
  • High-Maintenance | Lindsey M. Clouser
  • We Don’t Get Any Medals | Jane Lesley
  • My Journey for Answers: Because No One Will Care More About My Health Than Me | Julie Morgenlender
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bonus: How to Complete a Big Project While Living with Chronic Illness
  • Not All Disabilities Look the Same
  • About the Editor
  • Glossary
  • Index

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