Book Review: Love, Hope, Lyme by Fred Diamond
Love, Hope, Lyme: What family members, partners, and friends who love a chronic Lyme survivor need to know
If only every Lyme sufferer had a Fred Diamond in their life. If that was the case, we would all know at least one person who was interested in trying to truly understand and support us, in the way that we need to be supported. What a blessing that would be; what a difference that could make.
Fred Diamond, world class marketing and sales expert, podcast host, Lyme advocate, author, and father of three, doesn’t have Lyme disease himself. He does have compassion, patience, perceptiveness and empathy, in spades. He is also one of those under-credited people who, when they notice that an Important, Much-needed Thing hasn’t yet been done, undertakes the task themselves.
In trying to understand and support his partner’s Lyme journey, Fred found many resources. He spent countless hours tapping into books, people, Facebook groups, and organisations, but could not find one, single, comprehensive compilation that was designed to help Lyme survivors’ loved ones to support and understand patients. Hence, Love, Hope, Lyme was born.
“At one time, all I thought you needed to do to support a Lyme disease survivor was to maintain a stress-free environment for them and know where to find the best gluten-free pizza.”
Diamond’s fresh and thorough knowledge on the topic, his desire to truly know his partner, and his perspective as a non-patient make a winning combination. He relates what he has learned about Lyme in a concise and conversational manner and offers many relevant anecdotes from his own relationship. This is a comprehensive overview of Lyme disease, including topics such as potential treatments and dietary adjustments, as well as being a guidebook for loved ones who are trying to navigate the changes and challenges that chronic illness inflicts onto a sufferer’s life and relationships. Simple advice and suggestions that can be easily integrated.
Importantly, it illustrates what is possible when someone close makes the effort to understand. Even with a complex disease, patients are worth knowing and supporting, and life might still be rich and enjoyable.
“Your partner may think that you resent them for having the disease. Make sure they know that isn’t true.”
Of course, to fully understand the Lyme patient experience, the book also had to explain the injustices and politics that shroud the illness, and the impact on a patient’s finances and future plans. Diamond admits that his experience with the disease affected his own life, and how he approaches it, quite profoundly.
“When you understand more about how Lyme disease afflicts one you love, it changes you and makes you question everything. It certainly did for me. My increased education on this disease and how it has affected so many people has caused me to question everything I believe in. My thoughts on the meaning and purpose of life have changed. I now try to live by Einstein’s quote that “Only a life lived in service to others is a life worth living.”
Each chapter of Love, Hope, Lyme begins with several questions, such as “Why does she know more than the doctors?” and “Why is it so expensive to treat Lyme?” and then proceeds to offer carefully considered answers and explanations, sourced from experience and research. Diamond’s insights into his partner’s experience are golden, and they shine brightly all the way through the book. As best as a non-patient can, Fred Diamond gets it, which is why I can’t recommend this book highly enough to anyone who knows someone with Lyme disease.
“Healing from Lyme is a personal matter. You have no idea how your partner’s body is feeling at any time. She may seem energised and pain-free, but she may be hiding how she’s really feeling, perhaps willing mind over matter.”
Reading this book as a Lyme patient, I was heartened to think that lives may be changed by sharing this book with loved ones who are willing to take it on board. I did note however, that the book was written under the premise that patients had a certain level of sickness/wellness. How would the book differ, if at all, if Diamond’s partner was fully bed-bound and unable to participate in life to the extent that his partner was?
While patients often feel desperate to be understood, this book serves as a reminder that our loved ones also have much to grapple with on this journey alongside us. In the beginning of a relationship or illness, it must be strange/concerning/scary to witness the time, effort and money that we put into health and healing. All those extra things we have to do, and to think about; all of that became our ‘new normal’ long ago.
In conclusion, I would recommend that Lyme or other chronic illness patients buy a copy of this book (available on Amazon) for everyone they know. Alternatively, drop hints until those close to you purchase it and read it for themselves. It might change your life, and/or save your relationships.
“There are so many ways to support your partner or family member. Start by letting them know you love them and are there for them.”
About Fred Diamond
Fred is the co-founder of the Institute for Excellence in Sales (IES). The IES runs programs around the world for sales teams. He is the host of the award-winning Sales Game Changers Podcast. Fred is also author of two great books, on widely-divergent categories. “Insights for Sales Game Changers” gives great sales performance improvement tips taken from the leaders on the show. “Love, Hope, Lyme” was written to help people who have a chronic Lyme survivor in their life be more supportive. Find out more about Fred.