The Many Reasons Why I Love Reading Books

Books are a great escape for those living with chronic illness

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by Lara Govendo |

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I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to books. I get so excited when new books are delivered to my home. Yes, I still read physical books. Am I alone in that?

I’m not afraid to admit I’m old-fashioned about the healing power of physical books. They’ve changed my life for the better in so many ways that I can’t keep it to myself.

My love of books began when I was a child. My parents have been caretakers of my hometown library since before I was born, and I often went with them while they worked. The after-hours time at the library was a magical world to explore, and I had it all to myself. I developed my love of reading during those years. This instilled in me the importance of books, as well as their uniqueness and ability to change lives. I felt like Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”!

I must admit, though, that I have a book-buying problem. I’m running out of space. I’m talking my carpenter dad into building me another bookshelf for Christmas since my books are stacking up on my dressers, desk, and any other piece of furniture. I wish I could save space by using e-books or audiobooks, but nothing beats turning real pages in anticipation of what happens next.

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Books have actually saved my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but they’ve helped me during my seasons of isolation, when I was stuck at home sick with my cystic fibrosis. They bring me comfort like a cozy blanket. They deliver joy to my weary soul. They’ve healed me on so many levels. And they help me escape my reality when I need a break.

Before my double-lung transplant five years ago, books were like companions to me. Since I could barely do anything or leave my house when I was deathly sick, reading was something I could do from the comfort of my couch or bed. I was alone most of the time since I live independently, and books helped to fill that void. And having something that brought comfort regardless of my circumstance helped me enormously.

After transplant, I’m now able to focus more on reading to achieve my goals. My current library is filled with topics like Jesus, personal development, and all things trauma-related. My spiritual beliefs are the foundation of my life, and reading to gain perspective and wisdom is important to me. With my growth mindset, I constantly want to improve as a person.

Considering the continuous trauma I’ve experienced while living with chronic illness, I’m interested in how the brain works. I’m also a therapist, so helping others understand and heal trauma holistically is my jam.

Books have been good for my mental health by taking my mind off anxiety. Finding happy moments in a book amid depression is a breath of fresh air. And reading books that make me feel less alone in my struggles helps my well-being.

I believe that books are an incredible tool to use for those living with chronic illness. We’re often isolated because we have to protect our health, don’t feel well enough to leave our homes, or feel more comfortable being at home. Other times, we’re in the hospital, which limits our activities. It helps us that books can be accessed in any environment and circumstance. It grants us the ability to be part of the world when we can’t physically show up.

Speaking of books, I’m in the middle of writing one. I just gave a talk loosely based on it at my church last weekend. I’m not one for attention, but I do see the value in sharing my story. I think it gives others permission to feel safe, know they’re not alone, and share their story, too. Once I finish the edits, maybe you’ll buy a copy?

Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.


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