Wendy Shanker was living the high life in Manhattan. Working in television, she had landed with the Oxygen channel, hoping for the chance to host her own show. But when an annoying sinus infection turns out to be a rare auto-immune diseases called Wegener’s granulomatosis, her world suddenly spins out of control.
Initially optimistic that she might have a mild case of Wegener’s and live a mostly ordinary life, Wendy takes the prescribed steroids to help her condition. But the Wegener’s has other ideas, and she’s forced to take more drastic measures, including a nasty chemotherapy drug she endures on a daily basis.
Over the six year period this book covers, Wendy shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about dealing with Wegener’s. While mostly following her doctor’s orders, she also explores some natural healing techniques, and good doses of Madonna help her keep a better attitude.
Somehow, Wendy keeps her sense of humor about the things that happen as a result of the Wegener’s. Her body and face bloat due to the steroids, her hair falls out when she starts chemotherapy, and her bowels never quite function correctly. But she has good friends and family in her life, and somehow she smiles through her pain and attempts to keep going on.
Are You My Guru? is irreverent and incredibly funny at times, but Wendy also shows us her softer side. The reader will laugh and cry along with her as she shares her thoughts and struggles, and by the time we reach the last page, we feel as if we’ve known her forever. Before reading this book, I had never heard of Wegener’s, and I hope to never know someone who suffers from this debilitating illness. I applaud Wendy Shanker for sharing her story at a time when most people would crawl under the covers and stay there. I highly recommend this enjoyable and enlightening book.
Reviewer: Alice Berger