Monday, November 11

Book Review: Shadow Summit: One Man, His Diagnosis, and the Road to a Vibrant Life, by Jon Chandonnet

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recently, as in the past few years or so, I've been challenging myself to be more than just my MS diagnosis. I've put myself out their and pushed myself harder then I had pre-diagnosis. Of course, everyone has their own "grieving" process when they learn of a life changing diagnosis, like MS, or really any auto immune disease. Mine, as you know, kicked my ass at first. Back to back attacks left me in the hospital for 3 1/2 weeks. Rehab time after those attacks was months of hard work, but when I look at where I am today, it blows my mind. Sure, it could be a number of things that led to this change, medication, diet changes, exercise, and even just having the right mind set. In the end, no one really knows, but what I do know is that everyone's journey is different.

Jon's memoir, Shadow Summit: One Man, His Diagnosis, and the Road to a Vibrant Life, details his life post MS diagnosis. Jon was diagnosed right before he graduated from MIT at the age of 27. Of course, he had his life seemingly planned out and MS through a curve ball he just wasn't expecting. Jon's initial instinct led him through a road of what some might call denial. He chose to stay off any disease modifying drugs, even as his doctor advised him differently. We basically watch Jon start to push himself to extremes. He starts participating in extreme sports, crazy mountain biking trips and hiking mountains. It seems like Jon is keeping himself so busy to push out any idea that he does in fact have MS.

I feel like a lot of with a auto immune disease can easily relate. You want so badly to just be normal again that you push yourself to extremes to prove that you can do everything other people can do and more. We seem to act like life is limitless and forget that sometimes life has other plans for us.

We eventually seem Jon crash and burn, and he does so pretty dramatically. To some extent it's almost hard to read because as someone who has lived through its like you can just see the car crash that's five seconds away from happening and yet you can't stop look away. We see Jon at his lowest point and then we watch him rebuild himself from the bottom up.

Jon's methods of healing can best be described as a bit controversial and I will admit I did some eye-rolling while reading a bit, but to each his own. I can easily respect Jon for committing to a path of recovery. Jon finds himself at OHI: Optimum Health Institute where he embarks on a seemingly dramatic healing journey. Like I mentioned above in my own story, it's hard to determine what exactly helped Jon heal and recover...was it that fact that his stress level significantly decreased, the change in diet, the almost daily enemas? Like most things, it will remain a mystery.

Overall, I thought the book was a interesting, quick read. I'm always interested in seeing how other people react, cope, and live with MS and I'd  easily recommend this book if that is something that interests you as well.

Shadow Summit: One Man, His Diagnosis, and the Road to a Vibrant Life will be released this week.
You can check out a link to his book trailer here: as well as his website here:

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