Book Reviews

Get a Grip

Congratulations to Amye Leong. She is a true crusader for those of us who have rheumatoid arthritis, or any other form of chronic illness. Having met Amye over 10 years ago at a National Arthritis Foundation House of Delegates Conference, my life was enriched by her enthusiasm, guts, and fight to win this battle with arthritis. Amye's efforts to make the public aware of the devastation arthritis can cause to oneself, one's family, friends and the community is sure to make an impact on how this disease is perceived by everyone. Since the publication of her book, the CDC came out with new statistics (10-24-02) that now more than 70 million Americans have a form of arthritis — one in three people ! Thank you Amye for all your hard work. It is through your painful suffering that others can now avoid such ordeals. I am glad you wrote this book and I am glad to call you my friend. It is because of our disease that we met and for that I am eternally grateful. This book is an excellent source of inspiration and hope for anyone who has arthritis or who loves someone that suffers with arthritis.

A Compelling True-Story Page Turner!
Get A Grip by Amye Leong is a marvelous book. While this self-help book is especially relevant for young people suffering from Arthritis, Amye's true story offers hope and inspiration for anyone challenged by chronic pain and chronic illness. Here are successful ways to take charge of our own medical and personal struggle. Well written — you will laugh, cry and learn to cope along with her. This is a page turner.
—Richard and Peggy Hays (Inspired by her in Sacramento, CA & Tulsa, OK)

Get a Grip! A Take-Charge Approach to Living with Arthritis
Kudos to Amye!! A great inspiration story that truly humanizes Amye's life challenges in so many aspects of her life. Arthritis and it's related conditions are so misunderstood by so many & Amye's book is a great read for individual's afflicted with arthritis, family members & loved ones, rheumatalogists, orthopedic surgeons, general physicians, & physical therapists.
I've dealt with rheumatoid arthritis since 8 yrs old, undergoing 8 orthopedic surgeries, including 4 total knee replacements and have been privileged to share my arthritic challenges with Amye. I was fortunate to work with Amye thru the Arthritis Foundation locally and nationally in an effort to change the public awareness of the major impact of arthritis on so many lives. Amye is truly a hero to so many that have heard her speak, participated in her help groups, been counseled by her or simply shared a warm greeting with her. I encourage everyone to read Amye's book and talk about life's issues and be actively involved — you will rewarded for a lifetime!

Read this book — NOW!
A strong, clear voice that will resonate with young adults impacted by rheumatic diseases, and people of all ages who struggle with arthritis, chronic conditions, or discouraging limitations of any kind.

This is no tale of woe, nor one of triumphant (but short-lived) denial. Amye is a leader who speaks unflinchingly of the troubles chronic illness can bring, all the while proving that a life with long term health challenges can still be one of joy and accomplishment.

Get A Grip
I met Amye Leong a number of years ago when she came to me to receive massage therapy which supports her continued mobility. I came to respect her, thoroughly enjoy her and admire her for her life's accomplishments. So when Get A Grip was published I was excited to read it, to know Amye's story in greater detail. And yes, the book is very readable, inspiring and filled with the joy that Amye can hold not despite her disease, but with her disease.What I was not prepared for was how topical the book is for me as I deal with having a very different chronic autoimmune disease. I had recently sunk into a depression which is a side effect of my physical illness, a response to the ways my life has changed and how I had allowed myself to become a victim of this disease and not, as Amye so strongly addresses in Get A Grip, becoming a participating partner in my health care. Amye Leong has spent many years touching people's lives through her advocacy for, and commitment to the rheumatoid arthritis community. Now through her writing she is touching and inspiring so many more! While it is understandable that Get A Grip is directed to people with rheumatoid arthritis, I believe it would be intensely appropriate, helpful and perhaps even necessary for anyone dealing with a chronic illness, and even those struggling with a life challenge.

Spirit of Change New England's Holistic Magazine Book Review (July/Aug 2002) says:
Passionate, articulate and encouraging, Amye Leong's book on her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis offers readers a wealth of practical and spiritual advice and inspiration on a degenerative disease, the severity of which is not always apparent. A systemic disease that affects the organs as well as the joint fluid and lining, the body "turns on itself, attacking healthy cells and destroying a perfectly vital joint." There is no cure for the disease, which is complex as well as unpredictable. Leong's own story is of a humbling experience from having believed that "image is everything" in her years as Homecoming Queen and first Asian-American, female student body president, to facing up to the difficulties of learning to recognize and acknowledge the onset of her sudden chronic condition and the struggle to regain control of her health and well-being. Feeling herself to be an "eighteen year old with the body of a ninety year old," Leong started feeling morning stiffness, chronic fatigue and through denial and neglect, got to the point of "hurting all over" and going into shock. Key to her coping and recovery was becoming aware of what she needed, knowing when to admit she needed real help, and then asking for it! Leong brings to her story a unique brand of humor and honesty in portraying her dark and painful struggle to overcome the hardship of this debilitating disease. Get A Grip is a look at how a first-hand experiential knowledge of arthritis and a passion to help others enabled Leong to not only start a new life, but help others to do so as well.

Negative to Positive
After reading Get a Grip by Amye Leong, I realized why the title was so apt. Not only is the message loud and clear to the arthritic world out there but also for `others' to get a grip on themselves.
What ever obstacles arise in ones life, be it, mental, physical, emotional — everyone should take responsibility for their own well being. By being good and kind to oneself, the strength to share a positivity becomes a power that can reach other's. Amye Leong's true story reveals just how this works. I felt empowered once I read the final pages and will strongly recommend the book to all my friends and associates for the fascinating journey that Amye takes us on — from the negative to positive. And shows us how dreams can come true.

Universally Appealing and Moving
This book, a fast roller coaster ride that covers a critical portion of a special woman's life journey, is at once exhilarating, beautifully constructed, powerful, thought-provoking and mirth-inducing. It is inspirational without preaching, could have easily been written by and for men or women, and its lessons are applicable to anyone who has to deal with adversity of the mind, body and/or soul. One can only hope for many sequels to come. I look forward to the movie…and the hidden details simply alluded to in the book itself. Brava!

The best arthritis book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally, an arthritis book that speaks the arthritic's soul. Amye Leong's story captures all the turmoil, anxiety, physical and emotional pain of living with rheumatoid arthritis. At times I felt she was telling my story. I also have RA for the past twenty years and have gone through similar experiences. Amye's courageous struggle with this disease and her fight to make this a better place for all of us is a must read for anyone living with any form of auto-immune disorder. There are so many books out there on the scientific, medical, and perhaps nutritional components of this disease. Amye speaks to our injured souls and provide us with the wings of fortitude and camaraderie. I do not have words to explain how deeply and profoundly this book has touched me. I am having my husband read this book so he could see that I am not alone. If you know anyone who lives with RA or any auto immune disease, this is a must have!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A survivor's guide to chronic illness
Get A Grip is an amazing and inspirational book by a woman who has been to hell and back! As I read I laughed and cried — I celebrated her victories and was crushed by her defeats. The amazing thing is how she learned and grew from each episode. She has wisdom to share with anyone who is struggling with a chronic illness — or who loves someone with a chronic illness. She takes you step by step through the process of learning to be an advocate, first for yourself, and then for others. It truly is a must read!!

Get A Grip, A MUST read for anyone who has or knows someone who has arthritis...
Amye Leong soberly tells in her memoir of her lifelong devastating struggle with rheumatoid arthritis. But this is by no means a pity book; this young woman who as a college freshman was first diagnosed, with all her pain and hospitalizations she goes on to receive her MBA. In spite of needing twelve joint replacements to get her out of a wheelchair...when even her education has been accomplished. We journey with her through her sadness and triumphs, loves and laughter and tears, frustration and self education of the disease and most of all, we all cheer her on as she continues to persevere throughout her setbacks...and victories! She represents us all, whether it be as a torch bearer in the 96 Olympics or just as a survivor of life which has dealt her such a harsh blow. Ms. Leong has gone on to help the arthritis community with her starting the first Support Group for the young with arthritis back in the 80's in her home state of California. Working along with C. Everett Coop during the Clinton administration on the Surgeon General's Counsel on Self Help and Public Health. Today she travels the world as a spokesperson for the UN endorsed bone and joint decade 2000-2010. She is an ICON for all of us 43 million Americans who live with arthritis everyday and pray for the cure.
Tilda Kruegel, Arthritis Foundation, Southwest Florida Regional Board Member

An inspiration to all!
Amye Leong is a survivor and an inspiration. Her book, Get a Grip, is the best kind of self-help book...personal story with practical help mixed in. As a fellow sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, I've read plenty of self-help books over the years. I wish Amye's book had been out years ago...I wouldn't had wasted so much time reading useless books. This book is essential if you suffer from any chronic disease.

Must Read
Amye's story is a "must read" for anyone who has arthritis or cares about someone who does. Amye's journey from victim to accomplished advocate, public speaker and businesswoman has served to inspire her countless friends at the Arthritis Foundation. Now this "Arthritis Foundation Treasure" is sharing her powerful story with all who feel challenged by chronic disease and want to reach within to find the resources necessary to take control, "get a grip," and begin to live their lives fully despite ever-continuing pain and disability.
Debra R. Lappin, JD, former Chair, Arthritis Foundation

Amye Leong is a remarkable woman with an amazing story. Crippling arthritis washed away her childhood dream of living in France, but through her determination, medical advances, and ironically, because of arthritis, she is now living that dream as official spokesperson for the United Nations/World Health Organization–endorsed Bone and Joint Decade. Amye's life is an inspiration to people affected by any chronic disorder and the health professionals who care for them. This book, Get a Grip!, chronicles her challenges and masterfully details the lessons she learned. It will help all arthritis sufferers not only live with the disease, but succeed in spite of it.
Lars Lidgren, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Chairman, International Steering Committee
Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010
Chairman, Department of Orthopaedics
Lund University Hospital, Sweden

Book Review

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Arthritis

One in four will be diagnosed with some form of arthritis. This is a reference book that belongs in every household.

There are over 46 million Americans who suffer from some form of arthritis. Here, longtime arthritis advocate and internationally renowned consultant Amye L. Leong and arthritis medical expert, Dr. Neal S. Birnbaum, offer a clear, jargon-free, and comprehensive guide to understanding this disease.
• Includes detailed explanations of the various forms of the disease and symptoms, and how lifestyle can contribute to the severity of the conditions
• Describes the full range of traditional medical treatments from prescription drugs and physical therapy to surgery, as well as alternative treatments including supplements, super foods, and detox
• Coping methods such as meditation and lifestyle changes