I grew up in a family where illness of any kind was regarded as weakness, a moral flaw, or both. My mother had a major stroke when she was 40 and I was 16. My father insisted we keep her stroke secret from everyone outside the family for months. I chauffeured my four brothers and sisters, cooked, did laundry, and lied to my teachers about why my homework was never done. Dad never explained why it was a secret, just that we must not tell a soul.
I learned, therefore, to be secretive and ashamed of any problem with my body. So it was that in my 47th year, I had quite a shock. When I went to... Read More