Chronic Illness Book Club

May Book Review: How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? by Carla Ulbrich

From the first moment I was diagnosed with my autoimmune diseases, I was looking not only for ways that I could help my body, but also help my mental health and my spirit.  Carla Ulbrich is the big sister I never had.


Ulbrich does a brilliant job of walking us through the various stages of diagnosis with Lupus at the beginning, to guidance as to what to expect from various tests. She reveals that she also has had several strokes, so she really knows her way around doctors and hospitals. While some may question cracking jokes and making light of a horrible situation, this book never crosses that line of too much levity.  Instead she builds a case for remaining positive, and when a silver lining isn’t present, making one if you have to.


Included in this volume are Ulbrich’s snippets of lyrics to popular songs, rewritten in the vein of Weird Al Yankovic. As we read, we discover this is what she does while waiting for appointments and spending time writing parody songs and entertaining people with them.


While Ulrich is not a doctor, she does pass along information that can be helpful for those fighting inflammation, including kind of activities/exercises you can try, and foods to avoid.  All of these are very general, but things that someone brand new to a diagnosis of Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, or the 100+ other autoimmune diseases out there might find useful.


All-in-all this was a delightful read that I would recommend to anyone with a chronic illness that could use some encouragement.

Click here to check it out on Amazon.

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