Love As Healing is a story of triumph over a terrifying and poorly understood disease through courage and devotion. It has its hero and heroine faced suddenly with a sickness which sets out to paralyse the body. It records their lengthy search for treatments not "the talking cure", but a long slow cure through love. Inspiring, humbling, and as intensely Korean as it is resonantly universal in its message.
-John Dunn, Professor Emeritus of Cambridge University, UK
Functional movement disorders have been known since the dawn of medicine, but physicians were not educated about them. This sad situation is now being changed. This interesting book details the course of the disorder. The detail of the story is unmatched in the literature and shows the difficulties of patients and the improvements correlated with psychological and social factors. What can be better than love?
-Mark Hallett, MD, NINDS Scientist Emeritus, National Institutes of Health, USA
Love As Healing is a moving account of how a woman accustomed to flying high from one academic venue to another is brought low by a mysterious attack on her body. Love As Healing is a book of lessons-not just for the ill seeking recovery-but for all who are torn by wars or civil strife.
-Charles Lemert, Professor Emeritus of Wesleyan University, USA
About the Author
Young-hee Shim graduated from the Department of English and Sociology at Seoul National University, and received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University in the U.S. She spent time at Bielefeld University in Germany as a researcher, was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, and a visiting professor at Beijing University. She has been a professor at the Hanyang University Department of Sociology and Law, a chair professor, and currently is an Professor Emeritus. She served as president of the Korean Association of Women's Studies and as co-representative of the Women Making Peace, an NGO. She has started an on-line cafe for FMD patients (https: //cafe.naver.com/jmfmd), where FMD patients and their families can help and encourage one another with information-sharing and self-help tips.
Sang-jin Han graduated from the Department of Sociology and Graduate School of Seoul National University, and received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University in the U.S. He served as President of the Academy of the Korean Studies, and Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Policy Planning during Kim Dae-jung administration. He taught as Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York, Beijing University, Tsinghua University, and Jilin University in China, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and University of Kyoto, Japan. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Joongmin Public Foundation.
Baek-lim Ga studies Korean literature and has translated a number of Korean short stories and longer books. He is currently a research fellow in Seoul.
'Functional Movement Disorder' (FMD) is a disease not yet clearly identified why it happens and how it can be cured, nevertheless causing fearful involuntary movements of the body such as severe muscle spasms and paralysis, affecting physical functioning and making basic daily life impossible. It causes insomnia, indigestion, perspiration, depression, and shortness of breath, and pain to both the patient and family members.
This book offers a vivid account of a couple's devoted emotional struggles with FMD syndrome, published for the first time in Korean and now in English. Composed of three main parts, the first and third parts were written by Young-hee Shim, the patient who suffered severely from FMD, and the second part by Sang-Jin Han, her husband and care-giver as well. Part 1 describes the onset and progression of the disease, its symptoms, the recuperation process including medical examinations and diagnoses, drug treatment, and exercise therapy. Part 3 describes the day-to-day course of relearning everything anew beginning from breathing and stretching up to the recovery stage beginning with therapeutic walks. Part 2 shows the care-giver's observation and records of the factual trajectories of the illness in great detail, in a meticulously careful and reflexive manner, thereby candidly disclosing his lived experience of what love means and how family supports could have continued.
When someone in the family becomes ill, it affects the entire family. Anxiety eats away at the soul, and disease even more so. As the saying goes, 'A long illness will break even the most filial son'. The family member caring for the patient suffers as much as the patient, and is placed in a difficult situation that requires patience and dedication.
However, readers of the book will meet a warm couple and their family and friends, who comfort and care for each other even in times of extreme pain and fatigue. The book offers a moving story fully describing how the patient, despite the lack of memories except her own experiences of illness could have recovered her narratives and combined them into the vivid daily records prepared by husband while she immersed into sleeping every night.
The two Korean co-authors, Professor Han at Seoul National University and Professor Shim at Hanyang University remained closely united emotionally as husband and wife even in a desperate situation where there is no clear cure or prescription. In a chaotic situation due to the absence of reliable information, the book shows how husband led the whole family to a consensus, trusting on the treatment by the medical staffs while doing everything he can to support his spouse.
Singing to his crying wife in the middle of the night as he tends to her needs, he is an active caregiver who seeks a vehicle for treatment through frequent walks and exercising rather than staying in bed, and who, while getting angry from time to time amid the frustration of his situation, soon realizes his fault and humbly apologizes for losing his temper. This can be said to be the power of an intellect that controls emotion and manages struggle through constant self-reflection, and at the same time, is a testimony to the couple's decades-long intellectual and mutually engaged social life.
In this book, readers encounter a powerful example of love and care that avoids falling into the sad, gloomy, tragic atmosphere of battling illness. This is another virtue. In doing so, it may provide comfort and courage to patients and their families who are tired and depressed from the pain and responsibility that disease incurs. The authors hoped to be of some help to those patients and families suffering from FMD and other rare diseases, offering hope for recovery by their own example.