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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

REVIEW: Disconjugate Gaze by Daniel Rufer @disconjugate

Disconjugate Gaze 
by Daniel Rufer

A special thank you to the author, and my friend, Dan for this copy. ❤

Publish Date: January 13, 2019
Kindle Edition
203 Pages
Genres: Memoir, Non-fiction

About four years ago, I woke up with numbness in my left foot which, over a period of just six weeks, spread to the entire left side of my body. The numbness was caused by a vascular anomaly called a cavernous malformation. Long-story short, the “cav mal” required a ten-hour brain surgery to halt its expansion into my brainstem. While the surgery most certainly saved my life, it further debilitated the left side of my body, paralyzed the right side of my face, caused permanent double-vision, and required a three-week stay in the hospital. After all that and countless hours of physical and occupational therapy, I’ve been able to resume a full life, though my motor-skill deficiencies, numbness, and double-vision persist. 

Disconjugate Gaze is the story of my health struggle from the date of diagnosis through one year of recovery.


My friend, Dan, wrote this memoir about his experience with cavernous malformation.  Imagine having your world blown up by one phone call from a doctor, thinking there was something wrong with your back and it turns out, it's inside your own head - literally!  Bags packed, phone calls made, newlywed plans broken and days that turn into weeks that turn into months with what feels like almost NO progress.  Just how strong do you have to be to go through something like this? Or do you find the strength in getting through it?

I'm not too big of a memoir fan and while I may be a bit biased since I have sat down and spoke with the author about this journey a couple of times, I am never dishonest in my reviews.  I am thoroughly impressed with Dan's writing.  There is a lot of humor that I know now is just his personality, that shines through and adds some levity to what is a very serious situation.  Each chapter headlines another occurrence - checking in, dealing with dickhead doctors, nurses, aides, dealing with amazing doctors who kept some of the anxiousness at bay.  Going through the surgery and then the recovery - this is where Mr. Rufer really pulls you in as we travel through his journey with each new and frustrating experience.  The eventual low point that these situations somehow always puts humans in and then the uplift, acknowledgment and eventual acceptance.  

I cannot, for a minute, imagine what he went through but this book certainly gives me a better understanding.  The medical explanations weren't overly done so you don't get bogged down by a bunch of medical speak.  Instead, you learn with him.  I appreciate the journey he took me on.  I applaud Rufer's courage, adaptability, humor and overall HUMANITY with the initial shock of all of this - to the continued improvement of living his best life. 

Thank you for your story and for the acknowledgment and seeing a therapist with my name was an added surprise!


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