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Facing trials with humour

Author Shona Daube holding her latest book ‘Does my bum look big with this stick?’ outside her writing studio in Carterton. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

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Shona Daube wants people to laugh at her public embarrassments in hope it will help them feel good about their own struggles with chronic illness.

Daube has recorded her own account of facing life with Multiple Sclerosis in her latest book ‘Does my bum look big with this stick?’ with an unusual, amusing twist.

While her first book ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Neurologist’ was an educational account of living with MS, her new book provides insights into awkward situations people facing chronic illness may find themselves in.

“It’s about giving people in these situations a bit of a smile,” she said.

“If you can joke about it, it doesn’t damage your self-confidence in the same way.

“I’m not picking fun at anyone else.

“I just hope people might have a laugh.”

The former nurse moved to Carterton four years ago to escape the rat race of city life after being diagnosed with MS.

She said the laid-back Wairarapa lifestyle had helped her manage her symptoms and joked how she stopped pretending to look for a job after two years.

“I work at staying healthy through diet, exercise and meditation – it’s a full-time job really.”

As a medical professional, she had witnessed the severest forms of MS in patients but hadn’t let it faze her.

“I am determined to face any challenges in my life with humour,” she said.

And while she had expected to be living a wealthier life filled with overseas travel at this stage in her life, she had accepted she was still more fortunate than others dealing with MS.

“I didn’t have a crystal ball and I didn’t know what life would turn out like, but I had hopes of what it would be like.

“It’s no different now really – I still don’t have a crystal ball.”

She said writing the book came quite easily to her seeing as she lives life with a continuous narrative going on inside her head.

“I’m a bit of a yarn spinner,” she said, smiling.

“Every time something happens in life, I tend to create a yarn in my head.”

Her book was illustrated by Greytown artist Janet Atkinson, and the design work was done by prisoners at Rimutaka Prison to keep costs down.

“I want to make enough money from the book sales to give free copies away to field workers and nurses who work with people with chronic illnesses.”

‘Does my bum look big with this stick?’ is to be released today at 5pm at Toi Wairarapa – Heart of Arts in Carterton.

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