Great R. reviewed Tales from the Bed : On Living, Dying, and Having It All on
Jenifer Estess was a beautiful, healthy, and successful woman who was in her thirties when she was diagnosed with the fatal disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Also commonly known as Lou Gehrigs disease, ALS is a neuromuscular disease that destroys cells in the brain and spine called motor neurons. Without motor neurons, the brain cannot tell the muscles what to do. Without directions from the brain, muscles cannot function. Without muscles, a person cannot do anything, including walking, swallowing, or breathing. The discovery of ALS gave Jenifer a lot more to live for in her final months.
Faced with the newly attested diagnosis, the effects of ALS hit almost instantly. She started losing one ability every week and noticed other tasks becoming increasingly difficult. While Jenifer and her family and friends were preparing for Jenifers last months, they also tried everything to stop the disease in its tracks. They were searching for the impossible cure. They tried anything and everything, from healers and masseuses to snake oils and diets. They were running out of ideas.
Without any ideas of their own left, Jenifers friends and family started a program called Project ALS. The focus of Project ALS was to raise money to create more initiative for doctors to find a cure of ALS. Jenifers family and friends got started right away by calling in a few favors. Celebrity guests hosted benefit dinners and dances, and Jenifer would be speaking at multiple conferences. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for research grants.
Despite the doctors work still in progress and her deteriorating muscles, Jenifer continued with her life and urged her family to continue with theirs. She gave into the hype of wheelchairs and electric beds and was able to become a little more independent. With the help and support of friends and family, Jenifer came to terms with her disease but still remained hopeful. Tales from the Bed is touching and inspiring, written about a young woman who failed to have her ideal fairy tale life, but kept pushing on as if she could still turn her fate around.