My Soul Still Dances
DriverWorks Ink / 26 October 2017

My Soul Still Dances: Living with Parkinson’s by Sister Adelaide Fortowsky, with Sister Rosetta Reiniger Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Keith Foster $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927570-38-8 No one can ever know the pain inflicted by Parkinson’s disease – unless they’ve experienced it. Sister Adelaide Fortowsky, an Ursuline Sister, lived with this disease for more than twenty years and wrote about her ordeal in a diary. Published as My Soul Still Dances: Living with Parkinson’s, she records the progress of the disease as she slowly deteriorates. Born Bertha Fortowsky in 1930 on the family farm near Cavell, SK, she was so frail at birth that a midwife, fearing the newborn wouldn’t live, baptized her. She joined the Order of St. Ursuline in 1950, taking the name Sister Adelaide, and made her final vows in 1956. After teaching elementary school in Saskatchewan villages and towns for twenty-nine years, she joined the staff at St. Angela’s Academy, an all-girls high school with live-in students, at Prelate, SK. She taught until 2003, when her Parkinson’s affliction became severe. This is not an easy read. Parkinson’s has no known cause or cure. When “normal” activities were no longer normal, Sister Adelaide felt trapped in her…

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life!
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 20 January 2017

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $15.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-53-9 Stress: every person deals with some amount of it. Some turn to vices (drugs, alcoholism, over-eating); some become angry, fearful, or depressed; many become physically ill; and fortunate others view stress as a challenge to be dealt with in positive ways (ie: changing routines, practicing mindfulness, exercising). If stress is threatening to sink you, reading Saskatonian Allan Kehler’s latest book, Goodbye Stress, Hello Life!, could be a swell start to swimming out of it. Kehler is a public presenter with a wealth of experience, both professional (addictions counsellor, clinical case manager, and college instructor) and personal (mental health and addiction issues) that fuel his authority on stress and living a healthier life. The blurb on Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! is a strong motivator for any potential readers: [Kehler] empowers you to take an honest look at what lies beneath your stressors, and provides the tools to heal through a holistic approach. You will be inspired to stop existing and start living …” What I appreciate most about this book is the great and diverse analogies Kehler employs, ie: he…

Hanna’s Letter
DW Ulmer / 17 August 2016

Hanna’s Letter by Darren Ulmer Published by DW Ulmer Publishing Review by Leslie Vermeer $9.95 978-0-99502421-2 It’s said that books are a way to start a social conversation. That’s certainly the case for Darren Ulmer, author of the children’s book Hanna’s Letter, which follows a child living through her parent’s serious illness. Ulmer wrote the book to give families a resource to talk about and prepare for the effects of life-threatening illnesses. When Hanna finds out that her father has throat cancer, her world turns upside down. She feels sad and helpless until she realizes there’s one person who can help: Santa Claus. Her selfless letter to Santa, which forms the centre of the book, represents an important step in her journey, and her family’s, through a cancer diagnosis and recovery. We see Hanna’s fear, her wistfulness, and ultimately her hope as the wish expressed in her letter comes true. Beautifully illustrated by Diane Lucas, Hanna’s Letter is a compassionate story based on real life. Saskatoon-based writer and speaker Ulmer is himself a cancer survivor, and the book is modelled on his family’s experience. “This was a very personal story, my story,“ he says, but he fictionalized it to help…

The Surprising Lives of Small Town Doctors

The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors edited by Dr. Paul Dhillon Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $21.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-431-5 “All doctors, no matter how great or experienced, are a work in progress. They call it practising medicine for a reason.” So declares Dr. Aleem Jamal, one of forty doctors who relate their experiences in The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors, edited by Dr. Paul Dhillon. This 222-page book contains forty stories from all ten Canadian provinces and three territories. One story is in French with English translation, and five are by Saskatchewan physicians. The stories are split almost equally between male and female doctors. As editor, Dr. Dhillon introduces each doctor with a short paragraph. Before relocating to rural or remote areas in Canada, many of these professionals gained experience internationally, such as through Doctors Without Borders. The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors has intriguing chapter titles such as “Do Not Feed the Polar Bears,” “Goldibear and the Four Anglers,” and “Horse Kicks, Talking Heads, and Bear Chases – Oh My!” Speaking of bears, when a patient with dementia claims to have seen one outside his hospital window, his doctor thinks he’s hallucinating, until a…

Stepping Out From the Shadows: A Guide to Understanding and Healing From Addictions

Stepping Out from the Shadows: A Guide to Understanding & Healing from Addictions by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-12-6 Unhealthy addictions are prevalent in contemporary society, and if you visit any bookstore, you’ll note that books about addictions also fill the shelves. When one who’s experienced the wrath of addiction puts pen to paper, it tends to add weight to the words. Allan Kehler is a Saskatchewan author, addictions counsellor, educator, and presenter, and he’s also struggled with both addictions and mental illness. His book Stepping Out from the Shadows: A Guide to Understanding & Healing from Addictions, is an easy-to-read guide for those struggling with addictions, and for those who love and support them. Kehler names some of the reasons why one might become addicted to a substance or behavior (like compulsive gambling or over-eating). These include a lack of love and nurturing within the home environment, mental illness, peer pressure, or some specific trauma which resulted in suppressed emotions. “The person takes comfort knowing that something exists that will bring them out of their painful reality.” As use escalates, however, a habit that was once a “want”…

Dementia Prevention Naturally
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 23 September 2014

Dementia Prevention Naturally: Evidence-Based Strategies to Enrich Cognition by Felix Veloso M.D. with Roxanne Veloso-Tang and Joanne Veloso Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Regine Haensel $18.88 ISBN 978-1-927756-11-9 We are all getting older. “If you live long enough,” writes Dr. Felix Veloso, “you will either develop dementia or care for a loved one with the mind-robbing curse.” Felix Veloso, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C), F.A.A.N. is a Saskatchewan neurologist who has been practicing for over forty years. He is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His book, Dementia Prevention Naturally, does not claim to diagnose, cure or treat any disease; rather it suggests strategies that can help keep us cognitively healthy. The book gives definitions and information about various memory impairments, such as Age-Associated Memory Impairment, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and disease driven dementias. Statistics, information from patient case studies, as well as data from reports and research studies are provided. Also useful are the notes at the back of the book, as well as a glossary and index. The reader is taken through some of the tests, evaluation methods, and criteria to…

Stroke Prevention Naturally: Proven Non-Pharmaceutical Stroke Avoidance Strategies
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 18 January 2012

Stroke Prevention Naturally: Proven Non-Pharmaceutical Stroke Avoidance Strategies by Felix Veloso, M.D. F.R.C.P.(C), F.A.A.N. Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Y.M. Smith $18.88 ISBN 978-1-894431-57-6 Stroke, brain attack, and cerebrovascular accident all mean the same thing – interruption of blood flow to the brain. Dr. Felix Veloso, a neurologist and clinical professor in Regina SK, has witnessed the devastation of stroke to patients and their families countless times in his over 40 years of practice. “Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability” and the “second leading cause of death worldwide.” Yet there is a bright light in this picture. “Studies continue to confirm that a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of stroke by up to 90%.” And at the same time a stroke is being prevented, heart attack and vascular dementia are also being prevented. In addition to the improved quality of life for people, imagine the impact on our healthcare system. “In Canada, direct and indirect cost of stroke is at least three billion dollars yearly and climbing.” Dr. Veloso is passionate in his belief that the general population be active participants in decisions that impact their health; give people the knowledge they need to make…

The Smiling Mask

The Smiling Mask: Truths About Postpartum Depression and Parenthood by Carla O’Reilly, Elita Paterson, Tania Bird, and Peggy Collins Published by Purpose to Prosperity Publishing Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall Price: $ 24.95 CDN ISBN: 978-0-9781341-3-6 The Smiling Mask uses the stories of three women who suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) to create awareness of the issues surrounding this disease. The book begins with forwards written by mental health experts such as Sally Elliott, perinatal nurse/counselor at Regina YMCA. In the preface, clinical psychologist Marlene Harper identifies some of the controversies and complexities surrounding PPD. Harper identifies degrees of severity in psychiatric symptoms. Postpartum blues, for example, are mild, including mood swings and confusion lasting up to about 10 days. Postpartum depression is similar to clinical depression and may last up to a year. Postpartum psychosis is a severe, rapid mental illness, usually requiring hospitalization. Harper also discusses potential treatment, including medications and counseling. In the next three chapters, authors Carla O’Reilly, Elita Paterson, and Tania Bird give an earnest and heart-felt account of their journey through PPD. They discuss the “smiling mask” they used to try and hide their illness, and the difficulty of setting it aside to discuss…

The Saskatchewan Secret
Benchmark Press / 27 January 2010

The Saskatchewan Secret: Folk Healers, Diviners, and Mystics of the Prairies by Jacqueline Moore Published by Benchmark Press Review by Shanna Mann $19.95 ISBN 978-0-9813243-2-6 It was inspiring to read about people with the intestinal fortitude to live unconventional lives. In our scientific, logical world that kind of nonconformity separates us from our fellow man at the same time as we learn the underlying truth– we are more inter-connected than we believe. Jacqueline Moore wisely advises readers in the preface, “‘Reality’ is a curious word–it sounds undeniable, authoritative, scientific. But it’s a completely subjective concept… These individuals are truthfully depicting their version of reality; however, one’s personal version must not be — can not be — the whole, entire, and complete reality…I would ask that you simply accept that these are other good people’s real experiences; and that you keep an open mind.” On one hand, many of the stories lined up with my personal beliefs, and perhaps I like the book simply because it makes me feel “right.” But on the other hand, when you read about faith healers invoking the Virgin Mary or Jesus and getting phenomenal results (an event which before reading this book I would have…

Eat Away Illness, Second Edition
Soul Food Publishing / 16 December 2009

Eat Away Illness, Second Edition by Paulette Millis Published by Soul Food Publishing Review by Karen Lawson $47.50 ISBN 978-0-9683647-3-4 Here is a book that takes a common sense approach to nutrition. In today’s fast paced, fast food society, it is often difficult to maintain healthy eating habits. It is even harder to sort through the vast amount of information about nutrition that is available. Paulette Millis is a Registered Nutritional Consultant who has written a book that will appeal to everyone who wants to change the way that they eat. Eat Away Illness is a must have reference book that looks at ways to eat well and improve one’s health. It is chock full of valuable information and suggestions for anyone who wants to learn more about nutrition. The author has faced a variety of her own health issues, which was the impetus behind writing her book. The focus of Eat Away Illness is to make people aware of the importance of proper nutrition and how healthy foods can not only maintain and improve health, but also help to heal the body and mind. Eat Away Illness is much more than just a cookbook. All the recipes use healthy,…