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Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors and healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled. The anguish, the uncertainty, and the relentless pain would have caused many people to simply give up and end their lives—and Cherie came close. Told with brutal honesty, astonishing wit, and a haunting vulnerability, A Few Minor Adjustments is an unforgettable memoir that will move you with its fiercely inspirational account of one woman’s incredible journey to find life-saving answers. In the end, she finds much more than a diagnosis.


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Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors and healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled. The anguish, the uncertainty, and the relentless pain would have caused many people to simply give up and end their lives—and Cherie came close. Told with brutal honesty, astonishing wit, and a haunting vulnerability, A Few Minor Adjustments is an unforgettable memoir that will move you with its fiercely inspirational account of one woman’s incredible journey to find life-saving answers. In the end, she finds much more than a diagnosis.

30 review for A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    Cherie Kephart’s memoir begins in 2004 in a bathroom shower stall. As the water rains down upon the then 33-year old, she experiences neck and arm pain so intense she drops to the floor. Willpower alone gets her to the phone. She summons her boyfriend who takes her to the emergency room of a local hospital—a place she had visited a mere two weeks before, afflicted with similar mysterious pain. The physician who had attended her then noted a highly irregular EKG—which would eventually lead to a d Cherie Kephart’s memoir begins in 2004 in a bathroom shower stall. As the water rains down upon the then 33-year old, she experiences neck and arm pain so intense she drops to the floor. Willpower alone gets her to the phone. She summons her boyfriend who takes her to the emergency room of a local hospital—a place she had visited a mere two weeks before, afflicted with similar mysterious pain. The physician who had attended her then noted a highly irregular EKG—which would eventually lead to a diagnosis of SVT: supraventricular tachycardia—due to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. That first E.R. doctor had also recommended that she see her primary care doctor and be referred to a cardiologist and a neurologist. Now, two weeks later, with the referrals to specialists in the queue for approval by her health insurance company, the second E.R. doctor can only tell her she is in the wrong place: the emergency room is for trauma victims, not those with chronic illnesses. Rest and take ibuprofen, he tells her. A Few Minor Adjustments documents the long and painful ordeal Cherie Kephart endured in order to get a diagnosis and treatment for her mysterious, debilitating condition. In crisp, often humorous chapters that travel back in time a decade or more (before 2004), Kephart tells stories of the adventurous life she lived before severe chronic illness took her hostage. She had studied in Hull, England during her college years, spent time in Zambia with the Peace Corps as a 23-year-old (where an atypical case of malaria took such intractable hold of her that she was forced to return to the U.S. to recover), and resided in Auckland, New Zealand to attend graduate school. Kephart describes the illnesses and personal challenges she faced in each of these locations. With each detail she provides, the mystery of her “presenting complaints” in 2004 only deepens for the reader. Her story is a genuine medical mystery that had me perpetually revising my amateur differential diagnoses. Was this mysterious illness a lingering case of malaria or due to some unusual African virus or intestinal parasite? Could it be Hepatitis? H.I.V? A psychosomatic condition associated with the violent assault she had endured many years before but did not properly “process”? The residual physical effects of a serious car accident that had required a year of physical therapy, or some sort of autoimmune disorder like lupus or multiple sclerosis? Kephart attended appointments with innumerable specialists (46 of them by October 2008)—among them: a neurologist, a cardiologist, a physiatrist, and an infectious disease expert. She’d been submitted to five CT scans, seven MRIs, and 10 ultrasounds, undergone a multitude of lab tests, and filled an abundance of prescriptions—to no effect. (She also dabbled in alternative medicine and had money siphoned away by a few quacks.) Some clinicians offered “catch-all” (or wastebasket) diagnoses like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. One physician told Kephart that she needed to face the fact that her illness might all be in her head. It is an unfortunate truth that many results-oriented physicians grow impatient when confronted with difficult, ambiguous cases like Kephart’s, dismissing the patient as a malingerer, a basket case, or a time-waster. Pressed for time, burdened with heavy patient loads, or simply burned out from years of demanding work with sick people, they may lack the interest or stamina to investigate conditions that don’t yield to easy interpretations. In addition to the physical and emotional costs of chronic illness, there are social ones. Friendships fray, and many are lost. The author marvels that her boyfriend, Alex, stays the course. She often feels tremendous guilt at how her condition limits his life, however. Kephart generally writes in a lively manner, injecting humour to leaven the sometimes heavy subject matter. However, there is some unfortunate overblown figurative language. For example, a friend’s pale skin is said to be “adorned with a Milky Way of freckles”. There is also some problematic word choice. The author mentions “easement” of suffering (“easing” would be the better word). She says she feels “endearing gratitude” when what she really means is gratitude to an “endearing” friend or gratitude of an “enduring” kind. A sports bra is described as “enterprising”(!) when the author appears to mean it is of good quality, and the word “robust” is used incorrectly fairly consistently. A good editor should have assisted with these distracting infelicities. Kephart also assigns her many doctors comical monickers based on their most salient physical or character traits. Along the way, readers meet “Dr. Perfect “, “Dr. Friendly“, “Dr. Nose Hair“, and “Dr. Godlike “—among others. I understand the author’s desire to inject some levity into a personal narrative made of many unfortunate events, but the snideness can interfere with tone at times. Sometimes it’s perfectly appropriate for an author to be serious! Moments of intense psychological distress also don’t come off quite right and read a bit too melodramatically. Recreated or remembered verbal exchanges, in particular, often sound mechanical and unconvincing. Less would have been more where dialogue is concerned. My reservations aside, I enjoyed A Few Minor Adjustments . It is an engaging and often surprisingly entertaining read that I would recommend to others who enjoy memoir and autobiography, travel narratives, or nonfiction on medical themes. The author does get a diagnosis and treatment eventually, but I’ll leave that to potential readers to discover on their own. I thank the author, publisher, and Net Galley for providing me with an advance reading copy of this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cherie Kephart

    Hello dear readers, I'm so excited to share my memoir with all of you. I wrote this book so that others would not feel as lost, alone, and afraid as I felt. I want you to know that no matter what you are going through, or how dark life seems, there is always light. And you can heal. Wishing you healing and happiness, Cherie

  3. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Dawn

    I knew I was going to read this book as soon as I saw the cover. I love elephants! Frankly they are my spirit animal. They’re strong, loyal, sweet and kind, but most importantly, they’re egalitarian. From the brief skim-read of the blurb, it’s quick to assume that Kephart had an encounter with elephants during her work with The Peace Corps in Africa, but that’s far from the truth. Choosing an elephant to represent her life story was a bold decision because apart from the brief mention of a relati I knew I was going to read this book as soon as I saw the cover. I love elephants! Frankly they are my spirit animal. They’re strong, loyal, sweet and kind, but most importantly, they’re egalitarian. From the brief skim-read of the blurb, it’s quick to assume that Kephart had an encounter with elephants during her work with The Peace Corps in Africa, but that’s far from the truth. Choosing an elephant to represent her life story was a bold decision because apart from the brief mention of a relative’s ornaments, they play no real-life part in her story. The journey Kephart documents, however, shows us that she inherited their strength to fight, their wisdom to look further, and their compassion to hold their loved ones near. She never put her pain upon others, and fought long and hard for a diagnosis, let alone a cure. Never before have I encountered such a visceral account of a woman’s struggle to fight. Aggressive battles of the mind and body fill the pages and tug deep on the heart strings of the reader’s soul. Every twinge, jolt and stab is transferred from the pages and into the reader’s own body. I could feel her frustration with each and every visit to a doctor’s office, her disappointment when each investigation led to another dead-end, and her hope when each dead-end led to another opportunity. The chapters during her more healthier years in The Peace Corps are very enjoyable. Being the same age as Kephart when she began her service, I automatically felt connected. Just announcing the dangers of living in Africa and the number of precautions she had to take, I could only imagine the daunting task she took upon herself, and it left me wondering if I could do the same thing. Her first major health scare involved three large flesh-eating maggots living inside her skin, on her butt no-less. Having them forcibly removed without anaesthetic, in a whole different world of infections and dangers, had me wriggling in my chair. When the maggots were gone, she was given a ’simple’ precaution that involved hot-coal ironing all of her clothing. I don’t envy her. I only can barely bring myself to pick up an iron for a special occasion; I couldn’t imagine spending a whole day to hot-coal iron every sock, bra and pair of underwear just hoping to kill the eggs of another invader. This book is written with a casual dialect that any reader or non-reader could pick up and enjoy, yet there is an intelligence behind Kephart’s words. What she weaves is relatable, yet, at the same time, from a whole different world than I’m sure 95% of readers are unaware of. I couldn’t imagine feeling so defenceless that I couldn’t do the things I loved. Not having the strength to feed oneself, hold a book or even stay awake is terrifying. For this reason, A Few Minor Adjustments is a true lesson of vigilance, offering hope and asking every reader to be grateful for every healthy, happy moment of their short lives.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie Miranda

    4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Triumph of the Human Spirit December 29, 2018 Format: Paperback I did not expect to find such a well-written & easy to read memoir. You wouldn't think a story about trying to find the reason for one's pain to be so profound & enlightening. But Cherie's story is one of exploration, hope and happiness to be in a place where maybe she can help others. My favorite part of the story was her time in Africa. A woman who cared enough about others to go to a country where the chan 4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Triumph of the Human Spirit December 29, 2018 Format: Paperback I did not expect to find such a well-written & easy to read memoir. You wouldn't think a story about trying to find the reason for one's pain to be so profound & enlightening. But Cherie's story is one of exploration, hope and happiness to be in a place where maybe she can help others. My favorite part of the story was her time in Africa. A woman who cared enough about others to go to a country where the chances of getting sick were very high. In the end though, it seems that Cherie already had the disease when she went to Africa. Being their just exacerbated her symptoms. Sherrie Miranda's historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Before the review, in the interest of full disclosure Cherie is both a Goodreads friend and a real-life friend. However, I did indeed purchase her book (for fairness). And though I normally reserve my 5-star ratings for books I would read again, I kind of have to suspend that here because of the subject matter. Now, on to the review. I'm not a memoir fan, but I've known Cherie for almost as long her favorite cat and couldn't miss the opportunity to read the story of what happened to the woman I o Before the review, in the interest of full disclosure Cherie is both a Goodreads friend and a real-life friend. However, I did indeed purchase her book (for fairness). And though I normally reserve my 5-star ratings for books I would read again, I kind of have to suspend that here because of the subject matter. Now, on to the review. I'm not a memoir fan, but I've known Cherie for almost as long her favorite cat and couldn't miss the opportunity to read the story of what happened to the woman I once worked with. In terms of reading, this book is very easy to read. The language is straightforward and the story moves at a comfortable pace that is quick without being too fast. And despite the circumstances described in this book (having known Cherie when she ran marathons, the word "tragic" here is not an exaggeration), there is definitely humor here that will bring a smile to your face. One warning, and this is perhaps what makes this such an engaging work, this is not a feel-good story. That is, you're not going to finish this book and go outside skipping and humming. It's the sort of book that makes you wonder how one person can endure all the things she went through (the disease is just one of them, trust me) and still wake up in the morning. You will be immensely saddened and angry at times as I was. But, through it all, when it's over you also get a bit of the deeper meaning of life that Cherie has come to understand more fully than (I would imagine) the rest of us. For anybody that wants inspiration to keep going or just a better grasp on what it all means (no answers, just a better grasp), this is highly recommended. For anyone who wants a real definition of inner strength, this is highly recommended. And for anyone who thinks that they don't make a difference in the world, this is highly recommended. Because any act, no matter how small, does indeed make a difference.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Wanting to make her life meaningful Cherie the author signs up for the peace corps and is sent to Africa, to a remote village in Zambia, on a water sanitation and health education project. Not long after getting there, and starting her project, she comes down with debilitating stomach problems, something she is there to try and make better for the people in this village, time and time again she is sent to the peace corps headquarters in the area and looked over by their doctors. One thing they d Wanting to make her life meaningful Cherie the author signs up for the peace corps and is sent to Africa, to a remote village in Zambia, on a water sanitation and health education project. Not long after getting there, and starting her project, she comes down with debilitating stomach problems, something she is there to try and make better for the people in this village, time and time again she is sent to the peace corps headquarters in the area and looked over by their doctors. One thing they do find is Malaria, but the rest of her symptoms are a mystery. After returning to her village , she is once again struck by stomach pains and Diarrhea, she is finally told that she is going to be sent back to the U.S. Until she is completely cured. This never occurs and Cherie develops more symptoms, and see many specialist and healers over the next many years trying to find out what is going on with her body. Thank goodness for a faithful boyfriend, family and good friends who see her through the worst days of her life. This story was hard to read at times but it was also a story that you could not put down, as you want to know if she is finally able to get a diagnosis for all that ails her. It was fascinating to see what she went through, and the treatments that she was put through to find a solution. I really admire how she was so persistent and still fairly upbeat as she went through all of this, and she is definitely a good example of strength for people who are going through similar undiagnosed illnesses. Well written, with a lot of good stories about her life. This was a book that was worth reading. I would like to thank NeGalley and Bazi Publishing for the ARC of this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Langer

    Author Cherie was a recent speaker at our California Writers Club, High Desert Branch meeting. I was not able to attend, but my 94-year old mother was very impressed as were members of the club. My mother bought us a copy of this memoir, and I couldn't put it down, even though it was so full of pain, struggle, and suffering. Although blessed with the help of so many who loved her, I don't know how she had the strength to keep pursuing a diagnosis. The reader will feel her pain and her fellow wri Author Cherie was a recent speaker at our California Writers Club, High Desert Branch meeting. I was not able to attend, but my 94-year old mother was very impressed as were members of the club. My mother bought us a copy of this memoir, and I couldn't put it down, even though it was so full of pain, struggle, and suffering. Although blessed with the help of so many who loved her, I don't know how she had the strength to keep pursuing a diagnosis. The reader will feel her pain and her fellow writers will especially tip their hats to her for writing this memoir of healing. Our club is finishing our third year of teaching memoir to high school students and publishing their works. I will include Cherie Kephart's book in the bibliography so others can know of excellent memoirs out there. I can't wait for Cherie's next publication. Wow! What a story that gives renewed courage to those suffering from illnesses and their caretakers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Wonderful read! I was walking around the San Diego Book Festival perusing tables of books upon books when the elephant on the cover caught my eye. I love elephants! I picked up the book to read the cover and about the author. I was staring at the photo of the author and then looked up at the woman behind the table just as she said "That's me!", with a lovely bright smile! Cherie and I had a brief but lovely conversation. I remember thinking, " I like her! I want to read her story. " So I bought t Wonderful read! I was walking around the San Diego Book Festival perusing tables of books upon books when the elephant on the cover caught my eye. I love elephants! I picked up the book to read the cover and about the author. I was staring at the photo of the author and then looked up at the woman behind the table just as she said "That's me!", with a lovely bright smile! Cherie and I had a brief but lovely conversation. I remember thinking, " I like her! I want to read her story. " So I bought the book. I am so glad I did! I started reading it that night and had a hard time putting it down. I even bought the Kindle version so I wouldn't miss a beat and wouldn't ruin the cover of my autographed version. What a story and what a life! I wish I had bought all her books! I will go reserved a copy of her newest book right now!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was such a compelling read! You would think a book about someone facing an awful, undiagnosed illness would be very slow and hard to get through. But the chapters are short and concise and the writing itself is clear, heartfelt, oftentimes funny, and emotionally resonant. While I have in no way experienced anything close to the hardship Kephart had to endure, the basis of her message--that even the worst of life's hurdles are somewhat bearable when you have good relationships in your life-- This was such a compelling read! You would think a book about someone facing an awful, undiagnosed illness would be very slow and hard to get through. But the chapters are short and concise and the writing itself is clear, heartfelt, oftentimes funny, and emotionally resonant. While I have in no way experienced anything close to the hardship Kephart had to endure, the basis of her message--that even the worst of life's hurdles are somewhat bearable when you have good relationships in your life--is universal. This book made me want to call all my closest friends and family and tell them how much I love and appreciate them. It's an important reminder that while the human body is not invincible, the human spirit is ever resilient.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    A Few Minor Adjustments Cherie Kephart Changing you life and longing to travel across the world to a different continent was more than a life changing experience for Cherie Kephart. Wanting to help the people in remote villages in Central Africa she would soon experience the same unsanitary conditions, lack of pure and clean water, no bathrooms but having to build and create latrines, no place to bathe privately and the food was often plagued with bugs and her world was filled with mosquitoes that A Few Minor Adjustments Cherie Kephart Changing you life and longing to travel across the world to a different continent was more than a life changing experience for Cherie Kephart. Wanting to help the people in remote villages in Central Africa she would soon experience the same unsanitary conditions, lack of pure and clean water, no bathrooms but having to build and create latrines, no place to bathe privately and the food was often plagued with bugs and her world was filled with mosquitoes that carried disease, flies that buzzed and may have even bitten plus living conditions that most would not be able to endure. Wanting to join the Peace Corps was her goal but when he arrived the things she went through, the bouts with many different illnesses and contracting malaria was nothing compared to what she face before she left. The medical facilities were poorly staffed and equipped. The skills of even the doctors were limited although they tried their best each time her stomach ached, her head pounded and the blood dripped out of her wondering just what was the cause. Tests negative or inconclusive while working with a young child named Fewdays who attached himself to her while others stood by and watched them toil each day. As you read part one you will feel the despair, undergo the hardships and wonder what she was suffering from and why no one could figure it out. Near death so many times the author shares her exact words, you can hear the screams of pain and the reader will feel the heat, the bites and the torturous experiences that are vividly and graphically described by the author. Near death so many times and even wishing for it Cherie was blessed in a sense by some minor miracles and the love and help of Delia her nurse and Kyle. The descriptions of the many villages, the people that did not contribute to helping themselves, the will of the author to continue on in Zambia even when the Peace Corps said no. Disease free for a year she was still not allowed to come back as we move from 1994 to 2004 ten years later when she cannot move, her neck is stiff and she can barely stand up and the friend Alex comes to her rescue. Sad but true if you have ever experienced a night in the ER and the doctor after waiting hours says he has no solution nor will he be willing to find any because he’s not sure what you have and the ER is for trauma patients only. Since when? I guess in this ER it is. Ten years later she is living in San Diego after spending time in New Zealand and realized that getting an education in anthropology was her passion but jobs were scarce so she had to make adjustments one of many. Meeting Joe who was addicted to alcohol and drugs was a sobering experience for her in more ways than one but when things start going downhill will Cherie is able to take more downward roads? Challenges, obstacles and an illness that no one seemed to be able to diagnose and staying strong and staying the course was not easy. How do you live each day unsure of your fate and in pain? How do you not give up and realize that at the end of the marred road there might be a straight path to hope and success? Dealing with a doctor whose main method of treatment was giving her many different meds because she was diagnosed as ADHD and had trouble focusing and yet had an excess of energy making sure that everything and every project she did was done perfectly to completion. But, medication can do strange things to people and often make you feel worse than the condition as you hear her fighting for her life, not wanting to give up praying for those who lost their’s and then realizing no more: ENOUGH! Brenda her therapist finally gave her the chance to tell several back stories that the reader would not have known had she not gained her confidence to tell of an ordeal that would shatter just about anyone. Waiting for someone to take her home and leaving the bar before Alistair could bring the car round, someone attacks he walking and the end result changed her both inside and out. Dealing with the police and finally getting angry with herself and the person who attacked her both emotionally and physically took a create deal of courage to share and yet it’s important for readers to understand this obstacle and situation learning from her experiences might help others that have the same thing happen to them. Finding herself having to work as a waitress is one step to making ends meet but when hoping to attend a college to get her doctorate why did they want her to repeat courses she had already taken? Lives change, stumbling blocks get in your way but its up to you to decide whether to trip over them or walk around them and find a different path. Dealing with many different doctors whose perspectives were singular to their personalities and who at times seemed detached and impersonal while others like Dr. Genius, the names she gives them are priceless tended to be more diligent, careful and hoped that his plan of action would work. But, the long road before came with ambivalence, healers, massages, medication, friends like Bruce, Sandy, her mother, Paloma and her closest supporter her boyfriend, Alex whose warmth, understanding and kindness is a gift to her and their friendship cherished. But, Cherie is strong, defiant and yet at times drawn to hate her life, tears, but never self-pity and never ever giving up. Heart surgery, gallbladder, heart problems, Lyme disease diagnosed and then misdiagnosed, as well as other serious heart problems. But it would all stem back to Africa and something that no one realized happened to her there. Loyalties are tested and within this memoir you learn just how kindhearted, wonderfully caring and supportive Cherie was to her friend Bruce who would leave the world too soon. Sick, head pain, aches and much more did not deter her from seeing him before he passed and speaking at the service letting the world know how lucky she was to work with him and be his friend. Insurance companies take forever to confirm that you can have tests. Some deny even without looking into the code or diagnosis others just plain say no. It took the fortitude, energies and caring of some doctors who would not give up on her and although she saw so many miracles do happen but they take time to unfold. The hidden solution comes to light in chapter 31 titled fading as the culprit or criminal is revealed, the sentence for the disease is passed and the verdict will Cherie will survive but in time. PTSD was another thing she would have to deal with as well as Alex dealing with it too. But, after months of physical, neurological and emotional therapy she prevailed. So, take the journey along with Cherie and meet Dr. Jovial, Dr. Nervous, Dr. Pricey, Dr. Psychic, Dr. Rescue and the rest of this unusual group and hear their voices, listen to their verdicts as if they are judges passing sentences in a courtroom without listening and carefully reading and understanding the evidence and know that life is tough, life is hard but never giving up and having faith in herself and the people around her Cherie leaves us with this message: Death is everywhere: BUT SO IS LIFE! Vividly depicted, heartfelt accounts and one woman that is an inspiration to everyone especially me. As they said in the play Fiddler on the Roof: TO LIFE! TO LIFE lechayim, A story that is told in the first person and yet you feel you are there from start to finish from the past to the present and back again this is one inspirational memoir that will give everyone hope, understanding and with the right mindset you will SURVIVE! with just A Few Minor Adjustments Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate Porter

    Cherie Kephart has written a powerful memoir with humor about her journey to get a diagnosis of a terrible, life altering illness. I met her at an author event where I also participated, and I hope that some of you will buy her book. It’s very well written, consequently she won the San Diego Book Award. Her “memoir of healing” will help you to understand the paths to health that many of us with a fuzzy diagnosis endeavor to navigate.

  12. 4 out of 5

    L. S.

    Memoir writing is a tricky thing. Oftentimes they have strange tones, which make them sound less sincere. They don’t always evoke the emotions that the author intends. Cherie Kephart’s writing style was very much geared towards emotion. It didn’t feel like a memoir. The first person tone was well-done, and it was immersive for a reader. The pacing was excellently done. The story itself felt whole and complete—the reader got plenty of background information at the right times without a total info Memoir writing is a tricky thing. Oftentimes they have strange tones, which make them sound less sincere. They don’t always evoke the emotions that the author intends. Cherie Kephart’s writing style was very much geared towards emotion. It didn’t feel like a memoir. The first person tone was well-done, and it was immersive for a reader. The pacing was excellently done. The story itself felt whole and complete—the reader got plenty of background information at the right times without a total info dump. Jumps in time we’re documented clearly and in a way that made sense; I never really felt jarred from the story or confused about where I was at. As far as the emotion went, I liked the level it was conveyed on. The tone wasn’t asking the readers for pity—rather it was broadcasting a show of strength. It felt more like the author was saying: “hey, I’ve had a lot of stuff happen to me, but even in my darkest moments, I never gave up.” I think one advantage that the author had that many dont was a wonderful support system in the way of family and friends. Oftentimes when people take ill, those are the first to abandon them; they can’t ‘handle’ it; the ill person is making them miserable—I’ve seen and heard many examples. Surrounding yourself with good people is sometimes difficult, but something to certainly strive for. Another thing this novel did was raise awareness for such a tricky illness. Especially one that never really seems to be such a big deal. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but the disease itself is such a far cry from what people think it is. I was shocked myself when the root of the problem showed. The book ended very well. It didn’t tarry on or drag out. I think the author got her point across and let it be. Endings are tricky, and something that can make or break a novel, but the author managed a very logical stopping point, both narratively and emotionally.

  13. 4 out of 5

    D.W.Jefferson

    Cherie Kephart is the ultimate survivor. She lived through a brutal rape followed by a serious car accident while in college. Then survived both a nasty case of explosive diarrhea and possible malaria while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Ten years after her Peace Corps experience she faced a myriad of severe symptoms which defied diagnosis. Through it all she keeps struggling gamely to find a treatment that will allow her to lead some semblance of a normal life and be a useful person in the Cherie Kephart is the ultimate survivor. She lived through a brutal rape followed by a serious car accident while in college. Then survived both a nasty case of explosive diarrhea and possible malaria while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Ten years after her Peace Corps experience she faced a myriad of severe symptoms which defied diagnosis. Through it all she keeps struggling gamely to find a treatment that will allow her to lead some semblance of a normal life and be a useful person in the world. The title, “A Few Minor Adjustments”, is ironic, borrowed from a Peace Corps pamphlet discussing the life style changes a volunteer faces in their host country. This memoir could have been very dark, given how sick Kephart was through most of it. But she manages to mix enough humor (often gallows humor) into the narrative to prevent it from being hopelessly depressing. She does receive a good deal of support from her family and several good friends. Alex, in particular, qualifies as a real hero of her story! Her determination to leave no potential expert not consulted and no alternative treatment not tried, helps keep the narrative more filled with hope than despair. I especially enjoyed her use of humorous nicknames for her doctors and other medical professionals (from Dr. Unsure and Dr. Loveless, to Dr. Know-it-all and Dr. Genius). Kephart’s crisp and descriptive writing style makes this a great read. She is a talented storyteller who successfully incorporates drama, intrigue, colorful characters and, in the end, some much needed closure. Kephart doesn’t dwell on the negative. She says what needs to be said, then moves the story along at a good clip, skipping back and forth to different times (and locations) in her life. It’s inspiring to know that Kephart didn’t just survive her darkest moments, she turned them into this life-affirming story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sven Davison

    “A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing” documents Cherie Kephart’s painful quest to find the diagnosis for a debilitating illness. It is a testament to her will to survive despite years of extraordinary pain and suffering. On her journey she confronts the demons of her past and learns to let go of her perceptions of what defines a normal life. There are many heart-wrenching moments, like when one of her friends passes away from cancer. I also experienced periods of intense anger and a pro “A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing” documents Cherie Kephart’s painful quest to find the diagnosis for a debilitating illness. It is a testament to her will to survive despite years of extraordinary pain and suffering. On her journey she confronts the demons of her past and learns to let go of her perceptions of what defines a normal life. There are many heart-wrenching moments, like when one of her friends passes away from cancer. I also experienced periods of intense anger and a profound sense of injustice when she is raped and molested by two men on the same night. Cherie endures far more than most and is a hero in my eyes. Cherie’s tale is a well-crafted page turner that I recommend to everyone who enjoys good writing. I would also highly recommend this book for anyone who has suffered in life and needs to find the strength to go on. I look forward to reading more from this inspiring new author.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maja Lisa

    I thought about the decisions we make and the realities we create as human beings. We wake up, there is a day before us--a canvas of white to compose our unique picturesque life. We strive, overwhelm, idealize, drift, accept, and reject. We may fight back, take back, give back, give in, or give up. We might even save a life, take a life, retreat into mediocrity, or do nothing. A memoir about health as much as it is about sickness, about life as it is about death. Kephart writes with grace and di I thought about the decisions we make and the realities we create as human beings. We wake up, there is a day before us--a canvas of white to compose our unique picturesque life. We strive, overwhelm, idealize, drift, accept, and reject. We may fight back, take back, give back, give in, or give up. We might even save a life, take a life, retreat into mediocrity, or do nothing. A memoir about health as much as it is about sickness, about life as it is about death. Kephart writes with grace and dignity about many different struggles in her life to be healthy, whether that be mental or physical health. I deeply enjoyed this book and flew through it in about a day. I felt for Kephart and the struggles she went through to have her pain heard. Many thanks to Cherie Kephart and Bazi Publishing for a signed (and personalized!) ARC copy for review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Ferguson

    This book made me laugh and cry and hope. It's rare that a book captivates me so much I can't wait to get back to it. Often, I take months to read a book...This one took less than two weeks. I just had to find out more--had to discover how it ended. The author shares her journey of illness and survival with such candor and beauty. I recommend this book to anyone who has suffered--and survived. Kephart gives hope to a generation plagued by chronic illness, and she does so in a straightforward yet This book made me laugh and cry and hope. It's rare that a book captivates me so much I can't wait to get back to it. Often, I take months to read a book...This one took less than two weeks. I just had to find out more--had to discover how it ended. The author shares her journey of illness and survival with such candor and beauty. I recommend this book to anyone who has suffered--and survived. Kephart gives hope to a generation plagued by chronic illness, and she does so in a straightforward yet intriguing way. This book is a testament to strength and mental resilience in the face of true adversity, and just when you think all hope is lost, Kephart comes through to show the power of support and perseverance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jill Dobbe

    This book starts out in Africa while the author is a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. During the time she becomes ill with stomach pains and diarrhea I was really able to relate, as I was preparing my own body for a colonoscopy. The author resigns from the Peace Corps and goes on to travel more, however she becomes weak and sick with an illness that no one can find the cause of. Due to her lengthy illness, she gives up much in her life in order to visit all kinds of doctors and healers. Written w This book starts out in Africa while the author is a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. During the time she becomes ill with stomach pains and diarrhea I was really able to relate, as I was preparing my own body for a colonoscopy. The author resigns from the Peace Corps and goes on to travel more, however she becomes weak and sick with an illness that no one can find the cause of. Due to her lengthy illness, she gives up much in her life in order to visit all kinds of doctors and healers. Written with candor, Kephart's story is one that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. She doesn't wallow in her sad story, but tells it like it is. The humor she brings to her writing with just enough detail in her descriptions, makes her story an entertaining and captivating read. The author is a strong and intelligent woman who through her story, can motivate others going through debilitating illnesses to stay positive and not give up. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kira Klenke

    +++ A courageous autobiographic book: A reminder to never give up +++ This book is enthralling from the beginning. I could not put it down. It is a true story about a young, brave and idealistic woman who went to Africa because she wanted to make a difference, wanted help changing the world to the better. However then, the biggest change happened to herself. She was looking for adventure. And she got it. Wow! This autobiographic book is about an odyssey of a several years long severe suffering wi +++ A courageous autobiographic book: A reminder to never give up +++ This book is enthralling from the beginning. I could not put it down. It is a true story about a young, brave and idealistic woman who went to Africa because she wanted to make a difference, wanted help changing the world to the better. However then, the biggest change happened to herself. She was looking for adventure. And she got it. Wow! This autobiographic book is about an odyssey of a several years long severe suffering with sickness. And it is about never giving up in order to find the right path of healing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mariah McKenzie

    I found myself compulsively and surreptitiously reading in the middle of the night, hoping I wasn't disturbing my hubby - every chapter drew me in. The cadence, the easy writing, and living that story! Nicely done and Cherie's title is the best, reminding us that Life might not turn out quite the way we expected, but with some perseverance, some good friends and family, a lot of courage , and a few (um) minor (?) adjustments, we can keep going, even when the going gets tough. Inspiring!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    If you need a reminder to not give up this book should be on your top list.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann Balaban

    Truly remarkable The experiences of the author and her years of illness hardship and finally healing was a remarkably read. I can only wish her the best from hear on out.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christie Cannon

    Great story I found this book to be heartwarming, sincere, honest, and funny. I really liked the use of descriptive terms for the doctors. Thank you for your willingness to tell it like was.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Heartfelt, funny, and compelling! I haven't read a book in months and I found myself (despite my hectic schedule) reading this book whenever I can. I won a copy from a Goodreads giveaway. -Thank you, Cherie! I usually don't read memoirs but the synopsis of this book captured my curiosity. I felt as if I had just gone on an adventure with her. The struggle, agony, humor, compassion, friendship, love, pluck, determination, and not always, but the positivity of Cherie's memoir captivated me. The mo Heartfelt, funny, and compelling! I haven't read a book in months and I found myself (despite my hectic schedule) reading this book whenever I can. I won a copy from a Goodreads giveaway. -Thank you, Cherie! I usually don't read memoirs but the synopsis of this book captured my curiosity. I felt as if I had just gone on an adventure with her. The struggle, agony, humor, compassion, friendship, love, pluck, determination, and not always, but the positivity of Cherie's memoir captivated me. The most interesting part of this story is not about the struggles, but rather the light that it has to offer as well. It helps you see that you can get through the hardships. This is perfectly written in the memoir: "Death was everywhere, but so was life". Truly an incredible story of strength and much more!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Greta Boris

    Cherie Kephart's story is not for the faint of heart. It's the saga of a woman's journey to healing through the often misled, sometimes callous, and always bureaucratic health care system. Although it's a memoir, at times it reads like a mystery novel. Unfortunately there was no Inspector Clouseau of medicine to nail the murdering illness in an hour, minus commercial breaks. If you or a loved one are suffering from a chronic illness and are not getting the help you need, I believe Cherie's book w Cherie Kephart's story is not for the faint of heart. It's the saga of a woman's journey to healing through the often misled, sometimes callous, and always bureaucratic health care system. Although it's a memoir, at times it reads like a mystery novel. Unfortunately there was no Inspector Clouseau of medicine to nail the murdering illness in an hour, minus commercial breaks. If you or a loved one are suffering from a chronic illness and are not getting the help you need, I believe Cherie's book will not only encourage you, but provide some guidance. She explored almost every medical avenue known to man. It's always helpful to learn from another's mistakes and victories. Cherie Kephart's writing is raw and transparent. By the end of A Few Minor Adjustments you'll feel you know her better than you know many of your friends.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lecy Beth

    This is the memoir of the Cherie Kephart's battle with mysterious chronic and nearly-fatal illness after traveling abroad with the Peace Corps. I will forewarn that the book is not for the faint-hearted, as she goes into detail of her various ailments, including the Putzi fly larvae that burrow into the flesh of her buttocks. If you don't mind a few gory details, you'll probably whiz right through the book. Kephart spends years following her return from international travel in one medical office This is the memoir of the Cherie Kephart's battle with mysterious chronic and nearly-fatal illness after traveling abroad with the Peace Corps. I will forewarn that the book is not for the faint-hearted, as she goes into detail of her various ailments, including the Putzi fly larvae that burrow into the flesh of her buttocks. If you don't mind a few gory details, you'll probably whiz right through the book. Kephart spends years following her return from international travel in one medical office after another, trying to obtain a diagnosis for her obscure and worsening illness. This story is so relatable to me, having gone through a similar ordeal with what will ultimately be an autoimmune diagnosis. It was an interesting and inspiring read that started off as a fast-paced read but, for me, lost momentum at the halfway point. I'm glad I finished it though because I was curious if she'd ever figure out what her true diagnosis was and whether she'd find relief from pain and sickness. *I received an advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paula Margulies

    A Few Minor Adjustments is an outstanding memoir about Cherie Kephart's travels outside the US and her search to find a diagnosis after years of suffering with a mysterious and debilitating illness. This is an honest book, told with much bravery and vulnerability. Her travels to Africa, a car accident, an assault, the ongoing frustrating search for help with an illness that was relentless and seemingly unsolvable - all of it is difficult and personal, but the author describes how she coped with A Few Minor Adjustments is an outstanding memoir about Cherie Kephart's travels outside the US and her search to find a diagnosis after years of suffering with a mysterious and debilitating illness. This is an honest book, told with much bravery and vulnerability. Her travels to Africa, a car accident, an assault, the ongoing frustrating search for help with an illness that was relentless and seemingly unsolvable - all of it is difficult and personal, but the author describes how she coped with each new event in a way that is fresh and interesting all the way through. It is an unforgettable and amazing story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diane Mandle

    Cheri Kephart's excruciating years of exploration into the causes of her pain body as well as how to care for so many undiagnosed symptoms is a testimony to pure resilience. I could not put the book down and could not imagine anyone hanging on to life for so long with her challenges. The books language is authentic, full of humor and gratitude even from within a living hell. Her beautifully written descriptions reveal so well the physical, spiritual and emotional landscape of her world for so ma Cheri Kephart's excruciating years of exploration into the causes of her pain body as well as how to care for so many undiagnosed symptoms is a testimony to pure resilience. I could not put the book down and could not imagine anyone hanging on to life for so long with her challenges. The books language is authentic, full of humor and gratitude even from within a living hell. Her beautifully written descriptions reveal so well the physical, spiritual and emotional landscape of her world for so many years. A Few Minor Adjustments is nothing short of a pilgrims journey, an inspiring account of faith and courage. Thank you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Pace

    MY THOUGHTS Pain, real pain, that doesn't let go, that so many people suffer with is taken with a different approach in Ms. Kephart's book. She presents the pain but with that she gives the reader some humor, a few moments to smile, understand to a point and take that deep breathe. This story is a woman's walk through sickness and finally learning to accept and know you aren't alone. Often times, when facing relentless pain or illness, we give up. We feel we just can't go on. That's because we've MY THOUGHTS Pain, real pain, that doesn't let go, that so many people suffer with is taken with a different approach in Ms. Kephart's book. She presents the pain but with that she gives the reader some humor, a few moments to smile, understand to a point and take that deep breathe. This story is a woman's walk through sickness and finally learning to accept and know you aren't alone. Often times, when facing relentless pain or illness, we give up. We feel we just can't go on. That's because we've lost HOPE! But Ms. Kephart puts that HOPE back in the picture and helps the reader realize that. The story will tear at your heart strings until you feel your heart is breaking. The author doesn't sugar coat. She lays it out as it is. This is the author's own personal story of her undiagnosed illness and her journey through it. You feel for Ms. Kephart and it may bring thoughts of people you know personally. You may even be able to help the person you know by adding a bit of humor, giving them this book to read and putting HOPE in their lives. Sometimes we all need a wake up call. Perhaps you or someone you know is suffering. Maybe you haven't had stopped and thought about how blessed you are. That goes in both directions. Blessed for what you have or blessed for what you don't. We need to stop and reflect. There's something good in everything we go through but we need, as the author did, put some humor in it. Laugh at yourself. Laughter is good medicine. It may seem uncaring to say that, but the woe is me attitude doesn't work very good. Take every moment and savor it. Find the good in the bad. This journey is a warm, tender, amazing and very personal time in the life of the author. I applaud her that she has found the way to laugh at life and pass it on to others. So if you are suffering, and it doesn't necessarily have to be physical pain, or if you know of someone who is, become a part of life and smile, laugh sometimes and think how silly life is sometimes. Share this book with others and give them a story that may help them through their pain. I was given a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily decided to review it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Penso

    A Compelling life story of tragedy, suffering, pain, hope and healing. Cherie Kephart's book is beautifully, and clearly written that is easy to understand and very riveting. I couldn't put it down and constantly wanted to know what occurred next in the book. Kephart described her various tragedies and some tragedies that had occurred to others and how she coped with them including with humor amidst her pain, assistance from others who she explained how she valued in her relationships with such p A Compelling life story of tragedy, suffering, pain, hope and healing. Cherie Kephart's book is beautifully, and clearly written that is easy to understand and very riveting. I couldn't put it down and constantly wanted to know what occurred next in the book. Kephart described her various tragedies and some tragedies that had occurred to others and how she coped with them including with humor amidst her pain, assistance from others who she explained how she valued in her relationships with such persons and in hope and struggle for resolution and triumph from such tragedies, suffering and pain. It was a real joy to read her book and quite inspirational and it showed how someone could overcome such tragedies, and the suffering and pain and the importance of being hopeful and helpful amidst such hardships. I strongly recommend it per its uplifting and encouraging content as it keeps one hooked in to follow Kephart as she endures her series of tragedies and tells accounts of others' tragedies as well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kojl

    A Few Minor Adjustments is a moving account of a young woman's daunting courage to overcome the challenges of the life she was destined to live victoriously. Cherie Kephart writes from places of fear and bravery. She takes you on a clear journey of what was required of her to choose life. A challenge that she was apparently prepared aforehand to conquer because she did. I have had the pleasure of meeting Cherie and I know from the meeting and the reading of her memoir that her life is a gift to a A Few Minor Adjustments is a moving account of a young woman's daunting courage to overcome the challenges of the life she was destined to live victoriously. Cherie Kephart writes from places of fear and bravery. She takes you on a clear journey of what was required of her to choose life. A challenge that she was apparently prepared aforehand to conquer because she did. I have had the pleasure of meeting Cherie and I know from the meeting and the reading of her memoir that her life is a gift to any and everyone who has had or will have the pleasure of her company and/or the reading of her book. Thank you, Cherie, for your unselfish choice to live. As you said in your visit to our High Desert Writer's Club, "A writer needs to transform themselves and their readers while allowing them to experience what they have written." In this memoir, you have been successful in it all. Thank you for recognizing that although death is everywhere, so is life. Karla Luther

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