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I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS

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A little over a year ago, Darcy Wakefield was a single, 33-year-old athletic, workaholic English professor, a vegetarian who had never had a serious health problem or injury. Then she was diagnosed with ALS, and her world turned upside down. I Remember Running is Darcy's story of change and loss and challenges during her first year with ALS, as she struggles to make sense A little over a year ago, Darcy Wakefield was a single, 33-year-old athletic, workaholic English professor, a vegetarian who had never had a serious health problem or injury. Then she was diagnosed with ALS, and her world turned upside down. I Remember Running is Darcy's story of change and loss and challenges during her first year with ALS, as she struggles to make sense of her diagnosis and redefine herself in the face of this terminal illness. With unflagging courage, wit, and eloquence, Darcy shares what she calls her "fast-forward" life, a life in which she applies for disability, leaves her job, and plans her own funeral as well as meets and moves in with her true love, buys a house, and gives birth to her first child in less time than it takes most of us to accomplish even one of these things. Beautifully written and wholly inspiring, I Remember Running proves that it is possible to live a rich, meaningful life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and will move readers to see the world in a different light.


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A little over a year ago, Darcy Wakefield was a single, 33-year-old athletic, workaholic English professor, a vegetarian who had never had a serious health problem or injury. Then she was diagnosed with ALS, and her world turned upside down. I Remember Running is Darcy's story of change and loss and challenges during her first year with ALS, as she struggles to make sense A little over a year ago, Darcy Wakefield was a single, 33-year-old athletic, workaholic English professor, a vegetarian who had never had a serious health problem or injury. Then she was diagnosed with ALS, and her world turned upside down. I Remember Running is Darcy's story of change and loss and challenges during her first year with ALS, as she struggles to make sense of her diagnosis and redefine herself in the face of this terminal illness. With unflagging courage, wit, and eloquence, Darcy shares what she calls her "fast-forward" life, a life in which she applies for disability, leaves her job, and plans her own funeral as well as meets and moves in with her true love, buys a house, and gives birth to her first child in less time than it takes most of us to accomplish even one of these things. Beautifully written and wholly inspiring, I Remember Running proves that it is possible to live a rich, meaningful life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and will move readers to see the world in a different light.

30 review for I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS

  1. 5 out of 5

    Allen Sockabasin

    This book was really slow at the beginning and I didn't like it that much, but towards the end it got to the point and it made a little better. This book was really slow at the beginning and I didn't like it that much, but towards the end it got to the point and it made a little better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    If you think you are having a bad day, read this book. You'll never think the same again. If you think you are having a bad day, read this book. You'll never think the same again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    This small but intimate book covers the period of Feb/Mar 2003 until late Dec 2004, with an acknowledgement section dated April 2005. The author was diagnosed with ALS on October 13, 2003, when she was 33. She died December 10, 2005, at age 35. This book contains essays about how Darcey is living. The first entry starts when a long time boyfriend breaks up with her over the phone, proceeds to quest for a sperm donor, and ends when she settles on artificial Donor #2706 and plans for impregnation This small but intimate book covers the period of Feb/Mar 2003 until late Dec 2004, with an acknowledgement section dated April 2005. The author was diagnosed with ALS on October 13, 2003, when she was 33. She died December 10, 2005, at age 35. This book contains essays about how Darcey is living. The first entry starts when a long time boyfriend breaks up with her over the phone, proceeds to quest for a sperm donor, and ends when she settles on artificial Donor #2706 and plans for impregnation attempts in July and August. The next entry, summer 2003, reveals the unexpected arrival of her soon to be husband Steve, a doctor living in Seattle. The third entry, Sept-Oct 2003, concerns the failure of medical advice to alleviate the discomfort in her right leg and, at the encouragement of Steve, an appointment with neurologist where preliminary testing revealed the potential of ALS. The fourth entry, Oct 2003, concerns the appointment with the Boston specialist when the ALS diagnosis is confirmed. The following entries, in chronological order, concern the author's fears, concerns, joys, and the advancement of the ALS. In the final entry, dated late December 2004, the author tells about the birth of her son and what a joy he is for her, despite the fact that she cannot care for him. But, December 2004 is not really the last entry, as the Acknowledgements section at the beginning of the book is dated April 2005, so even if read before starting the book, it should be read again at the end so as to appreciate that the author is still imagining what her future life could be. In addition to the personal reflections of a courageous young woman, this book includes useful information about ALS.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    ALS is a horrible, terrible disease. However, this book about a woman who is a mere 33 years old when diagnosed, is an uplifting book. It's about slowing down and finding joy in the simplest things. When disability forces Darcy's previously well-toned athletic body into a wheelchair, dependent on others, she learns to be thankful for how she has lived and how she can continue to find beauty in things that others take for granted--tasting every bite of food, walking on two strong legs, holding a ALS is a horrible, terrible disease. However, this book about a woman who is a mere 33 years old when diagnosed, is an uplifting book. It's about slowing down and finding joy in the simplest things. When disability forces Darcy's previously well-toned athletic body into a wheelchair, dependent on others, she learns to be thankful for how she has lived and how she can continue to find beauty in things that others take for granted--tasting every bite of food, walking on two strong legs, holding a pen and writing. This book is a series of sort essays and is a quick and easy read, but with a lovely message. I would have given it four stars, but was left wanting with what happened after the birth of her child. I realize that her illness progressed very quickly and she probably couldn't finish the story, but I wish that her husband or family had (other than the post word).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    A series of essays written by an active, athletic young woman who learns she has ALS. She gets married shortly after her diagnosis and becomes pregnant. Very moving, very poignant book. Please, readers, do what you can to help find a cure and support your local ALS chapters so families living with ALS can cope and have the medical equipment they need to make their lives easier.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author died in late 2006 of ALS, a year after this book was published. Ten years later Darcy's story continues to change lives. Ms Wakefield shows us how to live victoriously, no matter what challenges come our way. The author died in late 2006 of ALS, a year after this book was published. Ten years later Darcy's story continues to change lives. Ms Wakefield shows us how to live victoriously, no matter what challenges come our way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mayoras

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A wonderful story about facing unexpected turns life can take when being diagnosed with a terminal disease. Darcy succeeds in accomplishing things she wants and refuses to let her disease be in charge.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Painful but excellent.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Delaine Welch

    Really good

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I enjoyed the book, as far as it went. It has a lighter tone than other books I've read by authors who had ALS. This book, however, seemed incomplete--it ends after the author gives birth to her son, who she conceived knowing she had ALS. The author seemed to have a rapidly progressing form of ALS, and we learn that she was weakened by the pregnancy, and was unable to care for her baby. The book abruptly ends there, and we aren't told how the family manages, what type of care the author receiv I enjoyed the book, as far as it went. It has a lighter tone than other books I've read by authors who had ALS. This book, however, seemed incomplete--it ends after the author gives birth to her son, who she conceived knowing she had ALS. The author seemed to have a rapidly progressing form of ALS, and we learn that she was weakened by the pregnancy, and was unable to care for her baby. The book abruptly ends there, and we aren't told how the family manages, what type of care the author receives, how she and her family cope with the progressing illness, what technology, if any, she uses to communicate, how she obtains intellectual stimulation, what are her decisions regarding a feeding tube and a ventilator, etc. Did the author end her story because she wasn't able to maintain her optimistic outlook? Did she fall into a deep depression from which she never recovered? These questions and more are left unanswered. In my view, the book would have been more compelling, if the author had continued her story. I was saddened to read that the author and her family did not obtain an automatic page turning device, so that she could continue to read--reading was clearly important to her, since she was a college professor of English. I wonder if they obtained a computer that she could write with that had an infrared component that would have enabled her to write, and thus communicate, with the tiniest movement of a facial or other muscle that she was still able to move. For those interested in another ALS author's story, one that doesn't spare the details, I recommend, "The Butcher's Daughter: The Story of an Army Nurse with ALS," by Sandra Lesher Stuben, RN.

  11. 5 out of 5

    TL Sumner

    Let me start of by saying - ALS SUCKS. Like SUCK - SUCK - SUCK - SUCKS! My mother-in-law died after an incredibly short battle with ALS. I was with her during her last days and hours and let me just say again - ALS SUCKS. So... I've had I Remember Running, and another memoir about ALS on my bookshelf for almost a year, emotionally not ready to read them. I was certain I Remember Running would be a heart wrenching story about 33 year old Darcy Wakefield's struggle with this horrendous disease. I Let me start of by saying - ALS SUCKS. Like SUCK - SUCK - SUCK - SUCKS! My mother-in-law died after an incredibly short battle with ALS. I was with her during her last days and hours and let me just say again - ALS SUCKS. So... I've had I Remember Running, and another memoir about ALS on my bookshelf for almost a year, emotionally not ready to read them. I was certain I Remember Running would be a heart wrenching story about 33 year old Darcy Wakefield's struggle with this horrendous disease. I mean - the title says it all... Finally, I cracked it open, fully prepared to put it back on it's shelf after a couple pages. But I read the book in two days, immediately engrossed by the beautiful writing and poignant way Ms. Wakefield approached her story of being diagnosed with ALS. I was refreshingly surprised to find the book to be a heartwarming, uplifting story of accepting the bad but appreciating the good. My latest YA novel features a supporting character with ALS. For the better part of the first draft, I struggled with the delicate balance of accurately portraying the struggle she faces with ALS, but not having the book be a deeply depressing read. Ms. Wakefield's memoir gives me exactly the perspective I want to show. That we shouldn't take for granted being able to go for a run, to button a shirt, to brush our teeth, to breathe... But more than anything else - to appreciate that despite what challenges are thrown our way, life is a gift to be cherished. This is an exceptional book that I urge everyone to read. It will truly make you appreciate all the good in your life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    BHodges

    As a family member of a loved one who lost their life to ALS, I strongly recommend this book to people with ALS as well as their family and friends. I recognized so many pieces of my own experience here, and the experience of my loved one, clothed in Darcy's excellent prose. This book tells difficult truths about ALS without dwelling on them. If you're concerned that any book on ALS might be too much, given the frightening nature of the disease, I think Darcy struck a nice balance of acknowledgi As a family member of a loved one who lost their life to ALS, I strongly recommend this book to people with ALS as well as their family and friends. I recognized so many pieces of my own experience here, and the experience of my loved one, clothed in Darcy's excellent prose. This book tells difficult truths about ALS without dwelling on them. If you're concerned that any book on ALS might be too much, given the frightening nature of the disease, I think Darcy struck a nice balance of acknowledging the difficulties of ALS without dwelling needlessly on them. She tells her story including many moments of humor, sorrow, regret, hope, despair, anger, frustration, and gratitude. As a family member who has not experienced ALS myself, but who has spent much time living with a person who had ALS, I especially appreciated Steve's addition to the book. My one complaint is that the book is too short! I need to know more about her final year, her experiences with Sam and Steve, and perhaps even about her final days. I wanted to hear more from Steve, too. Overall, Darcy's book provided me with some much-needed pathos, but perhaps even more importantly, it increased my awareness of and gratitude for my own miraculous and imperfect body. And it made me want to run.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    Before reading this book I knew a little background information about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I have seen stories about how it affect the loved ones around an ALS patient, but I had never seen what it was like to actually have ALS and what it did to a person, both physically and mentally. Picking this book up caused me to see through the eyes of Darcy Wakefield, and what it was like to have a perfectly normal life and then have it "disappear" because you knew it wouldn't be norma Before reading this book I knew a little background information about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I have seen stories about how it affect the loved ones around an ALS patient, but I had never seen what it was like to actually have ALS and what it did to a person, both physically and mentally. Picking this book up caused me to see through the eyes of Darcy Wakefield, and what it was like to have a perfectly normal life and then have it "disappear" because you knew it wouldn't be normal again. My assumption was that when you got ALS, or any terminal illness, you knew it was over. That you had to take what you could get and try to live with it. That is not the case. I guess you could say that Darcy Wakefield's last few years were miracles, if you think about it that way. Or you could say that her life hit the "fast-forward" button. That year she got everything she ever wanted, she met her true love, bought a house and had her first child in a very short amount of time. To sum it all up, this book was amazing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I gave this five stars because as far as I'm concerned, when someone is brave enough to write about their battle with an illness like ALS, who am I to judge the quality of their words? Truth be told, her writing is great anyway. The book is set up as a set of essays, each reflecting on an aspect of her life that is affected by her diagnosis and spans just over a year. She writes not just about the diagnosis itself, but about her adjustment to her constantly-changing life and body, her experience I gave this five stars because as far as I'm concerned, when someone is brave enough to write about their battle with an illness like ALS, who am I to judge the quality of their words? Truth be told, her writing is great anyway. The book is set up as a set of essays, each reflecting on an aspect of her life that is affected by her diagnosis and spans just over a year. She writes not just about the diagnosis itself, but about her adjustment to her constantly-changing life and body, her experiences in the healthcare system, to her decision to have a baby, to the loss of her ability to run--one of her true joys and passion. It is a good wake-up call for those of us who might be prone to taking virtually everything in life for granted every now and then.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I've read many books in which the author describes what their life is like since they became ill. I liked her approach - dividing into chapters describing how different aspects of her life are changing since being diagnosed with ALS. One word chapter titles - when the reader starts a new chapter, he/she is prepared to think about how this aspect of the author's is now affected. Wonderful to know that her baby is not affected but sad also to realize that as her baby develops and grows, simultaneo I've read many books in which the author describes what their life is like since they became ill. I liked her approach - dividing into chapters describing how different aspects of her life are changing since being diagnosed with ALS. One word chapter titles - when the reader starts a new chapter, he/she is prepared to think about how this aspect of the author's is now affected. Wonderful to know that her baby is not affected but sad also to realize that as her baby develops and grows, simultaneously her condition progresses and she will become less and less able to function.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    This is wonderful book and it's even more impressive when you consider that the author had ALS while writing it. But, what really struck me in this book is Wakefield's views on having a disability. She is very open open her feelings and doesn't want sympathy. She is also quite candid about how her views on disability changed as her disease progressed. She is able to appreciate life to the fullest, in part due to her disease. And truly, this is something we should ALL be doing since no one gets o This is wonderful book and it's even more impressive when you consider that the author had ALS while writing it. But, what really struck me in this book is Wakefield's views on having a disability. She is very open open her feelings and doesn't want sympathy. She is also quite candid about how her views on disability changed as her disease progressed. She is able to appreciate life to the fullest, in part due to her disease. And truly, this is something we should ALL be doing since no one gets out of here alive. I highly recommend this book. It's a short read but very profound.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    I've put off reading this book, but I'm glad to have read it today. Written as she is living with a terminal and horrible illness, going through pregnancy, becoming dependent, I appreciated wakefield's reflections on joy amidst sorrow, on past pleasures and regrets, and on living life in fast forward. It made me sigh, cry and hug my little people a few more times today. I've put off reading this book, but I'm glad to have read it today. Written as she is living with a terminal and horrible illness, going through pregnancy, becoming dependent, I appreciated wakefield's reflections on joy amidst sorrow, on past pleasures and regrets, and on living life in fast forward. It made me sigh, cry and hug my little people a few more times today.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bex

    The book ended before her life did so I was left with a feeling of needing closure and more information. She did a great job of documenting her illness in its early stages though. Great read. Wish an epilogue with more detail were added at the end to help us readers fully understand the grasp Als had on her till the disease took her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This book made me cry. A LOT. But I learned about my own illness and am working towards a new perspective because of what Wakefield writes. I only hope that I can face my disease like she faced hers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    An autobiographical month-by-month look of the author's diagnosis with ALS; she also meets the love of her life halfway across the country, gets pregnant, quits her job and buys a house, as she manages to come to terms with her illness. An autobiographical month-by-month look of the author's diagnosis with ALS; she also meets the love of her life halfway across the country, gets pregnant, quits her job and buys a house, as she manages to come to terms with her illness.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy Richard

    This book is about a woman who grew up in my home town a few years ahead of me in school who battled with ALS. I knew her family well and the story is so heartwrenching yet so inspiring. PLEASE pick this up...you wont' regret it. This book is about a woman who grew up in my home town a few years ahead of me in school who battled with ALS. I knew her family well and the story is so heartwrenching yet so inspiring. PLEASE pick this up...you wont' regret it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Richard

    This book is about a woman who grew up in my home town a few years ahead of me in school who battled with ALS. I knew her family well and the story is so heartwrenching yet so inspiring. PLEASE pick this up...you wont' regret it. This book is about a woman who grew up in my home town a few years ahead of me in school who battled with ALS. I knew her family well and the story is so heartwrenching yet so inspiring. PLEASE pick this up...you wont' regret it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Randall

    Darcy Wakefield grew up across the street from me. Beautiful and intelligent and stricken with ALS in the prime of her life. This amazing autobiography shows her courage and positive attitude as she worked so hard to squeeze every drop from the rest of her life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    Pretty interesting for a book about a woman with a degenerative disease. It wasn't as depressing as I expected, nor was it as boring. Perhaps, this was because Wakefield was mostly in denial throughout the novel, which kind of frustrated me. Pretty interesting for a book about a woman with a degenerative disease. It wasn't as depressing as I expected, nor was it as boring. Perhaps, this was because Wakefield was mostly in denial throughout the novel, which kind of frustrated me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    The title caught me, as I used to be a runner, and am no longer. Sadly. This woman is an excellent writer. She details, in short short chapters, the saga of her finding the love of her life, and also being diagnosed with ALS. Kudos to her for writing this in the midst of a damaging disease.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arvydas Sidorenko

    I bought it based on excellent Amazon reviews, but I didn't feel that impressed. The message of the book felt almost like those terrible self-improvement books. If it wouldn't be under 200 pages, I would have given up. I bought it based on excellent Amazon reviews, but I didn't feel that impressed. The message of the book felt almost like those terrible self-improvement books. If it wouldn't be under 200 pages, I would have given up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abby Hochhauser

    I didn't love the book but I'm grateful to the author for sharing so much of what it's like for her as a victim of ALS. It was well written and I appreciated her keeping her sense of humor while writing. I didn't love the book but I'm grateful to the author for sharing so much of what it's like for her as a victim of ALS. It was well written and I appreciated her keeping her sense of humor while writing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was written by a good friend's friend. I had the opportunity to meet Darcy and was moved by her spirit, which is conveyed through her book. An inspiration. This was written by a good friend's friend. I had the opportunity to meet Darcy and was moved by her spirit, which is conveyed through her book. An inspiration.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Amazing- a book that helped me to be grateful for each step of a run!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mindie

    Very sad

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