Dana Creighton and her mother both were affected by the same inherited cerebellar degeneration, known as ataxia--a loss of control over body movements. Both were treated by a healthcare system that failed them in different ways. Yet their experiences were disparate. Creighton eventually found the right tools to piece together meaning in her life; her mother resisted accepting her condition, in part because doctors repeatedly said nothing was wrong with her. Twenty-five years after her mother's suicide, Creighton's memoir finds striking similarities and differences in their lives and traces a lineage of family trauma. Drawing on research in neuroplasticity, medical records, personal correspondence and genealogy, the author highlights the gap between the lived experience of a debilitating ailment and the impersonal aims of clinicians. She shows how the stories parents tell themselves about living with a genetic disorder influences how they communicate it to their children.
About the Author
Dana Lorene Creighton has an MS in exercise physiology and spent her career involved in clinical research and community health. She has contributed to various publications in scientific journals and lives in Durham, North Carolina.