TMW Book Reviews

This Is Me


Marty Tilley

Modern medicine has made great strides in finding innovative and remarkable treatments for various conditions. Nevertheless, the journey that it took to reach such milestones had not been an easy one.

Marty Tilley illustrates her journey in her memoir, “This Is Me.” As a baby who was destined to die, fate had other plans for Marty as she continued to grow into the world.

Nevertheless, the circumstances surrounding her birth were only the first few obstacles she had to overcome. As the years passed, she eventually developed a mysterious illness that doctors have yet to name until much later.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) or idiopathic environmental intolerances is a chronic condition due to low-level exposure to specific everyday chemicals. The symptoms of this condition vary as it may include headache, fatigue, nausea, muscle pain or stiffness, memory problems, and skin rashes. Its triggers also vary, including tobacco smoke, cleaning chemicals, and certain types of insecticides. When left untreated, it can affect a person’s entire life, making them unable to adapt to the challenges of everyday life.

The nature of the disease remains controversial today because doctors believe the condition is “psychosomatic.” Nevertheless, the author is determined to prove the condition’s validity. By including citations from the latest medical literature and chronicling her treatment and experience, she has made a compelling argument for its existence. She has since provided a voice for people who suffered from this relatively unknown disease.

The author writes knowledgeably yet concisely, showcasing her background as a psychologist and post-graduate work in communications. As she lists the highs and lows of adapting to the disease, like filing for insurance to finding any possible MCS resource, her passion shines through as she makes even the most technical medical terms understandable for a broad range of readers.

As I continued to read her words on paper, I couldn’t help but admire her determination to share her story and marvel at the specialists who have treated the patients that suffer from MCS.

Whether you suffer from this disease or know someone with a chronic illness, this book undoubtedly showcases that despite modern medicine’s impressive milestones, there is still much work to do, especially for those who had to suffer in silence for fear of doctors dismissing their concerns. I, for one, look forward to learning more about this disease that needs to be discussed.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024