The dramatic true account of one family's struggle with a tormenting medical mystery.
One morning when he was almost five years old, Cory Friedman woke up with the uncontrollable urge to shake his head. From that day forward his life became an agony of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances. Cory embarked on a fifteen-year odyssey of medication upon medication, treatment upon treatment–a constantly changing regimen that left him and his family feeling like guinea pigs in an out-of-control experiment. It soon became unclear which tics were symptoms of his condition and which were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty was that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life was a living hell.
Subjected to debilitating treatments and continuous ridicule, Cory became devastatingly aware of how he appeared to others. With the love of his family and the support of a few steadfast teachers and medical professionals, he fought for his very life, and you will cheer his amazing successes.
Against Medical Advice is the true story of Cory's battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a sometimes maddening medical establishment. Written by James Patterson and Cory's father, Hal, and with the relentless pace of a Patterson thriller, this is a heartrending story of one family's courage, determination, and ultimate triumph.
"ONE MORNING IN MARCH of 1989, just before my fifth birthday, I woke up as a normal, healthy boy. By that afternoon, I had an irresistible urge to shake my head–continually–and the course of my life changed in ways few people had ever seen or could begin to understand.
"Before long, my body became an explosive, volatile, and unpredictable force with a mind and personality of its own. It jerked and twisted, bent in half, and gyrated without warning until I was almost always in motion.
"I bit down on my teeth until I actually broke them and howled in pain because of the exposed nerves.
"I twisted my back around with such force that I tore muscle tissue and had to be drugged asleep to stop myself from doing it.
"My mind fed me thoughts so frightening I couldn't even talk about them to my parents.
"It didn't take long before I saw myself as the oddest person in my town. I felt like a boy on the end of a puppeteer's string.
"What made it even worse was knowing that I was also the puppeteer."
This is the story of Cory Friedman, and what follows is his remarkable journey, a story of triumph against all odds.
I met Hal Friedman in 1975 in New York City, at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, where we were both writers. We never imagined then that more than thirty years later, we would collaborate to write a book about Hal's son's heart- wrenching experiences.
Over the years, I would hear about Cory and his devastating struggle with Tourette's syndrome, obsessive- compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder. But until Hal asked me to read an early draft he had written of Cory's story, I had no idea how severe a torment this lovely family had been living through. I knew that his complex condition was nearly impossible to treat. In fact, thirteen doctors and approximately sixty potent medicines after Cory's first traumatic head shakes, his debilitating symptoms were still unchecked.
When the downward spiral of his symptoms led to severe depression and hopelessness, and when all of Cory's doctors and their advice and medicines had proved to be false hopes, Cory's family staged an intervention that was as daring as anything that had preceded it, maybe even more so.
I was drawn to Cory's harrowing story because of what it says about the power of love, courage, and determination, and I was proud to join Hal in writing it. I knew that Cory's story had to be told because it would give hope and comfort to so many others struggling in all walks of life. Cory was in a living hell, but in climbing out, he showed us that it is possible to survive–and even thrive–against unbelievable odds. For me, that makes him a hero.
Hal and I are honored to bring you Against Medical Advice on Cory's behalf. My hope is that you, too, will be inspired by the courage, heartbreak, sacrifice, and ultimate victory of Cory Friedman and his family, and by the sheer invincibility of the human spirit.
Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson
Kevin T. Collins has performed in theater productions and you can hear his voice in numerous anime roles. On television, he was recently featured on Law & Order and has a recurring role on Guiding Light. Kevin has appeared in the films Inner Rage, The Sickness, and Aunt Rose. Kevin read Lone Survivor for Hachette Audio.
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