Beyond Embarrassment by JoAnne Lake and Biosleuth Julia Parker

Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel are conditions in which a person lacks bladder and bowel control due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition. Millions of Americans live with this debilitating health issue. In 2009 JoAnne Lake was diagnosed with Neurogenic Bladder,

finally discovering the cause of years of discomfort and embarrassment. Writing became her therapy and a way to connect with others who shared her diagnosis. Through her blog,, she met online others who shared her frustrations and challenges. JoAnne Lake shares her story in Beyond Embarrassment. Along the way she educates, empathizes, and encourages women who struggle with the same health issues. Written with a girlfriend-to-girlfriend feel, she provides practical Tip Time for dealing with the challenges of bladder problems as well as suggestions for living every day to its fullest. With professional input from Biosleuth medical research librarian Julia Parker, Beyond Embarrassment offers readers strategies for meeting their medical challenges and ideas for working with their medical teams, family, friends, work situations, and travel. Readers will discover ideas for getting on with living and not being held back by fear or anxiety about their conditions.

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Author JoAnne Lake, a farm girl from Prunedale California, is an insistent patient (forthright and wordy) because she is one of five million people in America with bladder problems and wants to start a conversation. She likes to tell it like it is. The secret of her success is embracing the state of affairs with luminosity and honesty by taking the punch away.
She does not want to be remembered in connection to the toilet, yet she sees toileting dysfunction as the last frontier of subjects that needs to have a mature conversation. Her writings come from life experiences and emotions as a patient, mother, educator, and friend. After journaling her private thoughts and feelings, she started writing a highly successful blog in 2012 to educate and inspire others with bladder and bowel problems. This is her first book.

Visit JoAnne Lake (as Trudy Triumph) at her website

Biosleuth Julia Parker is a researcher of patent, scientific, medical, and company information by education and training. She holds a BS in Microbiology from Purdue University, an MS in Pathobiology (School of Public Health & Community Medicine) from the University of Washington, and an MLIS from the University of Washington.
Julia has worked in the nonprofit and biopharmaceutical R&D sectors, as well as in clinical, academic, and public library settings, as a research/reference librarian. She established Biosleuth Consulting Services LLC in 2009 in Washington state, where she resides with her husband, grown daughter and two cats.

My Review –

JoAnne Lake and Julia Parker did an amazing job writing a book about neurogenic bladder and bowel conditions. The book not only contains much-needed medical information on the conditions, but it is written in a very human and down to earth format.

Beyond Embarrassment contains stories from JoAnne Lake’s life and how she has coped with the condition and still managed to live life to the fullest. There are little “Tip Time”, “Chuckle Time”, and “Knowledge Nugget” boxes scattered throughout the book with extra tidbits of information as well jokes to make you smile.

JoAnne describes her journey from before diagnosis, through diagnosis, and up to today. Through her stories, she educates us on how to choose doctors, and even when it’s time to change doctors. We must always remember, first and foremost, that we are our own best advocate in most instances. She reinforces this in the book.

There are chapters on symptoms, doctor visits, intimacy, and devices and how to use them. JoAnne teaches us that even with a difficult condition, we can keep a positive attitude and learn to live life to the fullest. In the book, you will find sections with letters from readers, and questions to ponder, as well as a section on parenting a child with these conditions.

The book is a complete guide on living with Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel conditions. If you suffer from either condition or know someone who does, this book is a definite must read. It is easy to understand and provides a wealth of necessary information. I am giving Beyond Embarrassment five stars. JoAnne Lake is definitely an inspiration to us all.

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