The Lakes In My Head: Paddling an Unexplored Wilderness
by Lesli Chinnock Anderson

"We needed some hope. Following a tough paddle and an arduous portage, a place to set up camp is a welcome site."

The author cleverly compares her own experience with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) to negotiating a canoe and setting up camp within her beloved Northern Minnesota lakes region. While working at a veterinary office, a fall broke her nose and set in motion the search for a diagnosis explaining complications. Apparently, she had experienced some amount of water on the brain since childhood. Following the accident, brain fluid began to build up excessively, creating "lakes" in her head. She required a shunt installed surgically to provide excess fluid a pathway into her abdomen.

In the language of her extended metaphor, thus began the long portage where she had to carry her canoe overland to a better lake. As the author’s life returned to some sort of normalcy, she was struck by a brain infection. Days went missing, but her husband never gave up hope. They approached the problem just as they had mastered the many Minnesota lakes, learning to paddle in synch. They would set up a new camp. The new lifestyle had to be suitable for someone on permanent work disability, one where they could raise their daughter, Kaitlyn, and provide for the health needs of their aging parents.

The book resonates with accounts taken from Anderson’s personal journals. In addition to her own health issues, she describes the “adventures” of caring for parents. This book will appeal to any reader at this stage of life, either the caregiver or an aging person. Anderson credits her can-do spirit to an ability to deal with emotional issues and her firm trust in God. Timely help and succor arrived along the way, always sufficient for the next paddle, the next portage, the next campsite, the next lake.

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