Thought Dan’s book was never coming out – think again ☺So, as many of you have seen, my book has finally been released! Right now, it’s available on the Amazon Kindle and the B&N Nook for another two weeks at a special price, but in mid-December, it will be available everywhere. (Everywhere includes the iBook and softcover paperback.)

As those who read my blog know, it has been a labor of love, and it has required almost four years of my time to complete. I’m sure there were many of you who would read my blog and see the “my book is coming soon, I promise” messages I would write and simply shake your heads. “His book is never coming out,” you probably said – and I’d have said the same thing. Every time I thought I had reached the finish line, another issue cropped up or another delay kicked me between the eyes. That’s all done, now, though, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Keep in mind, I could not have and would not have done this without all of you. My readers are some of the most caring, intelligent, resourceful, and kind people I have ever met, and I thank each and every one of you for giving me the strength to complete this journey. It seems like every time I felt overwhelmed or said, “it’s just not worth it!” an e-mail or Facebook post from one of you would pop up and remind me why I was doing it , and who I was doing it for. This book is as much yours as it is mine, and I sincerely hope you find some comfort in its pages. To that end, I have included a couple of excerpts below so that you can get a taste of exactly what you are in store for when you purchase So Young – A life lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Thank you all once again, and just to clarify, this doesn’t mean I’m done. I already have something new and special in the works, so stay tuned!

This was during one of my many hospital stays, and was a time when I saw the end coming up on me fast….

After an hour or so, I was at the absolute end of my road. I knew that I would soon have to give up breathing on my own, and I was terrified. I grabbed my Mom’s hand and told her that I loved her, and that I was scared.  She just looked at me and calmly said, “I know, hold on, just hold on a little longer.” I tried to breathe with all my might, but I only succeeded in drawing the smallest of breaths. It is hard for me to relay the amount of determination it took for me to draw each breath. The concentration and sheer physical strength it took to get my lungs to expand was something that cannot be put into words.

Once, when I was rushed to the ER with an unknown fever, the nurse began to ask me about my medical history. Back then, I was more vain than smart…

After taking blood, the nurses put together a medical history to go with the Mono test. Of course, that included questions that any fourteen-year-old boy would rather not answer in front of his parents. Did I smoke? No, never. Did I drink? I only drink milk. Did I do drugs? Of course not. Did I ever have sex? Silence. The nurse asked again. “Have you ever had sexual intercourse?” Shit. She went there. This question stopped me in my tracks. Obviously I hadn’t even come close to this holy grail of fourteen-year-old pursuits, but for some reason my brain was telling me to answer “yes.” Possibly some sort of remnant from a more male-centric age, I remember thinking “this young, pretty, nurse is going to think I’m a loser if I say no!” So, for reasons unknown to this day, I said “yes.” I immediately regretted my decision as my answer in the affirmative precipitated the inevitable question. Had I used a condom? “Oh crap,” I thought, “what the hell do I say now?” So I said “mmyeno.” At this point, the young, sweet, nurse just looked at me, and a smile slowly appeared on her face. My guess is that it suddenly dawned on her that I was probably lying about the whole thing. Fortunately, she did not ask again, and to this day I don’t know if she wrote down yes or no. With the embarrassing medical history questions finally done, everyone left and my parents and I waited.

Of course, living with illness isn’t all needles and fevers. I got to partake in normal, ridiculous, childhood behavior as well.

Despite my Casanova ways, the only boys in middle school that actually got to date girls in town were the more popular ones, and my friends and I were not popular – not by a long shot (sorry guys). Being the red-blooded American boys that we were, though, we never stopped trying. When it became apparent that townie women were a pipe dream, though, we came up with a brilliant alternate plan of attack. We went outside of town to find females that were willing to join us on our weekend nights!  I can’t count the amount of times we went to the local mall and followed a group of girls around. Of course, we’d never actually approach and talk to the girls, that was way too sensible.  We preferred to keep it creepy and gawk from a distance and on more than one occasion the girls would turn the tables and come up to us. After telling us that stalking them was the worst possible way to impress, we would do our best to worm a phone number out of one of them. After receiving many, many, fake numbers, we were rewarded for our persistence and I still remember that glorious day when we stumbled into a group of girls and somehow successfully convinced them to hang out with us.

So, as you can see, my story covers the many adventures I have had, both because of and living around my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Yes, the disease has affected everything I’ve done in my 37 years here on Earth, but that doesn’t mean it has always been bad. There have been many instances where having R.A. afforded me certain benefits and allowed me certain opportunities that a normal, healthy, individual would never have had. It has been one heck of a ride, and I hope you will chose to share it with me!

So Young – A Life Lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis is available now on the Amazon Kindle and the B&N Nook!

The softcover version is just out on Amazon and the iBook version is coming out shortly!