Media Kit (English)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jakob Vendle has secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis, which he has been living with for the last fifteen years. He lived in the U.S. for twenty years, where he worked in Silicon Valley as a copywriter. He met his wife in San Francisco, and they now reside in Stockholm with their daughter. For someone who can only move his thumb a twitch, life has not beaten him down.
My unexpected journey began when I collapsed at Macy’s in San Francisco to the sound of Christmas carols and bells ringing. A few days later, a beige man handed me a beige folder with a dark diagnosis that would dominate the rest of my life: Multiple Sclerosis, or MS. Despite living in a rapidly deteriorating body, I still managed to climb and get stuck at the top of Mt. Fuji, fall on my face in the Galapagos Islands, get the girl, move to Stockholm, and have a daughter.
My MS worsened and set off a tidal wave, a tsunami inside of me that ravaged my body and crushed my lungs. I lived through twenty cases of pneumonia, three years with a respirator, a year without eating, a thirty-day coma, but still came out on the other side. This, my bumpy ride, has made me appreciate life all the more – the importance of feeling, smiling, and loving – to lead with kindness and to make space for spirituality.
The MS Diaries is a memoir that seeks to impart the journey inside one man’s mind struggling with a severe chronic illness through uncensored personal anecdotes and humorous situations, like swinging naked through the London Hilton.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS?
- People struggling with illness
- People supporting those struggling with illness
- Medical professionals caring for those with illness
- Individuals who want a better understanding of the issues
- Those with an interest in the medical field
5.0 out of 5 stars A raw, emotional and captivating journey
Reviewed in Germany on October 22, 2020
The way Jakob composes his symphony of words is genius and makes you long for the next sentence, while you have not even finished the previous one. He accomplished to describe his internal battle with MS with love for detail – for the good, the bad and the small random things in life. This book has the power to teleport you through time and space by his side, guiding you through the tsunami of thoughts that come flooding over a mind dealing with a chronic disease. One moment you find yourself hiking in nature or working in Silicon Valley with him,
until your next breath catapults you to a white, sterile room and seemingly hopeless situation at the ICU. This real life story also has a reoccurring theme of finding the beauty in life after each set back. Happiness seems to be an emotion which he has to painfully rediscover over and over again but is worth the struggle.
His humor and unconditional love for his daughter, wife and closest people around him is astonishing and seems to be the holy grail to life. Furthermore, he touches on an important topic – how people with illnesses and special needs experience society and how society is turning a shoulder on them. They are as human as anyone else and deserve to be treated as such!!! This is a read that will touch your heart, it surely touched mine.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, beautifully written, fascinating read
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2020
I started this book, tried to put it down to go to sleep, but ended up getting back up to keep reading. It is sad, funny, informative, and most of all, a beautiful example of a deeply human experience. Although all of our circumstances are different, the author writes in a way that invites the reader to join what is, after all, the shared human experience of life unexpected. Exceptionally written and deeply interesting throughout, this book has kept me thinking about it as I go through my day, and I am grateful to the writer for encouraging those thoughts. I highly recommend this book.
Why did you write this book?
I had to write this book. I didn’t have a choice, as I spiraled down the rabbit hole, I needed to leave, sorry for mixing metaphors, but I need to leave a trace, to remind myself of where I’ve come from. Writing this book has been painful, but necessary.
How can you be so optimistic?
As the disease worsened, it became clear that I had a choice to make. I could blame the world and all for my situation, for if I’m not happy, why should they, a lose, lose attitude. Or I could accept this for what it is. Make the best out of a tough situation. This way life can be lived and enjoyed, by me and the people around me, sort of a win, win solution. At some point, you have to embrace life to live it.
Tell me about your journey?
Sort of a hop, skip, and jump. Born in London, raised in Stockholm, went to school in Hawaii of all places, and lived for a long time in San Francisco, before moving to Stockholm. My MS reared its ugly head the first time in San Francisco. And it has changed my journey significantly.
How do you write your books?
I sit in a power chair and I can only move my thumb, and barely that. However, I can speak, not with a loud voice, but enough to be heard. Everything I write, goes from word to keyboard, and so, obviously this sentence. This is my first book, but I’m working on a second.
When did you get your diagnosis?
I was thirty-six years old, Christmas shopping in San Francisco, when my body collapsed by the perfume counter. It came out of the blue and just like that my life took off down a path unexpected.
Do you have any advice for others who face extreme adversity like yourself?
You will go through different stages of grief, and there is pain, try not to run from it. Once you accept it, you can get through to the other side. Your new normal, will be different than the old normal. Getting used to your new circumstances will be painful, it just is. But humans are adaptable, and you will adapt. Once you do, there is joy.
Tell me about your new book?
The working title is Pressure, a “Stockholm noire” crime novel. Set in the city during a weekend snowstorm, where a theft of a baby triggers dire consequences. The main protagonist, detective Kron Kronqvist’s wife, dies of cancer that Friday afternoon – his daughter’s best friend is murdered, and he takes the case. He has not slept for three days and the weekend has just begun. Wherever there is human activity there is a struggle between good and bad, and good does not always win.
Chapter 1 – A curious mind
I wanted a life different than others and this I got. I can’t say for sure what I expected, but it surely wasn’t this. What I got was a life hijacked by a disease that turned my body into a stranger. Lost in the fog of my disease — I clung to sanity with my bare fingernails — trying to make sense of a senseless situation. I felt that everything was connected, but now it was all falling apart, imploding into nothingness. Exhausted, with the weight of the world crashing down on me, it was tempting to give in, give up, and drift into darkness. This far out on the edge, the distance between is and was, is razor thin. I died a hundred times that day like I did the day before, and the day before that. But I kept on waking up to the harsh reality at the ICU. In this labyrinth of forever interconnected series of sterile rooms and corridors; life had somehow managed to find me. Life was there, when I opened my eyes, it was there when my loved ones came to visit but most of all; it was there when my daughter was born.
My journey started by exploring the four corners of the earth. But it gradually took a more internal path as I got progressively sicker and sicker. My multiple sclerosis plummeted down a dark spiral as it turned progressive. This set off a series of ever-worsening pneumonia that led to a thirty-day coma, a year of eating through a tube, and using a respirator for three more. A soul-searching investigation led to thorny questions of faith; something larger than me, something to hang my hopes on, something that can explain it all. I have always been interested in Eastern religions but delayed practicing to another day. Now that other day had come and found me, and I found myself wanting. The road I chose was Buddhism, and for all intents and purposes, I am a Buddhist in training. But sometimes I feel as enlightened as an opaque jar that has been wrapped in duct tape, stuffed in a burlap bag, and pitched into a murky lake. Still, this does not stop me from trying to do better. My mind is constantly curious, crowded, and busy, which is not particularly good for meditation. But in keeping with teachings, I am trying to lead with a friendly heart and an open mind. Being open and vulnerable in the moment and in the worst of them has sometimes been painful but often, more often than not; liberating.
I have been living with my disease for a long time and I would like to share my experience with you. This book is an attempt to string together various notes and memories from the path I have traveled. It will take you deep into my mind, my memories, and my nightmares. From drowning in the pool in the lake to looking for God in a snowstorm, to wearing clothes made from the human genome. Writing this book has been a two-year-long painful psychoanalysis session. I am constantly rearranging my emotional, spiritual, and intellectual furniture in order to better understand my journey.
Groundbreaking book deep dives into pain and struggle in the vivid, technicolor mind of a critically ill Multiple Sclerosis patient.
Stockholm, Sweden, May 1, 2021
The author leads the reader on his decade and a half long M.S. journey with a sense of warmth and humor. The collapse at the San Francisco Macy’s came out of the blue and led to the first of many, too many visits to the ICU and finally the diagnosis; Multiple Sclerosis. At first, he tried to deny it, but the disease altered his life and set off a tsunami inside. Soon his lungs were being crushed and squeezed in an ever-tightening vice, leading to twenty pneumonias, three years with a respirator, a year without eating and a thirty-day coma.
As his condition deteriorated life still went on, with a marriage, transatlantic move, and the birth of his daughter. In the midst of this chaos, he had to re-arrange his emotional, intellectual and spiritual furniture.
The MS Diaries is a memoir that seeks to impart the journey inside one man’s mind struggling with a severe chronic illness through uncensored personal anecdotes.
It is sad, funny, informative, and most of all, a beautiful example of a deeply human experience. Although all of our circumstances are different, the author writes in a way that invites the reader to join what is, after all, the shared human experience of life unexpected.
– Review by LLV
The MS Diaries is available on Audible, Kindle and in Paperback format.
Purchase link: https://amzn.to/3fOVSiU
Jakob Vendle (1968-) was born in London, England, to Swedish parents and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. He moved to America in 1991 for college and worked there with content creation for several high-tech agencies in Silicon Valley, USA. His life changed in 2004 when he contracted Multiple Sclerosis. He moved back to Stockholm in 2009 with his wife, where he still lives with their daughter.
Graphic Design: Maureen Ljungberg
Photo by: Mathias Cederholm