Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Life And Times With IBS, A Memoir in Comics – Amazon Select Free Book Giveaway August 17-21, 2015!!!


5-stars – A masterpiece both in its illustrations and content.

Joy Spencer’s comic illustrated book “Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Life and Times, a Memoir in Comics” provides a path through her own personal Irritable Bowel Syndrome maze. It captures precisely the trials and tribulations of someone who has IBS. I have a great affinity with someone who understands what it is like to be diagnosed with IBS, to travel from doctor to doctor trying to find a clear treatment, and can convey it all in such a creative fashion. Some might not click with the comic style; however, the content in the comic bubbles above and around the illustrations are truly what someone with IBS can relate to. Joy oozes empathy and someone with IBS, and their family, can really relate to the struggle that she faces. Needless to say, someone new to IBS can also relate to the path that Joy follows because they may want to try some of her avenues them self. Joy’s book gave me a great deal of comfort knowing that I’m not alone in my own struggle with IBS. For that, this personal masterpiece will be read over and over again when my IBS gets me down.

Jeffrey D. Roberts, MSEd, BSc
Founder, IBS Self Help and Support Group

Pg 1 Alecia IBS story


Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Life and Times With IBS

Review by Leave a Comment

Author: Joy Spencer

Format: paperback

Pages: 82

Publish date: October, 2014

Publisher: self published

Catalog ID: ISBN 9781500965457

Where to buy:

Author website:

Additional info:

guest review and response illustration by Northwestern medical student Erika Cornell

I began this comic memoir with the bias that it would be primarily to provide entertainment. I blame partially the combination of the quirky simple line drawings and topic ripe with potential immature excrement-related humor for giving me this false initial impression, but I think it’s also one that many of us have about the comic medium in general. Although it does have touches of humor, particularly in the annotations of the more detailed drawings, that is not principally what this book is all about. This memoir focuses on the emotional and medical journey of having a badly understood, painful, and embarrassing disease. My overall impression is that while the author appreciates the healthy role that humor can play in coping, she is more concerned with portraying the actual experience of IBS, which is primarily terrible and devastating and not very funny at all. This is a stance that people with any chronic illness, or those close to someone who has, may likely appreciate.

Readers whose live have been affected by IBS could find this book helpful and medically informative. From a practical standpoint, pages such as “My IBS journey so far: a roadmap” help break down the treatments that she has tried either via highly researched medical opinion or just pure desperation, which anyone with IBS might find useful in sparing them the more unpleasant aspects of her journey. For the friends and family, she also gives a description of “The Perfect Friend/Spouse”, although also noting “Does this person exist? Of course not!” While slightly humorous, the description of this perfect friend also gives legitimately helpful suggestions for being supportive to a loved one with IBS. Some of the most helpful things to say are listed, in addition to the possibly non-intuitive tip that spontaneous plans, rather than advanced plans that might need to be canceled, are significantly preferable.

Perhaps what this comic memoir most excels at, however, is in bringing the reader along the emotional journey of IBS. As a future doctor in particular, it was valuable to be shown exactly how humiliating, painful or discouraging some of the IBS specific treatments and tests can be, and how badly they can be handled. I also was frequently struck by how universal some of her experience could be to anyone who has had a chronic illness, particularly one that currently has no good treatments or is still not completely understood. The second half of her list of “Random stuff I learned from these experiences” includes:

  1. I’m more comfortable talking to practitioners – still embarrassed talking to friends/relatives.
  2. The deflated feeling after each new trial fails is lousy.
  3. A lot of people would like to help, but cannot.
  4. Trying new stuff can become exhausting.

Passages like these stuck with me after closing the cover, and will hopefully also stick with anyone who has IBS or a similar disease. As the author puts on the back cover, she draws her comics “in the hope that other sufferers will know they are not alone.”


Part II: Fantasy Cruising / A Ship For Us – I Propose: An IBS-themed Cruise

Part II: Fantasy Cruising   A Ship For Us - I Propose: An IBS-themed Cruise   Special Features: 1. Latest speakers on what's available on the IBS research forefront 2. Lots to eat or nothing at all-your choice! 3. Meals on Demand- Whenever you want to eat! 4. A whole deck devoted to the most advanced toilets: different toilets and flushes from around the world! 5. Complaint Hour- Everyone has a chance to complain away and the audience is sympathetic and fascinated-sign up now, spaces are limited 6. A special room for non-IBS spouses, friends and family members for a much-needed break and much, much more!   Also featuring: friendly, non-judgemental, licensed trained psychologists on board to treat phobias, coping mechanisms, family relationships-no extra charge!   1. Dr. Smith - phobia specialist Afraid of going on that excursion? Come on in! 2. Dr. Jones - cognitive behavior therapy and BS specialist Hours: Any time! 3. Dr. Cohen - Family Dynamics and IBS Hours: At Your Convenience   Evening Entertainment Will Include:   (comedian talking) "How embarrassing was it?" IBS comedians - Come on, there's a wealth of material here!   All tour buses for excursions equipped with large, clean bathrooms (tour bus) Go-Go Tours "You can go with us"   The poetically-named "Passing Wind Room" (sound-proofed, of course!) Welcome! IBSeas Passing Wind Room   Electric Fans Speakers to muffle sound

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