Richard M. Cohen’s Lifting a Life Above Illness: Blindsided
- A Reluctant Memoir spoke to readers who are facing chronic health problems.
The writer explained his difficulties with living with multiple sclerosis and
cancer among other trials. His health problems led to numerous side effects to
which he had to make adjustments.
Coping with these diseases were essential in Cohen’s life.
His inability to walk normally, problems with his speech, and multiple cancer
operations of his colon were daunting. Despite these problems Cohen had to
work, raise a family, and cope with these afflictions. But these difficulties
affected his job as a senior producer at CBS, PBS, CNN, and later at Fox.
Cohen’s work often required that he travels. Initially, his
health wasn’t as bad. So, he made a number of international trips including
Israel, Palestine, Beirut, Poland, and El Salvador. These demands were rather
stressful. Cohen also covered some major national political events of
presidential candidates as he worked on Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather news
programs at CBS.
But Cohen was rather fortunate. He was able to marry his
sweetheart Meredith Vieira who was a Today Show host, and they had three
beautiful children. After he had problems with his eyesight – since becoming
legally blind, it was his wife who had to shoulder most of the responsibilities
in their home. Vieira wasn’t only working at 60 Minutes, but she was the
caregiver in their new home, and did most of the driving. By this time, Cohen
was using a walking stick, and taking the subway to get around.
Under these pressures the author explained how he often
lost it. The emotional toll was great on him and his family. His children were
young and often treated him condescendingly because of his health problems. Vieira
was under pressure at her job at CBS. Eventually, she would resign but was able
to find work on the View. Yet, despite all the problems at their work and home,
Cohen wrote that he was able to remain optimistic about life. He stressed he
was living fully with the hand he had to play.