Shomon, Mary J. 1961-
SHOMON, Mary J. 1961-
Born October, 1961; daughter of Daniel (an airline executive and stockbroker) and Patricia (a hospital administrator) Shomon; married Jon Mathis, 1995; children: Julia. Education: Georgetown University, B.S.F.S., 1983. Politics: Independent. Religion: Unitarian Universalist.
Communications consultant; designer of public information campaigns; author of books and articles on health and entertainment; author and manager of Web sites concerning thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, and other health issues; editor in chief of monthly newsletter for thyroid patients, "Sticking Out Our Necks."
National Writer's Union, American Academy on Physicians and Patients.
Amazon.com Top 40 Health Bestseller award for Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, 2000, 2001, 2002.
The Single Woman's Guide to the Available Men of Washington, with illustrations by R. J. Matson, Flies on the Wall (Washington, DC), 1993.
(With husband, Jon Mathis) Scratching the 'Net: Web Sites for Cats, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1998.
Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, HarperCollins/WholeCare (New York, NY), 2000.
Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, Harper Resource (New York, NY), 2002.
With Jill Marjama-Lyons) What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Parkinson's Disease: A Holistic Program for Optimal Wellness, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Hypothyroidism.
Public relations consultant, Web master, newsletter editor, and patient advocate Mary J. Shomon became passionate about writing for thyroid patients after she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in the mid-1990s. After publishing LivingWell with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, Shomon wrote Living Well with Automimmune Disease and cowrote What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Parkinson's Disease: A Holistic Program for Optimal Wellness.
Her first two books, The Single Woman's Guide to the Available Men of Washington and Scratching the 'Net: Web Sites for Cats, are on a much lighter note. The first is filled with cartoons and quips about single life in the work-preoccupied world of Washington, D.C., and the second with amusing "Web sites" for cats, including Socks-Web, Microfuzzy-'n'-Soft, Opurrah, and Goodoldcats.com.
In a review for the Washington Post Book World, David Streitfeld stated that the Single Woman's Guide "goes into a previously unrecorded depth of detail" about the humor and frustration of dating men who are thoroughly preoccupied with politics. As quoted in Streitfeld's review, Shomon said she wrote the book because so many of her friends were complaining about their dates, and "there seemed a need for some satire, instead of just moaning or psychobabble." Judith Martin, in the New York Times Book Review, commented that Shomon "reveals to taxpayers the awful truth about the men of Washington and their zealous attention to duty."
Franny Syufy, writing about Scratching the 'Net for the Web site About.com, observed that each page is "crammed full of humorous take-offs" and that readers will find something new with each reading. "It's not the kind of book you'll read and put away," she noted.
Shomon's book Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know begins by defining hypothyroidism and naming its symptoms and then discusses finding a doctor, types of treatment, and alternative therapies. Shomon also explores specific symptoms of the disease, such as weight gain and depression, and discusses hypothyroidism within the contexts of pregnancy and infertility and in children and cancer patients. The book contains a list of resources for patients and their families. A contributor to American Fitness commented that Shomon "provides a comprehensive service to thyroid disease sufferers."
In Living Well with Autoimmune Disease, a book written for the estimated fifty million Americans who suffer from some form of autoimmune disease, Shomon follows the same general format as in Living Well with Hypothyroidism, first describing the immune system and its related diseases and their symptoms—ranging from diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome to schleroderma and Chrohn's disease—and then covering holistic approaches to these diseases, including the use of herbs and dietary and lifestyle changes. Shomon also discusses finding and working with the right health practitioner and provides lists of resources and experts for further information. The book also features interviews with patients. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote, "This informative self-help manual is badly needed. Drawing on extensive research, as well as doctor-patient anecdotes, Shomon's guide is designed to empower patients to participate in their own care."
Phylameana lila Desy, writing for Healing at About.com, praised Shomon for helping patients take control of their healing. A contributor to the Thyroid-info.com Web site observed that Living Well with Autoimmune Disease is the first book "to recognize that these conditions are closely related, not standalone." Dr. Joseph Mercola, writing for Mercola.com, concluded, "The book is a major shortcut to a wealth of information. If you have an automimmune disease, it can save you months of time." Lisa McCormick, writing in Library Journal, however, found that Shomon, lacking a medical background and with many references drawn from interviews, Web sites, newsletters, and press releases, had made some errors in the book. McCormick commented: "Shomon has a deep personal interest in the topic, but is she the best person to interpret and present this highly important and complex information. This reviewer thinks not." A contributor to Publishers Weekly called the book an "informative self-help manual" that "is designed to empower patients to participate in their own care."
Shomon is also the author, with neurologist Jill Marjama-Lyons, of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Parkinson's Disease: A Holistic Program for Optimal Wellness, a book that details the symptoms of the disease and discusses conventional treatments as well as the latest alternative therapies. It also includes patient testimonies and instructions for mind-body work, such as yoga and tai chi. A Publishers Weekly contributor found the book's tone to be "calm, capable and reassuring."
Shomon told CA: "I have always been interested in writing, starting as a child writing how-to guides for my friends. I started with humor, and when I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem in 1995, turned my attention to researching and writing about my own health conditions. This led me into patient advocacy.
"I hope that my humor books will make people laugh—simple as that. And with my health books, I hope they will empower a reader to ask questions, demand changes, and push for better care, so that they can work toward achieving optimal health. And most importantly, perhaps, I hope that my health books make a reader realize that she or he is not alone in the struggle to deal with overlooked, underdiagnosed conditions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Fitness, March, 2001, "Mysterious Malady," review of Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, p. 12.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Lisa McCormick, review of Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You—That You Need to Know, p. 121.
New York Times Book Review, August 1, 1993, Judith Martin, "What the Government Does at Night," review of The Single Woman's Guide to the Available Men of Washington, p. 19.
Publishers Weekly, July 8, 2002, review of Living Well with Autoimmune Disease, p. 46; February 1, 2003, review of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Parkinson's Disease: A Holistic Program for Optimal Wellness.
Washington Post Book World, March 14, 1993, David Streitfeld, review of The Single Woman's Guide to the Available Men of Washington, p. 15.
TWBookmark.com, http://www.twbookmark.com/ (May 7, 2003), description of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Parkinson's Disease.