In 2004, Vivian Chong experienced a highly unlikely side effect after taking ibuprofen during a vacation: Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis syndrome (TEN). After spending two months in a coma and the proceeding years trying to treat the fallout of her diagnosis, including degenerative vision loss, Chong scrambled to draw her memories and her feelings about what was happening to her before her eyesight left her for good.
With the help of Georgia Webber — who authored her own graphic memoir about disability Dumb: Living Without a Voice — Chong has released her drawings as a memoir, Dancing After TEN. Chong’s story is hard and heartbreaking at times (she was abandoned at a hospital in a foreign country when her symptoms began) but Chong demonstrates what so many people with disabilities already know: life goes on, and we’re capable of finding meaningful and joyful ways of living it.
Chong not only completed her wonderful memoir, she found new creative expression through movement, and her memoir’s release coincides with the debut of her dance program in Toronto.
Life After TEN is available for purchase in hardcover or as an eBook.