The Last Letter: a novel

From the Author
Written as a series of letters between 1999 and 2003, The Last Letter: A Novel is a classic coming-of-age tale about Lia Lenelli, a teenage girl struggling to shape her own identity while a chronic illness threatens to tear her world apart.

While primarily a work of fiction, this book is a semi-autobiographical account of my own experiences living with late-stage, Chronic Lyme Disease, including the struggle to find a diagnosis, the complications that come with treating such a complex illness, and the emotional toll that years of fighting for your own health can take on the soul.

I wanted to share my story, knowing that my experiences with Lyme Disease and similar chronic, “invisible” illnesses are shared by hundreds of thousands of people across the country and the world. I needed to write this story, knowing that the number of Lyme-specific cases keeps growing exponentially, knowing that there are so many others, like me, who feel alone in their suffering and are fighting to just be heard.

I had something to say, but I didn’t know how to say it. I had a story to tell, but I didn’t know how to tell it. Until Lia offered her voice and the right words followed.

It’s my greatest hope that through this story, you can find the inspiration for your own.


In this episode you will learn:

  1. Sharon’s new book, which is a semi-autobiographical depiction of lyme disease
  2. How Susan’s first book helped her deal with grandmother’s passing
  3. How writing helped channel her emotions so they wouldn’t become self destructive

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Susan was born in Pennsylvania, where she graduated from college with a BA in English. In 2012 she was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme Disease after being sick with little explanation for nearly 15 years.

In 2013, with the help of friends and family she self-published her first book, Gold in the Days of Summer, which won the 2014 International Rubery Book Award Children’s category.

After being in remission for nearly a year, Susan relapsed in 2015. Her new book, The Last Letter is closely based on her own struggles with Lyme Disease.


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Meet Lyme Ninja’s Health Experts

As a regular listener to Lyme Ninja Radio, you will be exposed to many experts in and around the Lyme Community. It’s important to keep tabs on the latest developments in Lyme research and treatment, and it’s also important to cross pollinate these ideas with experts outside of the Lyme community. Many scientific breakthroughs happen unexpectedly. The most famous example is the accidental discovery of penicillin. By including experts from field outside of the Lyme community, I hope to keep our thinking fresh.

Below are the most recent Expert interviews.