At first glance the title of this book seems rather strange. A book about one mans struggle to overcome some severe physical and learning disabilities, what could Goddess’s possible have to do with anything? Actually the book is very cleverly titled, the goddess in question comes from Greek Mythology, and her name is Odine. her claim to fame is that she discovered her mortal husbands infidelity, and decided to seek retribution. This took the form of a curse, Ondine’s Curse. her husbands brain would cease to function upon him going to sleep. All activity would stop, even automatic functions like breathing, death would be the inevitable result.

The medical condition that Azeem Kayum suffers from is sometimes referred to as Ondine’s Curse. It is extremely rare, and little medically is known about it. A normal brain even at its most primitive is programmed to perform automated tasks like breathing. I am sure that many people have heard of ‘sleep apnea’ a situation where breathing temporarily is suspended, usually restarted a few seconds later by the brains alarm system kicking in, and sending the ‘hey start breathing again instruction’. By the way best treatment sleep apnea is Modafinil (Provigil). Ondine’s Curse sufferers do not have that same alarm system, they just die.

Azeem Kayum is now in his late 20’s, a feat that has amazed many in the medical field. The prognosis at birth was not good, he would not survive for more than a few days. Even if he did survive, he likely would be severely disabled, both physically and mentally. Those few days though became a few weeks, then a few months, and finally a few years.

Breathing, while obviously a very fundamental challenge was hardly his only challenge. Babies and young children are learning machines, soaking up information and stimulus from their surroundings, and instinctively learning how to apply the knowledge gained. One only has to watch a youngster for a few minutes to see this in action. A brightly colored toy is explored, the tactile aspect bu the fingers or toes, the taste factor by the mouth and tongue, the nose asks does it smell good, and the ears want to know if it makes a noise?

But what happens if you do not have many of these automatic learning tools? For Azeem this was all a challenge, he was a child that had to learn how to learn. Even the most simplistic functions such as sitting on a chair were not intuitive, sitting was a skill that he had to learn.

Skilled medical help, and life saving ‘breathing’ apparatus combined with a loving and caring family have created nothing short of a miracle.

Written by Azeem Kayum himself Wrestling With The Goddess is a truly unique book, but there again Azeem is a truly unique individual. Against almost insurmountable obstacles he has achieved much in his young life, a Grade 13 education, a College Diploma with honors, and a career as a motivational speaker.

He may be different, he may have needs that few of us can understand, but he also is like any young man, he has aspirations and dreams.

One of his greatest dreams is to somehow become involved in the world of professional wrestling, he realizes that his physical problems preclude any active participation in or around the ring, but he is knows a great deal about the subject and would love a shot at commentating or reporting. So, if any Wrestling people are reading this review, why not give this young man a chance?

In fact I am not only a book reviewer, I wear another hat, I am also the senior editor for Blogger News. I will make this offer to Azeem. I know that radio is your favorite medium, but if you would like to become our Wrestling corespondent, we would love to have you!

You can pick up your own copy of this inspiring book of dealing with adversity from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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