In this sweeping novel of love and hate, Abby Palmer's life story is a study in contrasts. She calls up the courage to battle debilitating episodes of multiple sclerosis, yet is too cowardly to admit she has the disease. Abby finds the strength to survive the almost simultaneous deaths of her mother, husband, and unborn child, but is too weak to fight her brother's cruel domination. Abby is cared for by her friends and abandoned by her family as she struggles to live with a disease that gradually destroys her fierce quest for independence. When first diagnosed with MS, Abby is a young divorced mother working as a public health nurse in Texas. Twenty-five years later, when the novel ends, she is starting a new life as a health educator in North Carolina. The years in between are a mix of despair and triumph as Abby fights to survive. Her children are taken away from her; she is hospitalized for alcohol abuse; she nearly dies in a car accident; and, her body is ravaged by two major episodes of multiple sclerosis. When the MS is in remission, Abby devotes herself to nursing migrant farm workers in Kansas and Native Americans in Alaska. The work is physically and emotionally demanding, but Abby's dedication to the health needs of the poor is stronger than her concern for her own. Abby is a heroine in the truest sense of the word, and ""Riding the Gold Curve"" is a tribute to the human spirit. Forcing herself upright in the wheelchair, Abby adjusted her glasses. 'When do I start physical therapy?' Dr. Mathis stepped to the window, his face gray. 'My dear, you won't be getting therapy'. 'Why not?' Fear tinged the edges of Abby's voice. 'There's no evidence that therapy is beneficial for MS'. He spoke uneasily. 'You're a nurse; you should know that'. 'Have you ever tried therapy on an MS patient?' 'No'. The kind, gentle man who had known Abby most of her life didn't want to hurt her, but it was his duty to be honest. 'Therapy won't do any good where there's nerve damage. You'd wear yourself out for no reason. I'm sorry, Abby, but I'm doing everything by the book'. 'Maybe you need a new book! I can't quit now!' She clenched her fists, but she could no longer speak. Her eyes filled with tears. 'You're young, and you can adjust. You've got to reconcile yourself to life in a wheelchair'. It hurt him to say this, and he took out his handkerchief and wiped his brow. 'Don't give up on me, Dr. Mathis Not now! Please, please don't quit! You can't give up on me if I haven't given up on myself!'