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A Life Shaken: My Encounter with Parkinson's Disease
     

A Life Shaken: My Encounter with Parkinson's Disease

by Joel Havemann
 

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"I'm flat on my back on a couch that's too short in a windowless room in the bureau. I can't even sit at a computer, much less make a keyboard work. My arms and legs are shaking uncontrollably. Although I am only 53 years old, I have already been struggling with Parkinson's disease for seven years. And right now the disease is winning." So begins Joel Havemann's

Overview

"I'm flat on my back on a couch that's too short in a windowless room in the bureau. I can't even sit at a computer, much less make a keyboard work. My arms and legs are shaking uncontrollably. Although I am only 53 years old, I have already been struggling with Parkinson's disease for seven years. And right now the disease is winning." So begins Joel Havemann's account of the insidious disease that is Parkinson's. Into his own story, Havemann weaves accessible explanations of how Parkinson's disrupts the brain's circuitry, how symptoms are managed through drugs and surgery, and how people cope with the disease's psychological challenges. The paperback edition brings the discussion of treatment options and research thoroughly up to date.

Editorial Reviews

Morton Kondracke
Joel Havemann has focused his clear journalist's eye on the science and history of Parkinson's disease—and on his own affliction with it. This is a highly readable and informative book,as one might expect from a top Washington editor. It's also a human story told vividly,but also with detachment and wit. It's a book that everyone interested in Parkinson's—patients,loved ones,doctors,researchers,and activists—will want to read.
David Laventhol
Joel Havemann has looked Parkinson's disease in the eye and fought back. The result is A Life Shaken. Havemann describes his experience with Parkinson's with a mixture of hope and reality that should appeal even to those who have never heard of the disease. The million Americans who have the illness will find useful information about it,in easily accessible form.Foundation
Stephen G. Reich
By combining his personal experience with Parkinson's disease with his skills as a journalist,Mr. Havemann has turned out a lively narrative that not only has the potential to touch people personally,but also provides a masterfully clear explanation of how the brain works and moreover everything about Parkinson's disease from its history through all clinical aspects,treatment,and research.
Library Journal
In 1990, Los Angeles Times senior editor Havemann was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the early age of 45. Here he movingly chronicles the physical and emotional effects the disease has had on his life since the diagnosis. He briefly discusses Parkinson's history, possible causes, medical and surgical treatments, and research progress, but the strength of this book is the account of his personal struggle with the disease. Initially denying that the diagnosis would adversely affect his personal and professional life, he accepted a posting to Brussels and dealt with the resulting frustrations of seeing physicians who did not speak English. The disease's progressive effects on his body are vividly detailed. Havemann's realistic acceptance of and resistance to limitations, as well as his appreciation of life in spite of disability, is inspiring. While Abraham Lieberman's Shaking Up Parkinson Disease: Fighting Like a Tiger, Thinking Like a Fox provides more medical information, Havemann offers a wonderful personal view for patients and families. Recommended for consumer health collections. Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans' Hosp., Tampa, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A editor who has been coping with Parkinson's since 1989 discusses his experiences with the progressive neurological disorder, what is known about its causes, and current and future treatments. Includes a foreword by his neurologist, the director of Johns Hopkins' Parkinson's Disease Center, and a glossary. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Abraham Verghese
The beauty of Havemann's narrative stance is that it not only transcends the illness but surprises and captivates the reader...

Neurology - Matthew B. Stern
[Havemann] takes us on his journey from a physically robust, high achiever to his new world of medication dependence, compromise, and, eventually, an almost spiritual epiphany of acceptance and appreciation. This is not a typical treatise on an individual's life with disease. It is filled with useful facts about PD, including diagrams, and a glossary that will be a useful resource for patients... Although this book would seem of primary interest to patients and families affected by PD, physicians will find the book engaging, easy to read, and valuable. We learn much from our patients, and Havemann's book is no exception.

Journal of the American Medical Association - Robert A. Hauser
Brutally honest. Havemann intertwines his personal story with scientific and medical information. He brings a journalistic style to the tale and explains PD and its treatments in easy-to-understand language. His description of the progressive nature of the disease is poetic and haunting.

Nature Medicine - Stephen B. Dunnett
Havemann has written a challenging mixture of dispassionate appraisal of the facts and vivid portrayal of his personal experiences adapting to living with the disorder.

Journal of the American Medical Association
Brutally honest. Havemann intertwines his personal story with scientific and medical information. He brings a journalistic style to the tale and explains PD and its treatments in easy-to-understand language. His description of the progressive nature of the disease is poetic and haunting.

— Robert A. Hauser

Neurology
[Havemann] takes us on his journey from a physically robust, high achiever to his new world of medication dependence, compromise, and, eventually, an almost spiritual epiphany of acceptance and appreciation. This is not a typical treatise on an individual's life with disease. It is filled with useful facts about PD, including diagrams, and a glossary that will be a useful resource for patients... Although this book would seem of primary interest to patients and families affected by PD, physicians will find the book engaging, easy to read, and valuable. We learn much from our patients, and Havemann's book is no exception.

— Matthew B. Stern

Nature Medicine
Havemann has written a challenging mixture of dispassionate appraisal of the facts and vivid portrayal of his personal experiences adapting to living with the disorder.

— Stephen B. Dunnett

Los Angeles Times Book Review
The beauty of Havemann's narrative stance is that it not only transcends the illness but surprises and captivates the reader...

— Abraham Verghese

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801877896
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
200
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Joel Havemann is an editor at the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times.

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