Healing Lessons: A Doctor's Story of Love, Loss and Transformation

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A world-renowned cancer specialist puts his love for his wife before all that he has learned in medical school and journeys with her into the world of alternative medicine when she is given only a few months to live, in this compassionate and elegantly written memoir.

"Written by one of the world's preeminent cancer specialists, the story documents his experience with his own wife's cancer...a clear and informed assessment of the effectiveness of his spouse's ...

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Overview

A world-renowned cancer specialist puts his love for his wife before all that he has learned in medical school and journeys with her into the world of alternative medicine when she is given only a few months to live, in this compassionate and elegantly written memoir.

"Written by one of the world's preeminent cancer specialists, the story documents his experience with his own wife's cancer...a clear and informed assessment of the effectiveness of his spouse's treatment."

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Abraham Verghese
Ultimately, Healing Lessons is a story of what is unfortunately a commonplace occurrence for so many families, a story rendered poignant by Winawer the physician being forced to live the narrative his patients have told him for years....Healing Lessons reminds us to leave fully, intensely, without waiting for illness or diaster to bring home the fleeting quality of human life. -- New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Winawer, a top cancer specialist, recounts his unexpected personal acquaintance with the disease when his beloved wife was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His being head of the Laboratory for Gastrointestinal Cancer Research at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital makes his revelations here all the more poignant. Winawer was forced to realize the limitations of traditional medicine, to look at the role emotions and alternative medicine can play in healing, and to reevaluate his method of practicing medicine. Beautifully relating the complexities of the experience of illness and the struggles of the human soul, Winawer's excellent book should be read by physicians and the general public alike. Recommended for public and medical libraries.--Kristine Benishek, Shank Memorial Lib., Good Samaritan Hosp., Dayton
Kirkus Reviews
A true story of love and personal growth in which a conventional physician's world is turned upside down when his wife, diagnosed with a deadly cancer, begins exploring alternative medical therapies. Winawer, a gastrointestinal cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, is aided in telling the story of his wife's fight for life by Taylor, whose "A Necessary End" (1994) described his own watch over his parents' final years. When, in early 1992, Winawer's wife, Andrea, was found to have a stomach cancer that had metastasized to her liver, Winawer found himself in a conflict between what his medical knowledge told him and what his wife needed to hear from him. Realizing that "patients facing lethal disease have to find hope," and the start of hope is the belief that they can help themselves, he encouraged her to take control of her treatment plan." Against his colleagues' advice, he supported her decision to briefly postpone the initial surgery, she was anorexic and wanted to gain some weigh, and her decision to try unconventional hyperthermia treatments before undergoing standard chemotherapy. Without her doctors' knowledge, he gave her injections of interferon and somatostatin when she decided to try them. During the next three and a half years, as Andrea went in and out of remission, she supplemented her standard medical treatments with relaxation and stress reduction techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, exercise, meditation, and prayer. His love for his wife overcoming his reservations, Winawer not only supported her treatment decisions, but researched them for her and helped her carry them out. Convinced that Andrea's blend ofconventional and complementary medical approaches enhanced the quality of her life and probably prolonged it, Winawer is now developing an integrative medicine program at Sloan-Kettering. A heartbreaking story that is not only a tribute to one woman's fighting spirit but gives testimony to the power of love to open the mind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316945097
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 8/23/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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