The New York Times
Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementiaby Thomas Graboys, Peter Zheutlin
At the age of 49, Dr. Thomas Graboys had reached the pinnacle of his career and was leading a charmed life. A nationally renowned Boston cardiologist popular for his attention to the hearts and souls of his patients, Graboys was part of “The Cardiology Dream Team” summoned to treat Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis after he collapsed on the court in 1993. He had a beautiful wife, two wonderful daughters, positions on both the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the staff of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a thriving private practice.
Today, Grayboys is battling a particularly aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease and progressive dementia, and can no longer see patients or give rounds. He is stooped, and shuffles when he walks, the gait of a man much older than his 63 years. Despite the physical, mental and emotional toll he battles daily, Graboys continues his life-long mission of caring for the world one human being at a time by telling his story so that others may find comfort, inspiration, or validation in their own struggles.
This is an unflinching memoir of a devastating illness as only a consummate physician could write it. One can’t help but imagine what Dr. Graboys, the healer, would say to Tom Graboys, the patient—a face-to-face scene imagined in this inspiring book. In his joint roles, Thomas Graboys finds a way to convey hope, optimism and an appreciation of what it means to be truly alive.
The New York Times
Graboys, a top Boston cardiologist, devoted his life to his work and his patients. He was at the top of his field and was physically and socially active. At the relatively young age of 63, Graboys now finds himself in the role of the patient and no longer able to work as a physician owing to Parkinson's disease and an associated progressive dementia. Graboys struggles with tremors, involuntary jerks of his hands and arms, sweats, and cognitive dysfunction. Navigating new places or keeping up a telephone conversation have become challenges for a man who used to make complex medical decisions. Graboys describes how his disease has affected every aspect of his life: work, family, social, physical, and appearance. He also gives an honest view of how he struggles to deal with the challenges, anger, bitterness, and guilt he feels. Enhancing his memoir are segments from family members and friends. This well-written memoir of a life shattered by Parkinson's disease will give readers, patients, and their caretakers an honest account of life with the disease. Recommended for most libraries.
Dana Ladd Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
"[A] stirring and chilling memoir...an unforgettable doctor-as-patient account."--Booklist
"Doctors get seriously ill just like ordinary people, and some of them never recover from the shock. If of a literary bent, they are often moved to reflect for posterity on this disruption of the natural order, detailing their former hubris and the enlightening misery of health care experienced from the other side of the bed. Against this generally lackluster collection of memoirs, Dr. Thomas Graboys's stands out as a small wonder. Unsentimental and unpretentious, it manages to hit all its marks effortlessly, creating a version of the old fable as touching, educational and inspiring as if it had never been told before."- Abigail Zuger, The New York Times
- Union Square Press
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- 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
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Meet the Author
Thomas Graboys, M.D. is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, President Emeritus of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In 1985, Dr. Graboys was part of the team of doctors who won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Parkinson’s disease and dementia forced his premature retirement from active clinical practice in 2006.
Peter Zheutlin is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, AARP Magazine, and dozens of other newspapers and magazines in the United States and abroad.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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My mother-in-law gave this to me to read. My father-in-law has both Parkinson's and Lewy Body, same as Tom Graboys, and this book could have been written about his everyday life. I was able to see the pain, the joys, the coping, the frustrations. Tom's feelings of losing his personality touched me especially as I have seen my father-in-law change.
If only all of our Doctors could be as kind, compassionate, considerate, and empathetic with their patients as Dr. Thomas Graboys is we would have a much better heatlh care system. Even faced with a terrible disease like Parkinson's and the death of his spouse he continues to teach and inspire and to take care of all those around him by writing a book that has helped so many understand what it's like to be faced with a devastating illness.
This book is hard to put down once you beign reading it, it took just a day and half for me to finish it. For anyone touched by Parkinson's it is a valuable insight into what it is like to deal with the disease. But it also gives a real example of what every doctor should strive to be and to do for their patients.
I highly recommend this book to everyone!
While at time repetitious,this gifted doctor, who becomes the patient with an incurable degenerative disease impacting both mental and motor skills, gives great insight into the feelings of the patient. As a doctor, he can also relate to medical issues and relate his dealings as a patient to how he treated his own patients. Highly recommend for all medical professionals and caregivers as well as those facing the inevitable end of life. With my brother diagnosed with Lewy Body, I am grateful for this last act of doctoring from a great man as well as a Doctor.
Dr. Graboys recounts his reluctant acceptance of his grave diagnosis of a particularly virulent form of Parkinson's disease. His denial gives way to deeply personal and honest insights about how the disease touched all those around him. His book is a valuable road map for patients and families facing incurable movement and cognitive disorders.
This book is a real eye opener, and really helped me to understand what my brother, who has advanced Parkinsons, is going through. It helped me to better relate to and understand how to help.
A huge thank you to Dr. Grayboys and his family for saying it and saying it so well. May God bless you.