Dr. Geoffrey Kurland is a Pediatric Pulmonologist and Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He received his undergraduate education at Amherst College, followed by Medical School, Pediatric Residency, and Fellowship training at Stanford University. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife, Kristen.
My Own Medicine: A Doctor's Life as a Patientby Geoffrey Kurland M.D.
Approaching his forty-first birthday, Dr. Geoffrey Kurland was a busy man. His work as a Pediatric Pulmonologist , caring for children with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, led to long hours on the wards at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. At the same time, he was in the midst of training for the Western States Endurance Run, a grueling 100-mile long footrace across the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His long training runs, the responsibilities of patient care and teaching, and relationships attempting to replace his departed girlfriend occupied most of his life.
Dr. Kurland's ordered world is suddenly turned upside-down when he is diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia, a rare blood cancer with a low survival rate. His work, his running, and his friendships are altered by his struggle to survive. He finds he must undergo many of the procedures he performed on his patients, must endure surgery and chemotherapy, and must relinquish control of his life to his physicians, surgeons, and his disease. He learns first-hand what cannot be taught in medical school about the consuming power of a chronic illness and its treatment.
Confronting his own mortality, Dr. Kurland is now the patient while remaining a physician and runner. With the support of his physicians at the Mayo Clinic, the University of California, and the University of Pittsburgh, he resolves to continue to live his life despite his potentially fatal disease. He discovers his personal inner strengths as well as weaknesses as he struggles to confront his illness and regain some of the control he lost to it.
Along his nearly two and a half year journey, we follow Dr. Kurland as he endures surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and life-threatening complications of his illness. He emerges into remission with new inner strength and understanding of what it means to be a doctor. He also finds that he is still a runner, with the same goal, to run the 100 miles across the Sierra Mountains.
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