Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer

Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer

by David Servan-Schreiber
     
 

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At the start of this intimate and moving memoir, Dr. David Servan- Schreiber is returning by bicycle to his Paris home from an unsettling appointment. Following several months of fatigue and fainting spells, he had scheduled an emergency MRI. The results confirm his worst fears: the return of the cancer that he was first diagnosed with nineteen years

Overview

At the start of this intimate and moving memoir, Dr. David Servan- Schreiber is returning by bicycle to his Paris home from an unsettling appointment. Following several months of fatigue and fainting spells, he had scheduled an emergency MRI. The results confirm his worst fears: the return of the cancer that he was first diagnosed with nineteen years earlier.

Fully aware of what the prognosis means, he redoubles his commitment to an Anticancer diet, and complements his chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and vaccine protocols with acupuncture and yoga. At the same time, he undertakes a close assessment of his own life, realizing that he has neglected a key piece of Anticancer advice-to create a stress-free life; instead he had embarked on an international tour to take his message to the public. Nevertheless, he concludes that he would not have done it any differently.

In this book, Servan-Schreiber raises many of the most complex and personal questions about how we live and how we prepare for death. Powerful, honest, and inspiring, he continually surprises with his thoughts on what's important in life and the meaning of death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Servan-Schreiber was a world-renowned psychiatrist and authority on cancer, whose book, Anticancer, encouraged holistic dietary and lifestyle changes to minimize the risks and effects of the disease. By following his own advice and undergoing several operations, he was able to reverse an aggressive form of brain cancer and extend his life by nearly two decades. But despite his best efforts, the tumor reappeared in a July 2010 MRI. Servan-Schreiber died 13 months later, but not before penning this epistle of hope in which he recounts his battle with cancer, his efforts to fully live his final months, and the lessons he has learned along the way. Humbly detailing his fears, regrets, and hopes for his family and those of others fighting cancer, Servan-Schreiber remains till the end a man committed to living. Readers will find this book touching, enlightening, and most importantly, life-affirming. Agent: Susanna Lea, Susanna Lea Associates. (Nov.)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 
“A small book with a big message that provides a poignant coda to Servan-Schreiber's life’s work. . . . He goes to great pains to remind us that though he himself will (and did) lose his battle with cancer, adopting an antican­cer approach allowed him a measure of life and love that far exceeded diagnostic pre­diction and statistics. . . . When Servan-Schreiber claims this is not his last goodbye to us, he enacts the very thing that allows his gift of sage advice to live on, the best medicine of all (in addition to good eats): optimism, fidelity and hope.”
Le Point

 
"A book of dignity, sincerity, and breathtaking beauty. . . . In this often joyous account, David Servan-Schreiber helps us look at death and prepare ourselves to die well. It's a very powerful read that inspires deep appreciation."
Elle

 
"Each word rings true, each memory lingers, each detail of his life brings us closer to the human condition. This book is a gift."
Le Temps

 
"A book that is as lucid as it is personal . . . brave, bright, committed."
From the Publisher
"A small book with a big message that provides a poignant coda to Servan-Schreiber's life's work. . . . He goes to great pains to remind us that though he himself will (and did) lose his battle with cancer, adopting an antican­cer approach allowed him a measure of life and love that far exceeded diagnostic pre­diction and statistics. . . . When Servan-Schreiber claims this is not his last goodbye to us, he enacts the very thing that allows his gift of sage advice to live on, the best medicine of all (in addition to good eats): optimism, fidelity and hope." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


"An epistle of hope in which Servan-Schreiber recounts his battle with cancer, his efforts to fully live his final months, and the lessons he has learned along the way. Humbly detailing his fears, regrets, and hopes for his family and those of others fighting cancer, he remains till the end a man committed to living. Readers will find this book touching, enlightening, and most importantly, life-affirming." - Publishers Weekly


"With poignant simplicity and heartbreaking humility, recently deceased psychiatrist Servan-Schreiber recounts the events of the year preceding his final battle with brain cancer. . . . Rather than falling into despair, he faced his many rounds of hospitalization, surgery and radiation treatment with courageous resolve. . . . For the author, dying was not an inevitable fate that would separate him from the life he so loved. Rather, it was a gift that allowed him to cultivate inner peace and forge even closer ties with those who mattered most. . . . A profoundly human book that touches readers with a rare and healing candor." - Kirkus Reviews


"A book of dignity, sincerity, and breathtaking beauty. . . . In this often joyous account, David Servan-Schreiber helps us look at death and prepare ourselves to die well. It's a very powerful read that inspires deep appreciation." - Le Point


"Each word rings true, each memory lingers, each detail of his life brings us closer to the human condition. This book is a gift." - Elle


"A book that is as lucid as it is personal . . . brave, bright, committed." - Le Temps


"In this book, David Servan-Schreiber shares with us his many selves - the intimate and the public, the confident and fearful, the joyous and the pained. Each side of David has a story to tell, and a goodbye to offer that is both beautiful and profound. Together, they provide a glimpse of the choreography of spirit that lived within this gifted pioneer."
Jonathan D. Cohen, Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute


"In his books, David Servan-Schreiber teaches readers methods for taking control of their lives both psychologically and physically. Now, in his final introspective volume, he also teaches us how to face the ultimate and inevitable challenge-our own death.-Moving, informative and inspiring . . .-Not the Last Goodbye is the gift of a wise and compassionate man ‘dying well' and leaving a roadmap of empowerment to guide others."
Francine Shapiro, PhD, Founder of EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs


"In this inspiring book, David Servan-Schreiber tells us the remarkable story of how a brain cancer at age 32 transformed his life and in turn led him to reconsider how cancer can be prevented and should be treated. His writing is both moving and elegant; it will leave no one untouched. His wisdom and lucidity leads all of us to re-examine what is important in our life, and in our death."- Benoit H. Mulsant, MD, Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto


"In the last months of his life, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber gives us a rare glimpse at the universal experience of dying and reveals lessons on a good life and a good death. This book enriches our lives and provides comfort for those near the end of life and those who care for them. Dr. Servan-Schreiber encourages us to seek 'calm' and be mindful of ourselves and the world around us. In this way, we will be healthier and so will the planet."
Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center

Kirkus Reviews
With poignant simplicity and heartbreaking humility, recently deceased psychiatrist Servan-Schreiber (Anticancer: A New Way of Life, 2008, etc.) recounts the events of the year preceding his final battle with brain cancer. In June 2010, the author received the news that a "gigantic, vein-filled mass" had taken over his frontal lobe, the region that had been operated on twice nearly 20 years before. He knew this tumor presaged his death; at the same time, his "desire to live was very much intact, as was my determination." Rather than falling into despair, Servan-Schreiber faced his many rounds of hospitalization, surgery and radiation treatment with courageous resolve. He also continued to adhere to the regimen of "physical exercise, yoga, meditation" that he propounded in the international bestseller Anticancer, and took full responsibility for having disregarded a key part of his own treatment plan: stress management. Servan-Schreiber never stopped believing in the value of his holistic approaches, despite his relapse: "The fact that I have lived all these years with such an aggressive form of cancer…is enough to support the idea that it was within my power to contribute positively to my health." As his disease progressed and he drew closer to death, which occurred in July 2011, the psychiatrist turned his thoughts toward "dying well." That meant getting his affairs in order and, more importantly, saying goodbye to friends and family, forgiving others and seeking forgiveness. For the author, dying was not an inevitable fate that would separate him from the life he so loved. Rather, it was a gift that allowed him to cultivate inner peace and forge even closer ties with those who mattered most. A profoundly human book that touches readers with a rare and healing candor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101565568
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/17/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
270 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

 
"In the last months of his life, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber gives us a rare glimpse at the universal experience of dying and reveals lessons on a good life and a good death. This book enriches our lives and provides comfort for those near the end of life and those who care for them. Dr. Servan-Schreiber encourages us to seek 'calm' and be mindful of ourselves and the world around us. In this way, we will be healthier and so will the planet."
— Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center

Meet the Author

David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and cofounder of the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. He's lectured at leading international academic centres, including Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and Cambridge Universities. His first book The Instinct to Heal was an international bestseller and France's bestselling non-fiction book of the year in 2004, selling over 600,000 copies in the trade edition alone. His latest book is Anticancer (2008).

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