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.