Sattilaro is a doctor (anesthesiologist and chief executive officer of Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia)--and the really gripping parts of his return-to-life story are the precise, knowing descriptions of major surgery, bone scans, and other medical events in the life of an apparently doomed patient. (Subsequent pages, though not without interest, lack the sustained drama of the opening scenes.) At the age of 47 Sattilaro discovered that he had advanced prostatic cancer, which had metastasized to his skull, shoulder, spine, sternum, and ribs. In a series of operations, both his testicles and one of his ribs were removed; he was put on estrogen therapy, and given a very short time to live. A bachelor and only child, Sattilaro had no intimate friends to confide in; he decided not to tell his mother because his father was dying from cancer too. Then, driving home to Philadelphia after his father's funeral, Sattilaro picked up two hitchhikers. One fell asleep in the back seat, and when Sattilaro impulsively told the other about his grim prognosis, the young man gave a forceful spiel on the healing powers of whole grains, vegetables, etc. Sattilaro had been living on a mixture of restaurant food and painkillers, but he tried out macrobiotics--and within a year was inexplicably cured. But did the diet really do it? Sattilaro carefully expounds Michio Kushi's macrobiotic gospel, but makes no extravagant claims for it. He's still studying the cancer-diet connection and meantime happily ingesting brown rice and Miso soup. In complete remission and pain-free, Sattilaro has returned to the Roman Catholic faith of his youth; shaken off much of the ""selfishness, greed, self-centered ambition, and fear"" that dogged his middle years; and come to peaceful terms with existence. A simple, straightforward, occasionally quite moving account.
Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1982
Page Count: -
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1982
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