In this fictionalized case study, a woman goes to the Medical Rejuvenation Institute to improve her recovery after breast cancer.
Sarah Harrison, 30, grows up in a family that’s “one of the more affluent cornerstones of the community.” After college, family connections land her a plum job at Vanity Fair, where she soon becomes one of its “most celebrated Associate Editors.” She and her tall, handsome husband, Edward, a financial planner, weather his colorectal cancer scare, have two delightful children, and enjoy being a New York power couple. When Sarah develops breast cancer, she undergoes the standard lumpectomy, radiation and chemo, with good results. Her doctor recommends follow-up care at the Medical Rejuvenation Institute; debut author Briones, a pulmonologist and medical doctor, is its founder and president. The institute aims “to extend [Sarah’s] life as a cancer survivor and significantly impact her quality of life.” (The institute’s actual website tempers this goal, stating that it’s “not a treatment program intended to treat…any disease.”) Briones provides full particulars of Sarah’s care program, such as laboratory tests to perform, supplements to take and their dosages, and lifestyle recommendations. As a novel, this story is clumsily told and betrays an unattractive preoccupation with wealth as virtue. Of course, prospective clients would need wealth to follow the Institute’s regime: The cost of a nutritional evaluation, for example, “is high, but might be covered by insurance”—might be, and that’s before purchasing the long, long list of nutritional supplements and other recommended equipment, such as an “earthing sheet.” Just as she skims over the cost, Briones skims over controversies about these treatments. The book’s alternative medicine claims are complex and legion, but many of the conclusions and interventions have little evidence-based medical support. Briones includes a list of references; however, without in-text citations, it’s up to the reader to track down which references are meant to support which claims.
A thinly disguised advertisement for the author’s business. Buyer beware.