HEALING LESSONS by Sidney J. Winawer


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A true story of love and personal growth in which a conventional physician’s world is turned upside down when his wife, diagnosed with a deadly cancer, begins exploring alternative medical therapies. Winawer, a gastrointestinal cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, is aided in telling the story of his wife’s fight for life by Taylor, whose A Necessary End (1994) described his own watch over his parents’ final years. When, in early 1992, Winawer’s wife, Andrea, was found to have a stomach cancer that had metastasized to her liver, Winawer found himself in a conflict between what his medical knowledge told him and what his wife needed to hear from him. Realizing that “patients facing lethal disease have to find hope,” and the start of hope is the belief that they can help themselves, he encouraged her to take control of her treatment plan.” Against his colleagues’ advice, he supported her decision to briefly postpone the initial surgery’she was anorexic and wanted to gain some weigh—and her decision to try unconventional hyperthermia treatments before undergoing standard chemotherapy. Without her doctors’ knowledge, he gave her injections of interferon and somatostatin when she decided to try them. During the next three and a half years, as Andrea went in and out of remission, she supplemented her standard medical treatments with relaxation and stress reduction techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, exercise, meditation, and prayer. His love for his wife overcoming his reservations, Winawer not only supported her treatment decisions, but researched them for her and helped her carry them out. Convinced that Andrea’s blend of conventional and complementary medical approaches enhanced the quality of her life and probably prolonged it, Winawer is now developing an integrative medicine program at Sloan-Kettering. A heartbreaking story that is not only a tribute to one woman’s fighting spirit but gives testimony to the power of love to open the mind. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 13th, 1998
ISBN: 0-316-94509-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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