Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer

Susan Gubar, Author
Susan Gubar. Norton, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-07325-6
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Hardcover - 475 pages - 978-1-4104-4911-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-393-08428-3
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-393-34589-6
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Feminist author and scholar Gubar received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2008, and the then 63-year-old author underwent the radical surgical procedure called debulking, which removes many of the organs in a woman’s lower abdomen. Gubar’s memoir is not easy reading. She recounts in detail the grotesque procedures and the horrendous pain and humiliation she endured. The author ponders why major advances have mounted up for the treatment of breast cancer, but little has changed in treating ovarian cancer. Gubar weaves her personal story into a discussion of art, literature, and statements from other cancer patients. The author recounts the strength and care she received from family and friends, especially her husband, from her diagnosis through treatment to remission. She then finds herself confronted with a choice. “Either I have a third abdominal surgery that comes with its own complications or I suffer from infections preventing future therapies that would extend my life.” Gubar wrote her memoir for one reason: “my central motive consists of a fierce belief that something must be done to rectify the miserable inadequacies of current medical responses to ovarian cancer.” Gubar’s passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women’s health care in America. (Apr.)
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