After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness

Julian Seifter, M.D., with Betsy Seifter, Simon & Schuster, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-2304-1
Here's a doctor who understands his ailing patients all too well. Seifter, a noted kidney specialist, Harvard Medical School professor, and a diabetic, presents a poignant tribute to those who have faced their illness "in just the right way": neither denying the illness nor becoming totally identified by it. Seifter notes that such patients are remarkable not just for their coping skills, but because they embrace their lives despite their disease. There's Sheila, who invented an alter ego named Lucy to preserve her "selfhood" while battling a rare, inflammatory disease, ex-Boston cop Bill O'Malley, who refused to have life-saving dialysis, choosing quality rather than quantity of; and Rose, diagnosed with breast cancer, who discovers that her illness has given her life deeper meaning. They all, Seifter notes, found a way to forget about their illness and immerse themselves in the lives they chose to live. And their stories help the doctor deal with his own chronic disease—and offer an important lesson for the rest of us, too: when we're sick, "tolerance, forgiveness, and acceptance" will help us stay alive with joy and purpose. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-3497-9
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-1-4391-2305-8
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!