Dr. Sidney J. Winawer was one of the world's leading cancer experts. Yet when his wife Andrea was stricken with stomach cancer, not even his skills and dedication as a physician could reverse the grim prognosis. Together the couple explored complementary and alternative treatments. Healing Lessons is a testament to the strength of love and the story of a doctor's transformation--the new treatments he embraced and the lessons he learned on the opposite side of the doctor-patient relationship.
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Sidney J. Winawer is Chief of the Gastroenterology Nutrition Service, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, attending physician, member with tenure and holder of the Paul Sherlock Chair at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center. He is also Professor of Medicine at Cornell University Medical College. Nick Taylor is author of five nonfiction books, including Sins of the Father and A Necessary End.From Kirkus Reviews:
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 surgeryshe was anorexic and wanted to gain some weighand 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) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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