Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Season in Hell by Marilyn French

This is the harrowing story of Ms. French's odyssey in the country of the sick. It begins with esophageal cancer and progresses to the sequelae of radiation and chemotherapy which affected her heart, gastrointestinal tract, bones, lungs, kidneys, bladder and more. She defied the odds and lived 19 years cancer free. This is a gutsy gripping story.

Ms. French, a respected feminist intellectual and writer, died in May of 2009. In A Season in Hell, she is candid about her physicians and care givers. There is much in this book to instruct aspiring doctors, nurses, therapists and care givers.

Her obituary which appeared in the NY Times is worth reading, too. Click here.

Quote: "Enervation had turned me into a docile patient, helpless, caught, trapped in a system. I felt that the doctors were caught in it, too. The department, the hospital, the huge system, encompassed us all, and nothing could be done about it. They were killing me and I was letting them. There was no way to stop it." (p. 110)

This is a tough, extraordinary read. You can purchase a used copy at ABE Books.