Monday, October 3, 2016

Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny (2002)

by Michael Gearin-Tosh

"What happens when a smart university professor, his life at stake, studies his options and decides his cancer should be treated, not with chemotherapy but with the "crazy" approach of good nutrition, acupuncture, visualization, and vitamins? Well, for one thing, he writes a thrilling, important, informative book. For another, he's still living productively eight years later rather than dying within months like he was supposed to. "Living Proof" is a must-read for every person -- and their loved ones -- who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Sir David Weatheral, F.R.S. University of Oxford Living Proof does underline the extraordinary chasm between the world of complementary medicine and conventional western practice. The message of the book is far-reaching and teaches us an enormous amount about the stresses and strains of living under the cloud of serious disease. It does a great service to us all."

Coda:  Michael Gearin-Tosh died in 2005 (13 years after being diagnosed with myeloma).

I read this book when it came out 14 years ago.  It was deeper than one would expect. Mr. Gearin-Tosh's approach is not for everyone, but, by living 13 years after the diagnosis of myeloma, without standard therapy, he certainly beat the odds. Today, the treatment has improved, but...

Also see: "Tom Brokaw: Leaning to Live with Cancer"

Sunday, October 2, 2016

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

by Neil White

from Booklist: White was a successful magazine publisher in 1993 when he was convicted of fraud and check kiting and sentenced to prison in Carville, Louisiana. He knew he was facing 18 months without his wife and two young children; he knew his enormous ego and ambition had landed him in prison; he knew he had to figure out a way to save his marriage and somehow rebound financially. What he didn’t know was that the isolated 100-year-old facility at Carville was home to a leper colony of 130 patients. He learned that the patients (some severely disfigured and disabled) and the 250 inmates eyed each other suspiciously across the corridors and breezeway, each thinking the other was the scourge of the earth. Because his work detail brought him into frequent contact with the patients, White developed strong relationships with them. His favorite was Ella, a dignified and beatific elderly black woman, who had lived at Carville for more than 50 years. Among the inmates, White encountered counterfeiters and tax evaders along with drug traffickers and carjackers. When the Bureau of Prisons decided to evict the leprosy patients, tensions built on both sides. White, near the end of his sentence and struggling to come to grips with the consequences of his crime, is caught in the middle. He offers a memoir of personal transformation and a thoroughly engaging look at the social, economic, racial, and other barriers that separate individuals that harden, dissolve, and reconfigure themselves when people are involuntarily thrust together over long periods. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

I read this recently and found it moving on many levels.  Anyone interested in leprosy, social outcasts, the effects of imprisonment on people with infectious disease as well as incarceration will benefit from reading Neil White's memoir.  If you want more, get a copy of Gavin Daw's superb "Holy man: Father Damien if Molokai."