Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Cancer's Biography

Mary sent me Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, New York Times Bestseller, Winner of the Publitzer Prize, etc. and etc.  I am on page 169 of its 571 pages, and I can confidently state that the book and its author richly deserve such recognition.  As a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, diagnosed nearly 20 years ago, I can also say that my family and I lived part of that biography within a community of others with the same diagnosis and with their loved ones.  About half of us with that diagnosis survived.

George P. Canellos, MD, shows up several times in the bio.  After my oncologist delivered his diagnosis and recommended chemotherapy ("CHOP"), we asked him for a reference to another physician for a second opinion.  He suggested Dr. Canellos at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  Dr. Canellos would see us, so we made the appointment, sent some records on ahead, and made a one day trip, up and back.

Dr. Canellos was warm and encouraging, he approved the treatment, and said I would live to be an old man.  (Working on it.)  Until I started reading this book, I had only a dim idea of what American medicine (and heroic cancer patients and their families) had to go through for him to arrive at such a prognosis.


Scott said...

Thanks for the recommendation. My NHL, though in remission, has recently been brought back to the my spotlight after my daughter realized just yesterday that my (previously manifested) rash was also known as cancer. She hadn't linked the two before and the cancer designation scared her...again. We had a nice discussion, though. And, it reminded me that I'm not doing treatments only for me.

Paul Stokes said...

Thanks, Scott.