Publishers Weekly, 1997-06-02 Every person with a devastating illness wishes for a miracle, and in this inspiring account of Smith's long battle against brain cancer, he and Naifeh (coauthors of the Pulitzer-winning Jackson Pollock) show how to make it happen. For 20 years, Smith lived first with a rare blood disorder that left his bones dangerously brittle, then with an even more frightening conditionæbrain cancer. At first, Smith accepted his doctors' diagnoses and treatments, but when standard intervention proved unsatisfactory he began to see the importance of advocating for better choices. Because he refused to accept the standard prognosis for his type of canceræinoperable, with only three months to liveæSmith was able, after much difficult searching, to find a surgeon who operated on the tumor with good results. With clarity, insight and no trace of self-pity, Smith and Naifeh recount Smith's experiences and those of other patients and physicians who struggle to obtain and provide innovative approaches to catastrophic illness or injury. There is no one right way to treat a serious disease, Smith and Naifeh conclude; the important thing is to find options. The authors note the difficulties in battling for the best treatments and doctors, fighting insurance companies that refuse to pay for experimental procedures and confronting denial and depression. They point out the stresses a major illness imposes on patient, family and friends. They even ask where to draw the line between "wanting to fight death with every available means" and "wanting to run from death and hide behind yet another treatment." This positive, empowering book holds no snake-oil wonder cure, but shows that subtler miracles can occur when patients maintain choice, autonomy and dignity. Author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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