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Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig: How an Empowered Patient Beat Stage IV Cancer (And What Healthcare Can Learn from It) Paperback – June 30, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"There's something in your lung."With those words Dave deBronkart began an unwanted odyssey: he had metastatic kidney cancer, spread silently throughout his body. Online, he read that his median survival time was 24 weeks.

Laugh, Sing and Eat Like a Pig is Dave's story in his own words: excerpts from his cancer journal and later writings as he discovered the e-patient movement - "Empowered, Engaged, Equipped, Enabled" - and became its best-known blogger, speaker, and government policy advisor.

The true story of "e-Patient Dave" will inspire you and fill you with a sense that a new world is beginning, a world in which empowered patients partner with medical professionals, to truly help heal
healthcare.


Advance praise:

"In my list of greatest personal reads."

"Was it my cheering or tears, the intimacy of the story, the caring nature of the community, the power of his vision, or just my awe of his guts? I suspect it was for all of those reasons and more that Dave's book now ranks in my list of greatest personal reads."

-- James B. Conway, MS, FACHE, adjunct faculty member of the Harvard School of Public Health; Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)


"Listen up to e-Patient Dave. A must-read."


"If you want to be an empowered patient - and you should - listen up to 'e-Patient Dave.' His lessons on participatory medicine can save your life just as I believe they saved his. Dave's story has inspired me, and I'm sure it will inspire you. Dave's a pioneer in the empowered patient movement, and Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig is a must-read for anyone who wants to take charge of their healthcare."

-- Elizabeth Cohen MPH, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Author, The Empowered Patient (Random House)

"Required reading for patients and doctors"

"Dave embodies the idea that the patient is the most underutilized resource in medicine. His spirit, wisdom, and fearlessness are contagious. This book is required reading for patients and doctors, to learn how we can work together to make health care better."

-- Roni Zeiger, MD, Chief Health Strategist, Google


"An enormous impact on medicine"


"There is no doubt that Dave has made an enormous impact on medicine. He has been featured in Time and US News, testified in Washington, DC and now his wisdom and advice are available in this book to anyone facing a serious disease."

-- Kent Bottles, MD, President, Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement

About the Author

"e-Patient Dave" deBronkart was diagnosed in 2007 with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) at a very late stage. His median survival was just 24 weeks; with tumors in both lungs, several bones, even in muscle, his prognosis was "grim," as one web site put it.

Online since 1989, Dave used every resource at his disposal: a strong mental attitude, online research, great treatment at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess, online medical records, an online journal for family and friends, and online forum of kidney cancer patients. He beat the disease in less than a year, then discovered "e-patients," who participate actively in their healthcare. He began blogging as e-Patient Dave.

An accomplished speaker and writer before his illness, today Dave is engaged in opening health information directly to patients, as public speaker, policy consultant, and Founding Co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He's testified in Washington, appeared in Time, US News & World Report, the Boston Globe, and was named to the HealthLeaders "20 People Who Make Healthcare Better."

"This is the first time in my life I've felt I have a calling," says Dave, "something I can't get away from: it's what I need to do. I've had plenty of fulfilling jobs in a great career, but not a calling. This is it."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Changing Outlook LLC (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981650430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981650432
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the wife of the publisher (full disclosure), I was privileged to read "Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig" in draft form a number of months ago. I haven't met Dave in person yet, but without a doubt his book changed my life.

I received a diagnosis of bladder cancer last summer, and have been in treatment ever since. I think any cancer patient will find Dave's story extraordinarily compelling, not just because Dave is an extraordinary patient, but because he teaches us how we can all be extraordinary patients.

Dave's attitude is contagious, and every time I turned a page I found myself growing in my own sense of courage to face my cancer, and in personal power to take more responsibility for medical decisions.

He's honest about his feelings, determined to fight his disease with every resource he can muster, yet always knows that "reality is what it is" and that acceptance of whatever happens is a powerful approach.

I wasn't familiar with the concept of e-patients before I read this book, but reading it transformed me into one. This book will teach you (as it did me) what a huge difference being "empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled" can make when facing a serious illness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why should a doctor read this book?

You're a busy physician, and these patient self help books are all over the place. Why should you read this one?

1) It's a spectacular medical save.
Any doctor reading this book will find renewed pride in our profession. We really ARE saving lives, even those on the very brink of death from formerly incurable disease. I felt good about that, and I guarantee you will, too.

2) You'll find out how your severely ill patients REALLY feel while you're treating them.
Unlike most authors telling a story, Dave didn't know if he would live or die while writing the journal entries comprising most of this book. That brings with it a power and an immediacy absent in similar books. Consider: "Most of all, I cried out of knowing that when I go under anesthesia, there's nothing more I can do, and that's scary. Dr. Wagner's team is going to remove that cancerous kidney, and I'll have nothing to say or do until I wake up" (p. 28). It may be routine for us, but definitely not so for the patient.

3) You'll find out what you can do to help.
First, read Paul Levy's introduction, "Yes, Patients CAN help their Doctors." Mr. Levy, CEO of the hospital where Dave was treated, explains how a simple attitude change on our part can improve our patient interactions to the benefit of both of us:
"[Dave's] story is how doctors and a patient working in partnership can learn from one another." And Mr. Levy is not just pontificating from his C-suite - he served Dave his dinner one night, complete with hand-washing, apron and hairnet.

Second; learn from the book and Dr. Danny Sands' introduction how you can discover and 'vet' the best websites for your patients, and enable them to both help themselves and help you. Dr.
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The best writers make you feel like you're spending time with a wise friend -- add some tears and laughs and you have Dave's book (full disclosure: I do count myself as a friend of Dave's). I wasn't there for his whole journey, so I'm learning new things by reading about the scary, early days of diagnosis and treatment of his Stage IV cancer. And I love the chapter-by-chapter summary of Tom Ferguson's white paper.

Tom posted only once to the [...] blog -- his blog -- before he died in 2006 and it was a tribute to The Voice of the Patient. When a group of us decided to complete the white paper and continue the blog in Tom's honor, Dave was not yet part of the group. Now Dave is not only part of the blog, but helped start the Society for Participatory Medicine and is a central figure in patient empowerment.

Dave dedicates his book to Tom, writing: "I never met you, but you guide me every day." I bet there are people out in the world who would say the same thing about Dave, thanks to his writing -- on blogs, on Twitter, and now in this book. Dave is the embodiment of the voice of the patient. Listen and learn.
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That was, to be perfectly frank, my initial response when I learned that Dave de Bronkart--widely known on the Internet as e-Patient Dave--was publishing a book about his battle with stage IV kidney cancer. I mean, sure, I've read my share of cancer-survival stories, but in this case I figured I already knew the story. Dave de Bronkart is all over YouTube, and he tells the story quite frequently: how his doctors discovered his cancer, what his initial research told him about the cancer, Danny Sands giving him the prescription for ACOR. It's all out there. Go ahead and look it up. Dave's a charming speaker, and hearing him tell his tale won't affect your reading of the book. You should listen to Dave's talks, and then you should buy this book.

First, you should buy this book because it's not just a cancer survival story or even just a cancer survival how-to book. Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig is a book on patient empowerment, on why and how to take control of your life, even in the face of personal tragedy. You don't have to have cancer or know someone with cancer to get a lot out of this book.

Second, I loved the book. I'm still loving the book on the second read, and I usually don't re-read anything. I think grad school did that to me. I had so much to read, so much to translate, and so much to analyze that I never wanted to read anything again unless it was absolutely necessary. Every book I re-read is time stolen from one more new book I could be reading. Still, I've really enjoyed Dave's book. I love the way it bounces in and out of chronological sequence. I love the asides and insertions.
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