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Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393073256
ISBN-10: 0393073254
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Gubar 's passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women 's health care in America.

Staggering, searing... even the most skeptical and finicky reader--even the healthy reader, even the healthy male reader--will not put this book down... Ms. Gubar deserves the highest admiration for her bravery and honesty. --Abigail Zuger

Gubar's passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women's health care in America.

An extraordinary testament to the human spirit--at least, to Susan Gubar's indomitable spirit--a rare mixture of honesty, eloquence, humor, and passionate curiosity about the truth.... The 'voice' is so utterly intimate, the reader will find herself, or himself, drawn into sharing the author's deepest thoughts, fears, and wishes. The memoir is a treasure-chest of wonderful, uncommon cultural allusions and lines of poetry; the reader feels honored to be in the presence of a first-rate, restless mind, being taken to a place of devastating clarity. There is pathos here, but not self-pity; amid the tragic and sorrowful, sudden flashes of wit. --Joyce Carol Oates

Staggering, searing even the most skeptical and finicky reader even the healthy reader, even the healthy male reader will not put this book down Ms. Gubar deserves the highest admiration for her bravery and honesty. --Abigail Zuger"

Clear-eyed and exquisitely written. --Cynthia Crossen"

Delivered in a voice that is intelligent, feminist and devastatingly honest Unlike many accounts of life with cancer, it is neither relentlessly upbeat nor melodramatic. Instead, it is straightforward, realistic and incredibly brave. --Elsa Dixler"

Starred review. True to her no-nonsense feminist roots, Gubar pulls no punches.... This raw narrative is as close to therapy and is written as close to the bone as one is likely to find among cancer memoirs. Even so, there is a certain beauty that only someone of Gubar s prodigious abilities can impart to such a painful experience. "

In this brave, honest book, Gubar grapples with the reality and symbolism of cancer. [H]er tone is intimate, unsentimental, and darkly funny. "

Not just a grueling memoir of facing a deadly disease but a powerful expose of the failure of medical science to find better ways to detect and treat it. "

Gubar s passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women s health care in America. "

An extraordinary testament to the human spirit at least, to Susan Gubar s indomitable spirit a rare mixture of honesty, eloquence, humor, and passionate curiosity about the truth.... The voice is so utterly intimate, the reader will find herself, or himself, drawn into sharing the author s deepest thoughts, fears, and wishes. The memoir is a treasure-chest of wonderful, uncommon cultural allusions and lines of poetry; the reader feels honored to be in the presence of a first-rate, restless mind, being taken to a place of devastating clarity. There is pathos here, but not self-pity; amid the tragic and sorrowful, sudden flashes of wit. --Joyce Carol Oates"

About the Author

Susan Gubar received the Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and, with Sandra M. Gilbert, was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle. She is the Distinguished Emeritus Professor of English at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393073254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393073256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an astonishing memoir about a woman's "enduring" ovarian cancer. That is to say, not a "cure" or even assurance of survival, but author Susan Gubar agreed to undergo a radical, surgically difficult treatment for ovarian cancer, and she's also a fantastic writer. So not only does she share her experience, she is able to write poignantly and meaningfully about going through absolute hell to survive one of the more difficult types of cancer.

I personally was unfamiliar with "debulking"--having had studied some aspects of oncology as part of my graduate work in immunology years ago, I had become familiar with many of the new treatments (Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer, seeding prostate cancers, lumpectomies, etc) but had NOT heard about this method of dealing with one of the worst of women's cancers. In general, only about 50 percent of ALL ovarian cancer patients are alive after five years (including early and late detection) as compared to breast cancer patients who have over all an almost 90 percent five year survival statistic. Part of the issue is that breast cancer has early detection methods (self-exam, mammography, ultrasound) and ovarian cancer is silent except for vague symptoms that mimic other things (bloating, pelvic pain, or--sometimes, nothing at all until it's into late stages.) And there are far more chemotherapeutic drugs for breast cancer than for ovarian at this point.

Debulking is the removal of affected organs, whatever can be spared, from the abdomen.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having a Mom who passed just before Mother's day this yearI can relate to what Ms. Gubar is sharing about the debulking procedures and its effects. My Mother had that endured similar peritoneal & metastatic ovarian cancer for 3 yrs. Debulking's horrific nature and the hollow it leaves behind in the corpse and spirit cannot be understated. However, please don not regret your decision, as your sacrifice is a gift to your family that they will treasure forever. The alternatives just are not there, I suppose. Whats worse is the adhesion's that form and inhibit what systems are left functional. I pains me to think another family must endure this. We must support more research for less invasive procedures to isolate tumors from the organs they bind to. Debulking with a knife is barbaric. It may be the best we have, but its NOT good enough.

Please share and support 'Memoir of a debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer' by Susan Gubar via @amazonkindle Bless her, and her family.

REVISED EDIT: Regarding other review comments, it appears several readers fail to comprehend the pain that the author underwent as she penned this and that the writings are infused with a lifetimes worth of reflections, anecdotes and personal comment that are fluid and diverse. The Author is a professor, and hence the excessive references and due diligence. A debulked survivor may be heavily medicated to alleviate pain and anxiety. Its is important to realize that this is a memoir of the feelings and thoughts of a survivor. Its not a medical reference nor a inspirational book - it is a unique perspective of a person who has enormous strength to put her feelings in words under the most challenging circumstances. It is herculean accomplishment that someone in this condition actually authored a book.
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Format: Hardcover
As a 1 year late stage Ovarian Cancer survivor I understand where she is coming from. It's incredibly hard for us to see all the advances for other cancers and nothing for Ovarian cancers. It honestly feels like a bizzare high school clique that we can't get into. I'm left constantly dumbfounded as to why. Why is my cancer, the cancer that is so deadly, not discussed. There's no test, there's no public discussion about the symptoms, there's no good treatment, and on and on.

I, unlike the author, do have hope that I can beat this or that a treatment will be found in time for me. My differing view may be due to our age difference, I'm in my late 30's. Still, I would not recommend this book to a newly diagnosed women. You need to be very focused to deal with the surgery and chemo. This type of introspection should be saved for once your feeling back to "normal".

This book is excellently written and really has me thinking about the "silent" in the Silent Cancer reference. The silence is really in the fact that women are not screaming from the rooftops about this horrible cancer, it's symptoms, lack of test and depressing mortally rate. Please help us bring this cancer to into the public dialogue.
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This is a powerful and wonderful book. The author, Susan Gubar, a very active academic, writes of her struggle with advanced ovarian cancer. Unlike breast cancer, ovarian cancer is very difficult to detect and treat. Like most cases her cancer was found in an advanced stage. Unfortunately, the treatments border on the barbaric and there is little hope for a cure - just stall tactics each one with more dreadful side effects. Even though I myself went through surgery/chemo/radiation for breast cancer (I'm fine now) I had never heard of debulking which is surgery to try to remove whatever cancerous organs can be removed - and that usually includes parts of the bowel. I knew that ovarian cancer was usually fatal but I had no idea what a horrible journey it was. Ms. Gubar appears to be a reserved woman and has a great deal of difficulty talking about her body and the nightmares she faced so it seemed to me that in the first few chapters she was stalling - quoting everyone else and their struggles (very good research) and only skirting her own. I kept wanting her to tell me her specifics and she finally does. And it is dreadful,incredible, beyond belief. Yet she bravely struggles through and gives us her insights about life and facing death - profound, poignant and soul searching. I will share this book (by buying more copies) with many people, particularly those who are struggling with sickness and life/death issues. She has also given me insight on friends struggling with colon cancer - awful. Ms. Gubar has left us a treasure. And, I checked the internet and it seems she is still alive and struggling and writing - go for it, Susan! We want to hear more from you. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
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