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AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You--Or Someone You Love--a Devastating Diagnosis Paperback – January 23, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gruman brings thorough research, interviews and personal experience to this informed, accessible guidebook for responding to news of poor health. Diagnosed four times with serious illnesses including cancer and a heart condition, Gruman, a medical journalist and president of the Center for the Advancement of Health, knows firsthand how such information can overwhelm a patient. Her advice is concrete but delivered with empathy and enlivened by testimony of other patients. In clear language, she explains how to educate oneself about the disease, treatment options and specialists; how to obtain the best care, involve the support of family and friends, and handle career-related issues. Gruman includes a useful chapter on dealing with potential health insurance and financial problems, and she suggests strategies for coping with stress caused by living with a disease, such as finding distraction, exploring spirituality or seeking counseling. The detailed appendixes on resources for finding the appropriate doctor and hospital, nonprofit organizations, clinical trials and second-opinion services, among others, are helpful tools for patients and caregivers. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“I consider this book so valuable I plan to keep it on my bedside table should I need it later on. Its recommendations are based not just on the author's experiences with illness, but also on interviews with more than 250 others: patients, family members, nurses, doctors, health plan administrators, managers of busy practices and nonprofit leaders.” ―Jane E. Brody, New York Times

“A comprehensive and invaluable guide. The plain language and easy-to-follow instructions make this a ‘must have' for every family, healthy or otherwise.” ―Tom Brokaw, NBC Anchor

AfterShock is important to have in your home, not just to give you vital information should you get bad news about your own health, but also to help friends and family who may have to cope with all of the issues facing them.” ―Barbara Walters, ABC News

“Those who must enter the emotionally turbulent world of medical care for a serious illness always want, but often lack, the calming influence of a sensible companion who has been there before. Jessie Gruman's book provides that companionship and will be greatly valued by many facing disturbing diagnoses.” ―Harold Varmus, M.D., President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Nobel Prize recipient

“There comes a moment in all our lives when we get bad news about ourselves or someone we love. Jessie Gruman shows that how we handle the news--and what we do next--can make a huge difference in the life of the person affected. As someone who has been through a shocking episode with a child, I find the book worth reading and--just as important--worth keeping close at hand.” ―Judy Woodruff, special correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

“Anyone with a scary diagnosis would do him/herself a favor by reading this book without delay. AfterShock is wise, sensitive, practical, readable, and helpful in the extreme.” ―Betty Rollin, author of First, You Cry and Here's the Bright Side

“This is an extraordinary guide based on solid research and depth of expertise. It is infused with clarity, wit, wisdom, compassion, and most of all, hope.” ―Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York

“If someone you love has ever had a frightening diagnosis, they surely could have used Jessie Gruman's book. By assuring you that your initial state of shock is normal, then by guiding you through the ways to make tough choices, AfterShock helps restore the sense of control you probably lost. A how-to on getting the best care, the book is both reassuring and empowering.” ―Lesley Stahl, correspondent on 60 Minutes, CBS

“Each of us, or one of our loved ones, is likely to receive a diagnosis of devastating illness. That is why this perceptive, comforting, and practical book belongs on every family's shelf.” ―Joseph A. Califano Jr., Chairman and President, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, 1977–1979

“In this period of bewildering complexity in our fragmented health system, Jessie Gruman's book is a quiet, reassuring refuge from the challenge of receiving shocking medical news--empowering to the patient and to his/her family, helping them to become active participants in the planning and the delivery of their health care and health maintenance. AfterShock is an invaluable medical resource and supportive companion.” ―Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1989–1993

“This is a book about life. The poignant stories attest to the enduring value of friends and family--as well as medical professionals--in helping find a path through the painful first shock and wrenching turmoil of a life-changing diagnosis. Everyone can benefit from this book. Don't wait until you think you need it. Read it now.” ―Mary O'Neil Mundinger, Dr.P.H., R.N., Dean and Centennial Professor in Health Policy, Columbia University School of Nursing

“When someone close to you is diagnosed with a serious illness, do them a big favor--give them this book. Dr. Gruman has written a compelling and comprehensive guide to making use of the best available evidence to respond to a bad diagnosis.” ―John W. Rowe, M.D., Executive Chairman, Aetna

“Jessie Gruman knows of what she speaks. If you or a loved one has received a devastating diagnosis, AfterShock sympathetically lays out what to do and how to do it. Gruman's book is clear, concise, wide-ranging, elegantly composed, richly illustrated by personal reflections, deeply informed, and highly practical. This is a work I will want to share with family and friends.” ―Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., President, Institute of Medicine

“For patients and families faced with bad diagnostic news, it would be hard to find a more useful and dependable support. Jessie Gruman is wise, practical, and authoritative--and she's been there.” ―Jeremiah Barondess, M.D., President, New York Academy of Medicine

“No doctor can tell you everything you need to know about how to respond to a devastating diagnosis. AfterShock can help you make good choices about all the elements of your new and challenging situation. Jessie Gruman is a great friend of seriously ill patients. If you let her help you--she will.” ―David Nathan, M.D., President Emeritus, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

“The discovery of a medical problem causes a crisis not only for the patient but also for the family. The author, having been through these unsettling problems several times and having shown remarkable resilience, lays out practical suggestions on what to do and also how to relieve the stress.” ―Aaron T. Beck, M.D., University Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, and Lasker Award recipient

“This is a splendid example of turning one's recurrent frightening situation into a positive gift for others. I think the book will be most helpful to people who seek more information. They will be able to return to the book repeatedly as their need for different information and their readiness to use it change as they adapt to their devastating diagnosis. This book, like its characterization of many nurses, is ‘pure gold.'” ―Martha N. Hill, Ph.D., R.N., Dean, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“The medical community owes Dr. Gruman a huge thanks for writing this courageous book. Anyone confronting some of the frightening diseases that it is our great misfortune to suffer can be comforted and guided by this wonderful volume.” ―Kenneth L. Davis, M.D., President and CEO, Mount Sinai Medical Center

“Reading this gorgeously written book is both an emotional and intellectual experience. It is a ‘must have' for anyone touched by a devastating illness either directly or through a loved one. Any health professional not deeply moved by the contents should find another line of work.” ―Claire Fagin, Ph.D., R.N., Dean Emerita, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

“After the shock of a devastating diagnosis comes the ‘aftershock,' when a person must learn the topography of a strange and frightening terrain. Written with unpretentious authority, AfterShock is a humane and immensely important book about coping with a catastrophic illness.” ―Robert M. Butler, M.D., President and CEO, International Longevity Center, USA

AfterShock is an amazing guide for the overwhelmed person or family member asking ‘What do I do next?' It is filled with practical advice which is mixed--in a most pleasantly readable style--with the observations of someone who has ‘been there--done that' but who also knows the psychological terrain of illness. Gruman recognized the gap in information for this period and has filled it beautifully.” ―Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

“This is a wise and compassionate book. It should be recommended reading for all patients facing difficult medical decisions. It also should be recommended reading for medical students and doctors-in-training.” ―George E. Thibault, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Partners HealthCare System

“With her first book, social psychologist Gruman (founder & president, Ctr. for the Advancement of Health) aims to empower patients, and those close to them, with practical and well-organized information about how to use the first few days after a serious medical diagnosis to help those involved make the right decisions for themselves. This is a very sensitively written book, with patient concerns always central and information arranged to avoid overwhelming the reader ... Highly recommended for all public library and consumer health collections.” ―Elizabeth J. Eastwood, Mesa P.L., Los Alamos, NM, Library Journal (*starred review)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802715028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802715029
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #626,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This fabulous book should be in everyone's medicine chest because like bandages and aspirin, sooner or later, you're going to need it. Gruman skillfully and sensitively guides the reader through the full spectrum of concerns and activities that characterize the first several weeks after receiving a devastating medical diagnosis. Some of the chapters are devoted to topics you would expect in such a book: how to get a second opinion, how to manage the flood of emotions that spill over you. But others are entirely unexpected and therefore, especially welcome: how to deal with your insurance company, how to inform family members and co-workers, how to negotiate benefit managers, etc.

And just in case the above suggests that this is a dry and technical book, it's absolutely not. The great strength of AfterShock is that compelling and often heart-rending anecdotes from real patients, doctors, human resources specialists, and family members provide an emotional grounding for every bit of advice the book contains. This book is essential reading. Like it or not, we're all going to need it sooner or later.
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Jessie Gruman, Ph.D., has written an essential reference for just about everyone. She offers a well-informed cushion and roadmap to support what most of us will face quite unprepared--the shock of learning that you or someone you love has a bad diagnosis. Gruman has been there--she's had 4 serious illnesses, including 3 different cancers. She has brought together her own personal experience and her extensive behavioral science and health policy professional knowledge in a very accessible reference. She was interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show on 7/11/07. (You can get the DVD through Amazon) Notice how engaged Charlie Rose becomes from the get-go in his interview with her, due to his own health issues and what she has to say. Don't wait until you get the bad news, and you are in shock. Watch this interview and then buy this book now.
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You couldn't find an more apt title for a book than this one. My 75 year old mother was recently told that she has cancer. Needless to say we were all in a state of shock. This was not supposed to happen to our mother! My sister had heard about this book. We bought four of them - one for each sister and one for my Mother and Dad. It's been a wonderful resourse for asking questions and for knowing what questions to ask. We've gone to all doctor/oncologist appointments with Mother and they seemed to have been impressed with our questions and our support. I like the way the book includes personal experience stories - many of which we could relate to.
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As the title suggests, this is the book for you if you --- or someone you love --- gets a devastating diagnosis. But don't wait. Reading it before disaster struck was very helpful to me in several ways. It guided me through some thoughts about how I might respond to a bad diagnosis myself, but also prepared me to offer some genuine help to others when they suddenly faced bad news. If I hadn't read it myself, I probably would have been reluctant to share it with a friend at such a sensitive time. But having read this book, I observed how Dr. Gruman used her own challenging health experiences, and those of hundreds of others she interviewed, to give gentle support and genuine practical advice to people reeling from news they didn't want to get. The sad news is that I've had occasion to give two copies as gifts in recent months. The good news is that the recipients found the book extremely helpful. When a bad disgnosis comes and everyone else is lamenting "What can I do?", a concerned friend can step in with a gift of this book and feel confident that it is tasteful, sensitive, and useful because it's written by an author who's professionally well-qualified, but has also "been there" herself.
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Written by an incredibly brave and accomplished woman of innumerable awards for her work helping patients and doctors with their patient's psychological as well as medical, needs as they face serious and terminal illness. Recently deceased after a third bout with cancer, and fourth serious illness, I attended her memorial, and was overwhelmed by her courage, accomplishments in the face of suffering, and compassion, and had to read the book. I was not disappointed: it is the bible on the subject and should be read by EVERYONE, as we, or someone we love, will inevitably travel this path, and need it's guidance at such an emotional time.
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AfterShock will lead you from the depths of dispair to daylight. The understanding that what you are feeling is normal and to be expected as you absorb and deal with facts of your own mortality is a true gift. The advice as to choosing the right doctor, hospital, places to go for assistance, and useful reminders as you get your life in order is invaluable. This useful and easily understood book is a truly effective guide to peace of mind.
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