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Dancing at the River's Edge: A Patient and Her Doctor Negotiate Life with Chronic Illness Hardcover – January 1, 2009
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"Brill's writings and Lockshin's writings . . . are poetic, revealing, insightful, and at times shocking in their honest and frank discussion of aspects of chronic disease that are rarely brought out into the open." New England Journal of Medicine
"Dancing at the River's Edge . . . is about the trials and tribulations of chronic disease . . . you ought to get a copy and read it. You won't be able to put it down once you pick it up." Paul A. Volcker, former Federal Reserve chairman
"A must-read for anyone who has traveled to the 'other planet' that is chronic illness, or loves someone who is making this arduous journey . . . a life-affirming and deeply moving book." Nancy Matsumoto, staff contributor, People; former contributor, Health, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, and Time; coauthor, The Parents' Guide to Eating Disorders
"A book unlike any other; this slim volume probes the intricacies of a magical relationship, that of a patient with her doctor. A heart-wrenching dialogue that carries profound and life-altering insights for us all." Dr. David Sachar, head of gastroenterology, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and world's leading expert on Crohn's Disease
"Delves into the intricacies and intimacy of chronic illness . . . it illuminates the spirit. Important for those suffering from chronic illness and [their] families." Lauren Shuler Donner, film producer, You've Got Mail and the X-Men series, a lupus patient
"Whether you are doctor or patient, you see a bit of yourself in [this book]. . . . It demonstrates how profound the bond between doctor and patient can behow much power it imparts." Susan Golick, founder, S.L.E. Lupus Foundation
"A deeply personal exploration on both sides of the medical scenethe patient who suffers and strives to retain her 'self,' and the physician who struggles to maintain a balance between knowing the truth while attempting to understand its implications." Virginia Ladd, president and executive director, American Autoimmune Diseases Related Association
"An extraordinary meditation on illnessa poetic, powerful and groundbreaking work that illuminates the resilience and strength of the human spirit." David Isay, executive director, Storycorps, and editor, Listening Is an Act of Love
About the Author
Alida Brill is a sociologist, an essayist, and the author of several nonfiction books, including Dimensions of Tolerance, Nobody’s Business, and A Rising Public Voice. She lives in New York City. Michael D. Lockshin, MD, is one of America's preeminent experts in the long-term care of chronically ill patients. He is the director of the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease at the Hospital for Special Surgery and a professor of medicine and obstetrics-gynecology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. He is the author of Guarded Prognosis and The Hospital for Special Surgery Rheumatoid Arthritis Handbook. He lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
"This book is an intimate memoir about chronic illness, but a different one from those you usually see. It is a memoir that comes not from just one point of view but from the different sides of both [the chronically ill] patient and doctor [treating the chronically ill patient]...Although the subject matter is serious, and at times we [the authors] reach into the darkest sides of [chronic] illness, we view this as an optimistic book about hopes and dreams."
The above is found at the beginning of this captivating book authored by Alida Brill (the chronically ill patient whose illness began in adolescence) and Dr. Michael Lockshin (who treats her). Brill is a writer and author while Lockshin is one of the world's leading experts in the long-term care of chronically ill patients.
What is chronic illness? I can give you the sterile, clinical definition but I prefer Brill's description:
"Chronically ill people do not just live in a place that is different; our own bodies imprison us because our internal systems so wrongly understand us...Our bodies are unable to correct the faulty code of enemy and friend in the conversation between cell, tissue, and organ. We are threatened by our own interior workings--we are literally caught in the crossfire raging inside of us."
When a book is co-authored, you probably expect that each author works together on each chapter. This is not the case with this unique book. Instead each author, in most instances, writes her or his own alternate chapter. (In three instances, Lockshin writes two chapters in a row and in one instance, he writes three chapters in a row.) The result is actually a "dual memoir" between a long term, chronically ill patient and her dedicated doctor.Read more ›
Unfortunately, the author's spectrum of symptoms didn't lead to an automatic diagnosis, and for years she was mistreated, and even told that her illness was `in her head.' This was a common experience for women of our baby boomer generation. For years I was told that my headaches were a part of my menstrual cycle and would just have to be endured, even though I exhibited classical migraine symptoms, and migraines ran strongly in my family (my father and great-grandfather).
"Dancing at the River's Edge" brought back long-suppressed anger in this reader, and the author is obviously angry about her sometimes contemptuous treatment by the medical community. In one episode, she talks about "the tears in my own eyes, the tears of rage--my own powerless rage."
After years of searching, Alida Brill finally found a physician--the co-author of this book--who treated her as a human being with a chronic illness, not as an `interesting case' or a `crank' or a `gomer' (Get Out of My Emergency Room!).
If this book makes you angry or sad, it should. Both authors are unflinchingly honest and there is no happy ending--no miracle cure. Alida Brill continues to live at river's edge, her physical body under attack by her own immune system. Dr.Read more ›
That story struck a nerve with me as my husband is struggling with a chronic disease and in the battle for our son's health care, we have run into so many so-called professional doctors who do not see us as people, but as numbers in a day filled with more numbers and complaints. We have been told time after time that there is nothing more that they can do for us and dismissed out of the office without any further suggestions (we had to do our own sleuthing to get our own answers).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A profound exploration of chronic illness from point of view of both patient and doctor. Beautifully thought, beautifully written, sometimes heartbreaking, this truly is a must... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
As more and more people seem to be diagnosed with chronic diseases, this incredibly beautiful description of the nightmare of a lifetime of illness from the viewpoint of a patient... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Peter Bloch
Insightful...candid. Would that all relationships between physician and patient be so.
As a 25 year survivor of an autoimmune condition, I welcome the brutal but... Read more
I purchased by suggestion of a friend who thought there might be some medical advice that would be beneficial to me. Good book.Published on January 14, 2013 by Cheryl T. Valentine
On October 28th I departed from New York City just before the hurricane struck. As I flew into the safety of Michigan, my adopted home, I left behind the city I love and my only... Read morePublished on November 15, 2012 by Nancy Seligmann
This book was fantastic. I have a Chronic Illness as well. To read from a patient and Doctor's point of view was very enlightening.
Alida Brill first landed on the "other planet" of chronic illness at age 12. In those years of the early 1960s, when her symptoms were not easily diagnosed and second-wave feminism... Read morePublished on November 19, 2010 by Laura C. Overstreet