- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Miramax; 1st edition (January 18, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786866845
- ISBN-13: 978-0786866847
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole 1st Edition
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Serving as doctor to the Americans "wintering over" at the South Pole in 1999, Jerri Nielsen made headlines when she discovered a lump in her breast that a self-administered biopsy revealed to be an aggressive, fast-growing cancer. No flights in or out of Antarctica are possible during the continent's long winter, and Nielsen's account of giving herself chemotherapy while she and her fellow "Polies" waited for the weather to break is even more gripping than the news reports at the time. She's candid about her pain and fear; the media battle waged by her embittered ex-husband makes her ordeal even more challenging. Interestingly enough, however, this high drama does not overshadow Nielsen's deeper narrative of a woman who came "to the Ice" seeking new meaning in a life shattered by divorce and estrangement from her children. In the back-to-basics world of Antarctic medicine, with outdated equipment, few supplies, and no assistants, she rediscovered her vocation as a doctor, free from the imperatives of corporate-directed medicine. More importantly, Nielsen found spiritual solace in the world's most extreme environment, where she was "introduced slowly to the notion of giving more than you have and using less than you need ... of knowing that all you really own are your own thoughts." She makes the glories of the Pole so palpable that, by the end, readers will not even be surprised when she signs an e-mail to her family, "from the wonderful Ice." --Wendy Smith
From Publishers Weekly
Nielsen spent the better part of 1999 as the physician for a team of 41 research scientists and their support group at the South PoleDa place that is completely unreachable for nine months of the year. To "winter" at the bottom of the world risks one's life; in addition, Nielsen was solely responsible for caring for the physical and emotional health of all the other "Polies." Yet, as she writes in a strong, lucid voice, she never felt afraid; in fact, as Nielsen became "of the Ice"Da transformation that brings incredible clarity about what's most important in this life, one that unites the Polies in a life-and-death symbiosis in a place where resources are severely limited and the pristine beauty is incomparableDshe felt safer than she had ever felt since childhood. Through power outages, fires and equipment failures, Nielsen found courage, until the dayDdeep into the pitch-black winterDshe absentmindedly discovered a hard mass at the top of her right breast. Harnessing the love, skills and intelligence of her fellow Polies, and by consulting with experts in the U.S. via satellite and e-mail, Nielsen conducted a biopsy on herself, using ice as an anesthetic, and completed several rounds of chemotherapy before she could be rescuedDin a daring presummer attempt. Captivating and incisive, Nielsen does not present a memoir about illness; instead, this excellent book is about life, work and the depth of human resiliency and love. (Jan.) Forecast: Nielsen's work is on a par with the best of the popular survival genre. First serial rights have been sold to Talk magazine, and A&E is including Nielsen's story in its Biography series. Interviews have been scheduled with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America and Elle magazine. All that adds up to a bestseller.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Jerri Nielsen was a bit dissatisfied and uncertain about her life as an emergency room physician in Cleveland, Ohio and needed a change. She happened to glance at an ad for a doctor needed at the South Pole for one year and made the decision to apply. She was off to one of the harshest places on Earth to be the physician for the people who wintered over at the South Pole's scientific station where temperatures reached -100F. It was there that she found the warmest and most important people and experiences of her life.
From her BioMed clinic, which was very outdated, she treated the ills of those who worked at the Pole and became one of the most-loved on the staff. The friends she met there became friends for life and the big machine mechanic,"Big" John Penney, became her dearest friend. I think that Dr. Nielsen found what she craved at home and that was a sense of belonging. She often felt that she never wanted to leave the Pole or her newly made friends there.
While there, Dr. Nielsen found a lump in her breast. It needed to be biopsied, so she did that herself
with the help of others there who she had trained to know some medical procedures in case she became too ill to function. Supplies were dropped off by plane in order for her to do the beginning chemotherapy along with the aid of a doctor back home and this was accomplished by satellites and computers allowing Dr. Kathy Miller to instruct the procedure for the chemo. After a while it became apparent that Dr. Nielsen had to be "rescued" from the Pole in order to get the care she needed for what had been determined as breast cancer. When the temperature reached -58F a plane could then land to evacuate her.
No planes can take off or land if the temperature is below -58F. When the polar winter was over she was evacuated.
I can easily read this book over again. It is written so that I felt that I was with Dr. Nielsen and the others at the Pole and could feel her love for all she did and had there. The book is very hard to put down and if not careful, one can zoom through it and miss a lot, so reading it more slowly is advised. There is a lot to this book that is unforgettable. Very highly recommended.
Her life is falling apart before leaving for the ice, but when she tells the details of this story it is in a matter of fact way. She shines through to the reader as a beautiful and strong woman who is in no need of the reader's or anyone else's pity. This tone proliferates throughout the book. She holds her reader's captive as they explore the world of a "polie" through her words and memories. The doctor must have a vivid memory to share so fully what it was like to live on the ice with her fellow polies and to have the responsibility of their lives and health on her hands.
Ironically, it is not their lives she must save during her stay on the ice. In the middle of winter, she confides in her good friend "Big" John that she has found a lump. From there her Antarctic adventure binds with the story of a cancer survival. Even as she copes with holding her own life in her hands she never lets the reader pity her. In all actuality, throughout out the story I envy her and her adventure. The way she describes her time on the ice sounds like some fantastical movie.
The reader's of the world are lucky that she opened up her heart, memories, and inbox and brought her Antarctic adventure to life for people to experience on their own. Had this woman not been brave enough to open her story to others through Icebound a great story would have been lost.
Last yr I moved from TX to AZ & unfortunately gave about the majority of my books & this was in the give-away pile. So lucky me, I ordered a 'used' one (appeared to have only been read once - great condition) for .01 + the $3.99 shipping. Not bad at all & I was so glad to have it back I couldn't wait to reread. Was enraptured all over again.
Incredible journey, beautifully descriptive. NOTE: Don't Google anything about her until AFTER you've read the book.
I highly recommend this book.
I had rented this book quite some time ago, and decided to order and read again. This time I wanted the book to keep to pass on to my friends and for my own collection of books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is, first, well-written from a literary standpoint, with a clear, functional format and a sincere, intelligent voice, as to convey both facts and...Read more