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My Voice: A Physician's Personal Experience With Throat Cancer Paperback – February 15, 2010
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About the Author
Dr Itzhak Brook is a physician who specializes in Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Washington DC and is an expert in infections caused by anaerobic bacteria and head and neck infections. He has delivered numerous lectures all over the world and has done extensive research on respiratory tract infections and infections following exposure to ionizing radiation. He is the author of six medical textbooks, 96 medical book chapters and numerous scientific publications. Dr Brook was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2006 and received radiation therapy. Two years later he had his larynx removed and currently speaks with a tracheoesophageal prosthesis.
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The physicians,both surgery & radiation-including their teams, were wonderful for me (being all highly experienced), but the level of care was not consistently good in the Critical Care unit. When I finally got to the H&N unit it improved significantly.
I found Dr Brook on-line in a search I did for long term side effects, as I was dealing with an unexpected, apparent long term side effect of radiation: near fainting. He was most responsive, helpful, and caring. I consider him to be a 'hero' of a human and an incredible physician. I am grateful for the on-line support and friendship he has offered me.
I give his book to all the H&N medical support people I know, as it is so useful for long term survial knowledge..and for what can go wrong. Obviously, if possible an opinion from a highly experienced specialist is important for the newly diagnosed.
I do not give the book to newly diagnosed, but do give it to SPOHNC support groups and physicians with which I now follow-up. The 'negatives' that some might perceive he writes about are simply a record of what happened to him. Many of us have similar experiences to various degrees. I believe that most nursing staff (excet one) that cared for me, were doing their very best to be empathetic, though it is almost impossible to comprehend the immediate effect of certain surgery, radiation, and side effects-short term & long term- on the area of one's body where breathing, speech, swallowing, taste, flexibility, nerve systems,appearance, etc all converge to make us humans able to live, be seen, and commmunicate in the world. So, if one is the 'silent patient' in the bed or one caring for the 'silent'patient, I recommend Dr Brook's book as an insight to anticipate the critical points along the path to recovery and a patient's 'new normal'. It is so different! However, I for one, am grateful for the treatment I received and 'happy' to LIVE with the side effects. Thank you, Dr Brook
One note: his expectations of some nurses may have been unrealistic. While some of them were totally stupid and lazy - no nurse could have possessed his clinical fund of knowledge and therefore were unable to know what HE KNEW about his disease. Additionally, in the past most of these patients died. The new survival rates hopefully will lead to even better post op care and LESS stupidity from OTHER DOCTORS and yes, macho freak surgeons who can't be bothered with post op questions being always on the way to the next case! What's point, guys - of being super technicians in the OR when you cannot take a few moments to answer your post op surgical patient's very legitimate questions? It's a Super book, de rigeur for anyone who is or loves a head and neck cancer patient. Nor is this too technical, despite the subject matter. I finished it in one weekend (it rained constantly)!