The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
TED Introduction: "Sherwin Nuland was a practicing surgeon for 30 years and treated more than 10,000 patients. Now he is an author and speaker on topics no smaller than life and death, our minds, our morality, aging and the human spirit.
In this TED talk, Nuland discusses the development of electroshock therapy as a cure for severe, life-threatening depression -- including his own. It’s a moving and heartfelt talk about relief, redemption and second chances." Well worth listening to.
As a mental health law scholar and writer, Elyn Saks speaks for the rights of mentally ill people. It's a gray area: Too often, society's first impulse is to make decisions on their behalf. But it's a slippery slope from in loco parentis to a denial of basic human rights. Saks has brilliantly argued for more autonomy -- and in many cases for a restoral of basic human dignity.
In 2007, deep into her career, she dropped a bombshell--her autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold. In it, she reveals the depth of her own schizophrenia, now controlled by drugs and therapy. Clear-eyed and honest about her own condition, the book lent her new ammunition in the quest to protect the rights and dignity of the mentally ill.
"Nobody asks [us] dragon parents for advice; we’re too scary. Our grief is primal and unwieldy and embarrassing. The certainties that most parents face are irrelevant to us, and frankly, kind of silly. Our narratives are grisly, the stakes impossibly high." So writes, Emily Rapp in an Opinion piece about her child with Tay-Sacks disease.
Wilh all the fanfare about Tiger Moms -- Ms. Rapp's essay is an important glimpse of reality, far from the ivied halls of the Academe.
Recently, a patient held me in thrall with a story from the European theater of World War II.
"I saw my father cry only twice. The first time was at my brother Bob's wedding. The second was when the doctors at the former Fort Devens Hospital told my parents, at my discharge from the service in 1946, that at the most, I had three years to live. The doctors had diagnosed me with mitral insufficiency due to rheumatic fever.
The author, Armand Perreault, is an energetic 92 year-old retired French teacher from North Adams, Massachusetts. If you wish to contact him, I will forward messages since I do not think he uses email.
"Melanie Thernstrom, an accomplished journalist and the author of two well-regarded previous books, suffered for years from chronic pain associated with a degenerative spinal condition. When an editor at The New York Times Magazine asked her to write an article about various treatments for chronic pain, the research became an obsession. “Why do some people get better?” she wanted to know. “Was there a recipe for healing?” The resulting book, “The Pain Chronicles,” is an expansive, invigorating mix of medical reportage, history, memoir and cultural criticism."
This may be an important book for chronic pain sufferers. See Pathographies Blog fore more books on pain. Full book review of The Pain Chronicles is linked here:
This is the illness narrative of Dr. Stephen Hsi, a young physician who, at age 40 when most doctors are just hitting their professional stride, was diagnosed with Takayasu's arteritis --a rare, poorly understood multisystem disease that mainly targets the aorta. At that moment, he entered a parallel universe as a patient with a major serious illness. Over the next four years, he chronicled his life as the disease and the effects of three cardiac surgeries and numerous drugs played themselves out. After his death in 1997 at age 44, his wife discovered her husband’s extensive illness narrative journals. She and a journalist friend of his fashioned these notes into a remarkable book as a tribute to Dr. Hsi--a true labor of love. This book will inspire and educate any physician or care-giver who reads it.
"There is a place in our busy lives for spending a little time with a dying patient. When I have taken such time, I have seen painful things and good things. My patients have expressed their anger and their hopes to me. And I hoped with them, for a cure, and for an end to their pain, and for peace. They faced death as I had faced it. We had nothing to lose by laughing -- my patients were a joy to be with and I cherish the time I spent with them."
is an important book about a young man growing up with Tourette's syndrome and O.C.D. I listened to it on CDs from my local library. It is a moving and important work, and it was co-authored by James Patterson, a best selling author.
Here is a review from Amazon which addresses A.M.A. better than I could.
This book was a phenomenal retelling of the life of someone with
Tourette Syndrome. As a mother of three boys who all have the same
diagnosis as Cory, I feel like I can adequately say that I am more of
an authority on the subject than most. As I read through his life
struggles, weeping through a great many of the pages, I could identify
with much of the grief and pain that he and his parents have gone
through. I believe that everything in the book was very accurately
portrayed, from the lack of understanding of the educational system to
the medical roller coaster ride of trial and error, not to mention the
misery inflicted by social situations. I feel like the book was
tastefully written to not bash the people who do not understand this
condition, (including medical/mental health professionals) but to
portray the frustration and mental anguish caused by this lack of
I highly recommend this book to all, but especially to those who
have the fortunate opportunity to touch the life of someone with
Tourette Syndrome. As is obvious in Cory's case, these children are
incredible. They have to overcome so much more than the rest of us
would ever dream of imagining just to live, let alone succeed. Thank
you Cory, for sharing your life with us.
Dr. Bill Zeckhausen has prepared a talk on three individuals who have been a source of constant inspiration to him in his personal and professional life. Bill writes:
"All of us have been, are, and will be wounded, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe at some level we all know that. I wish to introduce, or reintroduce for you three wounded healers, who by sharing honestly the process they’ve gone through, are a gift to us."
These sources of light are: Jane Babin a poet and a lawyer with ALS Rachel Naomi Remen: physician, writer, guru Dan Gottleib a psychologist, philosopher and quadriplegic
Randy Rockney is pediatrician in Rhode Island. His chronicle of cellulitis is well worth reading.
"I hadn’t expected to become a patient so soon. Having witnessed my 85 year-old father’s many medical adventures and misadventures, I didn’t look forward to my own illnesses, that time when, as stated in novels or biographies, “his health began to fail.” That was a long way off for me, I hoped, but then, when did my father first become a patient? Wasn’t it around his early fifties, my age now?..."
Many of us are doctors, but almost all will become patients at some time. This fine piece chronicles those unwelcome, but inevitable, rites of passage. To read in full: Download Rockney.pdf
With comments or questions, please contact Randy at: RR
"Whether by birth, by disease, by accident or by war, whether you ski or whether you ride, one board or two, two legs or one, sit-down, stand-up, with or without sight it is our magic carpet ride, -----we all glide over frozen, sparkling crystals for the same reason, to be transported into another world, a place where the crippled dance, the lame walk and the blind see, where we may all, each and everyone, no one left behind, all together, mount up with wings like eagles and join the dance which has no end.” Cris Criswell, Director of the Bretton Woods Adaptive Program Cris' Bio: Download cris_criswell.pdf
Nashville artist, writer, speaker, Erin Brady Worsham has lived with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis since 1994. When she learned about the Bretton Woods Program she embraced the idea. You will be inspired by her story.
Magic Carpet by Erin Brady Worsham I’m sitting in an adaptive bi-ski at the top of Crawford’s Blaze run at the Bretton Woods Mountain Resort in New Hampshire. Across the valley I have a beautiful view of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, including the renowned Mt. Washington. What’s a girl from Nashville, Tennessee, who’s almost completely paralyzed from ALS and breathes with a ventilator and who’s never skied before in her life, doing here? Got a minute? It’s a long story … Read on: Download m_a_g_i_c_c_a_r_p_e_t.pdf
EBS is a Nashville Nashville artist, writer and speaker. A 1980 graduate of Western Kentucky University with majors in Theater and German, Worsham spent some years on the road as a professional actress. She married fellow actor Curry Worsham in 1987 and they settled in Nashville, TN. Life changed dramatically for Worsham and her husband on Sept. 7, 1994, when she received a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and was given three years to live. She was just 36. All art stopped, but not all creating! Nine months after the diagnosis, Worsham gave birth to the couple’s first and only child, Daniel. Here is a complete bio: Download erin_worsham_bio.pdf