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The Widening Circle [Hardcover]

Polly Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312140681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312140687
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.9 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
THE WIDENING CIRCLE: A Lyme Disease Pioneer Tells Her Story. By Polly Murray. St. Martin's Press, 321 pp., $23.95
By Ann Hirschberg
Infectious disease sleuths are supposed to be lab-coated AIDS researchers or Dustin Hoffman types in "hot zone" suits as seen in "Outbreak." A genteel, New England landscape painter and mother of four does not fit the picture. Yet this medical pioneer uncovered Lyme disease, the fastest growing infectious disease next to AIDS and the number one vector-borne disease in our country.
The "Widening Circle" in Polly Murray's title refers not only to the expanding tell-tale rash which is the sure sign of Lyme disease, but to the research that has had to reach further and further to find the answers to this insidious tick-borne scourge. The "Circle" also encompasses the incredible numbers of medical professionals to whom Lyme disease sufferers are sent by uninformed doctors who can't or won't try to treat them.
After an incredible range of symptoms and many hospital stays for pain and procedures for the whole Murray family, Polly was told the illness was "all in her head." Her doctor became furious when she approached the health department with her findings that not only her family, but a large cluster of people in her Lyme, Connecticut area were afflicted. He accused her of "stirring up trouble."
Murray's intelligence and persistence led her to more research and finally to Yale University in 1975 where her findings were considered researchable by the doctors there.
"They were spirited, like archaeologists who'd unearthed an intriguing artifact, some bit of pottery that promises even greater riches will surface with just a few more turns of the spade.
"I certainly shared their enthusiasm.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book examines a difficult and misunderstood disease 21 April 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE WIDENING CIRCLE: A Lyme Disease Pioneer Tells Her Story. By Polly Murray. St. Martin's Press, 321 pp., $23.95
By Ann Hirschberg
Infectious disease sleuths are supposed to be lab-coated AIDS researchers or Dustin Hoffman types in "hot zone" suits as seen in "Outbreak." A genteel, New England landscape painter and mother of four does not fit the picture. Yet this medical pioneer uncovered Lyme disease, the fastest growing infectious disease next to AIDS and the number one vector-borne disease in our country.
The "Widening Circle" in Polly Murray's title refers not only to the expanding tell-tale rash which is the sure sign of Lyme disease, but to the research that has had to reach further and further to find the answers to this insidious tick-borne scourge. The "Circle" also encompasses the incredible numbers of medical professionals to whom Lyme disease sufferers are sent by uninformed doctors who can't or won't try to treat them.
After an incredible range of symptoms and many hospital stays for pain and procedures for the whole Murray family, Polly was told the illness was "all in her head." Her doctor became furious when she approached the health department with her findings that not only her family, but a large cluster of people in her Lyme, Connecticut area were afflicted. He accused her of "stirring up trouble."
Murray's intelligence and persistence led her to more research and finally to Yale University in 1975 where her findings were considered researchable by the doctors there.
"They were spirited, like archaeologists who'd unearthed an intriguing artifact, some bit of pottery that promises even greater riches will surface with just a few more turns of the spade.
"I certainly shared their enthusiasm. On the other hand, I'd been "in the field" for a while, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy to figure everything out so fast. Whatever this illness was, it was complicated, in that it involved so many systems of the body, and my instincts told me it was going to elude definition for some time to come."
Twenty years later, the search should have come to a happy ending with the advance of medical technology and millions in grants for research. The definitive test for Lyme disease and the "magic bullet" treatment should have been discovered.
Sadly, there is still no conclusive, reliable test for Lyme disease. Grants are sparse and the medical archeological "spades" are turning slowly. It is known that early treatment with antibiotics can arrest the disease. Left untreated, patients face the horrific sequalae Murray and her family still endure.
Though the disease has been reported in all 50 states, most doctors are not well informed and many are still saying," You can't have that in Ohio" and "There has never been a case reported here." The Ohio Department of Health Vector-borne Disease Unit figures stand at close to 500 reported cases. Though many doctors are not reporting cases (too much paperwork), the Centers for Disease Control case numbers showed a 58% increase in the U.S. in 1994.
Polly Murray's measured journey through this painful odyssey continues. Her tenacity and reasoned clarity shine through her writing. Along the way, you get to know her wonderful family, two of whom became doctors: a heroic accomplishment, all things considered. Murray continues the search for answers and has become not just a symbol, but a dedicated educator. She addresses medical professionals and researchers, including an appearance at Case Western Reserve Medical School in Cleveland, where one son was a student in 1989.
"The Widening Circle" goes beyond a tale of medical sleuthing. Murray knows the patient's struggle with Lyme disease and the parent's anguish. This book has much well researched and first-hand information for physicians and patients. She examines the need for education, collaboration, and respect, and explains why these are required not only of researchers, but of physicians treating Lyme disease patients in order to deal with this puzzling affliction.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 21 Feb 2006
By Rolf Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this a while back and it is a good read for many reasons.

First of all, as one would expect from a book about the "discovery" of a new disease, there is mystery and intrigue that makes it hard to put down.

Secondly, the book reads as a tragedy since it is about a mother, herself sick, dealing with trying to help her sick kids. Anyone that knows about Lyme Disease knows that in far too many cases this scenario is still played out due lack of awareness as well as a to the manufactured "controversy" over Lyme Disease. With dozens of studies proving that the Lyme bacteria can persist despite treatment, and tests that are acknowleged to be inaccurate, we are living in the dark ages when it comes to this disease. The sad fact is that many are in the same situation Ms Murray was in so many decades ago.

You will cry as you read Ms Murray's book.

Finally, the book is about believing yourself and making a difference. It is about trusting yourself and standing up to those who tell you are wrong. While Ms Murray is not a physician, her "clinical observations" on this disease should be require reading for anyone treating patients. Over the years many of her "hunches" have proven to be correct. I am fairly certain that with time more of these will be proven. In particular, her observaton that subsequent tick bites serve to stengthen the disease in some way (not yet understood). I believe this observation is key to understadning why Lyme became more common in the 1980's despite the fact we now know it has been around since the ealry 1900's possibly earlier.

To me, Polly Murray is a hero, becuase she did what she had to do to help herself and her family.

A fascinating book, one that I will read again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where It All Began 7 Jan 2010
By S-bean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Polly Murray presents an incredibly well-documented, detailed account of her family's bizarre cluster of symptoms which began in the 1970s. Her style is factual and direct. A great read for any one interested in Lyme, particularly it's origins - surfacing in and around Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s. Once you've read this book, I highly recommend Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory to complete the picture.
5.0 out of 5 stars For ALL LYME DISEASE sufferers! 13 Jan 2013
By Joan Cole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been struggling with a recurrence of Lyme Disease since July, 2012. I can no longer do the things I normally would: drive, paint, walk. This book is an eye-opener for me. I've got a long, hard road ahead of me. Thank God for antibiotics and prednisone! Thank you to Polly Murray for writing this book.
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