Most helpful positive review
96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2012
When I was given the diagnosis of breast cancer last year, I shrank from 'researching' my condition on the internet, as that seemed to be too 'intellectual' and brain-based, and also I realised there would be an avalanche of information and opinion out there - too much for me to process. I wanted to nourish my emotional self and find out more about my body - what I could do to help myself get well.
Someone who had gone through the same as me a year or so before told me about this book, and I bought it. I found it immensely helpful.
Here we have a doctor, born and raised in France but working as a researcher in the United States, inadvertently discovering his own brain tumour and shocked to realise he is not treated as a doctor but as the totally passive recipient of a process of surgery, drugs, chemotherapy, etc.
When he asked what he could do to help his condition, he was told there was nothing he could do.
With his French/European cultural basis, this seemed to him to be quite wrong and he set out to research everything he could find about how his own choices and actions might improve his chances and his quality of life.
The book is therefore a humane and brave personal statement as well as a useful and highly informed guide to nutrition and self-care, and timely in its rejection of a passive or victim-like reaction to the diagnosis of cancer. It tackles full on the culture in which the food industry takes no responsibility for our health, and the medical/drugs industry takes no notice of nutrition as a means to acquire or maintain health.
With the help of this book I have changed my diet, kept up my morale, improved my daily life, and refused to be medicalised since my successful surgery. I am not a Luddite against medicines when they are needed, but I am deeply sceptical of a colossally powerful industry in which each pharmaceutical remedy has side-effects which then require further remedies, and each toxic treatment produces more and more horrible and debilitating side-effects.
The author gives a comprehensive reference section, including the famous 'China Syndrome' study and in fact I gave my first copy to my surgeon - I am not sure he read it, but it was my opportunity to try to change the working of the great panjandrum of modern medicine, which has become a 'sickness' service rather than a health service.
So far, I am well and would not have done anything different if I was in the same position again. For me, this book is an uplifting guide to anyone seeking an intelligent response to the dreaded diagnosis. I see it received a very good review from the Daily Mail when it was first published. It's all too easy to become part of the great sausage-machine of cancer treatment - 'cut, burn and poison' they call it (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy). Meanwhile, our bodies are totally miraculous in their ability to self-regulate and heal - and anything we can do to understand what we can do to help is a good thing.
As an example: We have a diet high in dairy foods - and we are the only animal which continues to eat milk or milk products after infancy and using milk from other species, particularly cows. As a breast-cancer patient, for me, this relationship with milk has taken on a new focus. If you are eating beef or dairy products from cows fed on corn or soya instead of grass, you should know that their bodies are severely stressed on that (for them) un-natural diet, so their balance of omega-3, 6, 9 etc is wrong, and we are therefore taking in a food which is out of balance too. You can avoid that by eating only grass-fed beef products, or changing to (say) goats' milk because the farm diet of goats is less stressful to them, or avoiding beef and cow-dairy products.
The author writes lyrically about how cows were/are raised in his native Normandy - something I have seen for myself, where the animals are treated with respect and affection, and the milk, butter and cheeses produced there are works of art as much as anything else, in the artisan food sector.
I really do recommend this book. I have bought a new copy for myself and use it for browsing and for self-renewal. It has helped me out of any kind of victim-state I might have fallen into. People remarked on how resilient I was in my response to the diagnosis and treatment I had, and how well I look. This book is in large part responsible. It showed me how I could take a really active part in my own recovery, and gave me confidence when going to see my doctors and questioning them about their recommended treatments.