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Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny Paperback – 6 Jan 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; New edition edition (6 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743206800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743206808
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Michael Gearin-Tosh is a fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford University where he teaches English Literature, is a founder director of the Oxford School of Drama and a visiting professor in the Overseas Department of Stanford University.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have had this on my bookshelf, unread, for some time but as one of my sisters was recently diagnosed with cancer I decided it was time to take it down and read it. As it happens the myeloma that Gearin-Tosh had and which eventually killed him is entirely different to the sort of cancer my sister has, but nevertheless I found much to interest me in this book.

First of all, the policy of "gradual disclosure" practised by the medical profession where they drip-feed you (sorry about all the medical puns) information and tend to give you the best-case scenario without necessarily informing you of the options. Second, the policy of rushing you into treatment using chemotherapy and radiotherapy which is not necessarily going to be the best or only solution. Thirdly, the slightly bullying attitude (and bullying is a word Gearin-Tosh actually uses) that some doctors adopt.

Gearin-Tosh, as a highly intelligent man, decides to take time to weigh up the alternatives and to find out as much as he can about his disease before doing anything at all despite the anguish this causes in those nearest to him. He rejects chemotherapy and embarks on a course of combined alternative therapies which miraculously work for him and keep him alive for more than ten years after his initial diagnosis when he was given two years at most. This, by anyone's measure of success, is an incredible achievement.

I also read some time ago John Diamond's account of his cancer and the orthodox treatment he chose to follow in "C: Because Cowards get Cancer too". He utterly rejected what he called (in a follow-up book) Snake Oil treatments regarding all alternative therapies as mumbo-jumbo, or at least beyond rational understanding and therefore not valid.
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Format: Hardcover
On the day this book was published I heard the author speaking on the radio and I wanted to find out more about his struggle for life. Michael Gearin-Tosh is a literary Oxford Don who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1994. Instead of having the standard chemotherapy (as recommended) he eventually devised for himself a program of therapies based on different theories. His approach included diet therapy, a lot of vitamins and trace elements, coffee enemas, Chinese breathing and visualisation exercises and acupuncture. After 7 years he is still alive and stable, although the myeloma is still present. It is possible that this could have happened anyway, but at diagnosis his expected prognosis was 6-9 months without treatment.
I found it both easy and compelling to read. As a nurse I find it of immense benefit to me to see a thinking man's experience of medical treatment. I was intrigued to see how he analyses the words and language that Drs use in medical consultations and journals to expose hidden meaning beneath it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about life experiences and choices.
The book also includes an essay by Michael Gearin-Tosh about how people's temperment and attitudes to treatment can affect how well they do when treated, and a fairly technical case history of his illness.
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Format: Paperback
I've just finished this book in a matter of hours. This is a must read for any cancer patient or carer, particularly those affected by Myeloma. Living Proof offers an incredible insight into the life of a very brave and intelligent man. It maybe doesn't offer the miracle cure or breakthrough we are all looking for, but definately gives food for thought on the benefits of diet and supplements. It also offers far more information on Myeloma than you will ever glean from a consultant. It can potentially be a heavy read, particularly when using medical terminology, but a very interesting read all the same.
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Format: Hardcover
When you are diagnosed with cancer, most "conventional" doctors will urge you to start chemotherapy (or similar treatment) at once. That's what happened to the author of this book as well. However, he choose to ask for a second, a third opinion (etc) and soon found out that for his cancer chemotherapy wouldn't heal him or that others, such as Prosessor Wynder thought "If he touches chemotherapy, he's a goner." (most patients take the doctor's advice and find only later, through a process of gradual disclosure, that doctors can't prove chemotherapy really helps.)
Basically, this patient took the approach you would expect a skeptic to take, but even if you look at this case from a perspective of Evidence Based Medicine and look at the survival rates, I do agree that chemotherapy doesn't appear to be the "appealing" approach. Unfortunately, most people that "preach" skepticism are only skeptic with regards to things that are called "alternative" and do not take this healthy skeptic approach when it comes to "respected sciences" such as conventional medicine.
This book shows (again) that medicine should take a more integral perspective when thinking about healing and that more research is needed for alternative treatments. But then, what do you expect from a medical community where even psychology is considered "unscientific" and with little of no interest for doctors.
I would have loved that my father would have read this and related books before letting chemotherapy kill him. I keep wondering what his fate would have been if he had studied the medical research as Michael did and would have considered alternatives or complements to his unsuccessful treatment.
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