I’m cutting into that inviting stack of “must-read” books in my office and finally – way too late – got to e-patient Dave (Dave deBronkart’s) “Laugh, Sing and Eat Like a Pig: How an empowered patient beat Stage IV cancer (and what healthcare can learn from it).”
OK, no one ever said Dave was a man of few words.
I’ve had the chance to spend some time with Dave in person on a couple of occasions and have exchanged many emails and Tweets. But I didn’t know him at all compared with how I feel like I know him now after reading his book.
As Dave does in his story, I, in reading it swung between laughter, outrage, tears, determination, motivation and other emotions and reactions.
He was also kind enough – deep in the book on page 227 (better late than never) to include plugs for my HealthNewsReview.org project from Dr. Ted Eytan, Gilles Frydman and himself.
I was struck by something his wife said to him in the book: “Perhaps there’s a reason you got sick.” I remember saying something similar to Dave after hearing him captivate a large crowd at the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement colloquium in St. Paul last Spring. Dave writes, “I personally am not in favor of cancer as a means to ANYTHING, but it occurred to me – yeah, if life hands you lemons, why not make lemonade – for everyone?”
I could cite many excerpts but I was particularly moved by the section entitled “What’s It Gonna Take?” in which he wrote:
“I want to get back to where I was when I was sick. Isn’t that weird? But – and I’m not making this up – as I wrote this, in the background there was an episode of the TV show, ‘House,’ about a cranky doctor, and in it, a character was ticked off because his diagnosis of terminal cancer turned out to be false. ‘I’ve never been as present and alive as I was these past few months – and now you took that away from me.’ Yeah, well, you and I know nobody took anything away from him – it’s all in his mind. Mine too. So the question is, what’s it gonna take to be that present all the time, so I actually do what I say? I know from recent experience that I get a lot of joy when it goes the way I said.”
Dave has become a leading voice for empowered patients – for e-patients. Read the book to see how it all came to be. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.