It is a situation we all fear and none of us can imagine: a life-threatening diagnosis. But what if the person receiving the diagnosis--young, physically fit, poised for a bright future--is himself a doctor?
At thirty-one David biro has just completed his residency and joined his father's successful dermatology practice. Struck with a rare blood disease that eventually necessitates a bone marrow transplant, Biro relates with honesty and courage the story of his most transforming journey. He is forthright about the advantages that his status as a physician may have afforded him; and yet no such advantage can protect him from the anxiety and doubt brought on by his debilitating therapies. The pressures that Biro's wild "one hundred days" brings to bear on his heretofore well-established identity as a caregiver are enormous--as is the power of this riveting story of survival.
Just as he was hitting his stride as a successful dermatologist, Biro became what physicians call a "zebra"--someone with a rare disease--at age 31. Diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a blood disease that afflicts only one in a million people and, if untreated, is often fatal, he elected to have a bone-marrow transplant. In clear, compelling prose, the author describes what it felt like to undergo the dangerous procedure, to be hospitalized in isolation for eight weeks at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, to deliberately destroy his immune system with radiation and chemotherapy, to have bone marrow transplanted from a healthy donor, and finally to endure the agonizingly slow, painful and depressing period of recovery. Mingled with the author's absorbing account of the transplant is an affecting portrait of the precarious family dynamics resulting from his illness. Daniella, his wife, a busy fashion industry executive, loved and assisted Biro throughout his ordeal, but felt a deep resentment of his parents and three sisters that surfaced as Biro's family intervened in caring for and supporting him. While Biro's youngest sister became the marrow donor, and his mother cooked, shopped and did the necessary cleaning to keep his apartment germ free after he returned home, Daniella maintained a cool if not hostile posture toward them that pained her vulnerable mate. Although Biro relates that his experience transformed him from an extremely self-confident individual to a man riddled with anxiety and insecurity, he believes that having been a seriously ill patient made him a more tolerant physician. Agent, Julie Merberg. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.