To doctors, cancer means cells growing out of control; to patients, cancer means a life spinning out of control. Janet R. Gilsdorf, who writes with quiet but devastating honesty about her experience with breast cancer, offers an eye-opening glimpse, through her unique dual perspective as physician and patient, of both sides of the medical divide.
The medical system delivers cures, answers, and relief from pain to those who seek its help, but it can also offer misinformation, shattered expectations, horrible options, and inhumane consideration of the people it is supposed to serve. As Gilsdorf takes us on a journey across the terrifying landscape of cancer, she discovers that there are oases of unfathomable beauty to be found.
Inside/Outside is compelling, sometimes scary, reading as it puts us inside Gilsdorf's skin. It ponders a vast array of profound choices most of us will be confronted with in our lives: thinking versus feeling, knowing versus not knowing, hanging on versus letting go, loving versus hating, and the immeasurable territories of life between the poles. Even as it touches on these universal human themes, ultimately Inside/Outside is a story of one person's courage, hope, and survival in the face of terrifying odds.
"Janet Gilsdorf, who is both physician and patient, writes brilliantly about both those roles as she deals with cancer."
---Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country and The Tennis Partner
"Janet Gilsdorf recounts in vivid detail what happens when a woman physician faces breast cancer, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Told in a stream of consciousness style, Inside/Outside bears witness to Gilsdorf's emotional and physical trials, her personal hurdles, and her increasing sense of self-discovery. This book offers a different perspective on the breast cancer journey."
---Harmon J. Eyre, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society
"Inside/Outside recounts the cancer journey of a physician/epidemiologist---as vivid and clinical as it is human, vulnerable, and inspiring. It will enrich both patient---and physician---readers."
---Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D., Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, The George Washington University; Founding President, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship; and author of Vital Signs: A Young Doctor's Struggle with Cancer
Janet R. Gilsdorf, M.D., is Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical School, and Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, at the University of Michigan. She is also Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Mott Children's Hospital; Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology in Pediatrics Training Program; and Director of the Haemophilus influenzae Research Laboratory.
Cover photograph © Lin Zhang Jones