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Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer

Susan Gubar

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Description

A 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"Staggering, searing…Ms. Gubar deserves the highest admiration for her bravery and honesty."—New York Times
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, Susan Gubar underwent radical debulking surgery, an attempt to excise the cancer by removing part or all of many organs in the lower abdomen. Her memoir mines the deepest levels of anguish and devotion as she struggles to come to terms with her body’s betrayal and the frightful protocols of contemporary medicine. She finds solace in the abiding love of her husband, children, and friends while she searches for understanding in works of literature, visual art, and the testimonies of others who suffer with various forms of cancer.

Ovarian cancer remains an incurable disease for most of those diagnosed, even those lucky enough to find caring and skilled physicians. Memoir of a Debulked Woman is both a polemic against the ineffectual and injurious medical responses to which thousands of women are subjected and a meditation on the gifts of companionship, art, and literature that sustain people in need.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 05, 2012 – Feminist author and scholar Gubar received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2008, and the then 63-year-old author underwent the radical surgical procedure called debulking, which removes many of the organs in a woman’s lower abdomen. Gubar’s memoir is not easy reading. She recounts in detail the grotesque procedures and the horrendous pain and humiliation she endured. The author ponders why major advances have mounted up for the treatment of breast cancer, but little has changed in treating ovarian cancer. Gubar weaves her personal story into a discussion of art, literature, and statements from other cancer patients. The author recounts the strength and care she received from family and friends, especially her husband, from her diagnosis through treatment to remission. She then finds herself confronted with a choice. “Either I have a third abdominal surgery that comes with its own complications or I suffer from infections preventing future therapies that would extend my life.” Gubar wrote her memoir for one reason: “my central motive consists of a fierce belief that something must be done to rectify the miserable inadequacies of current medical responses to ovarian cancer.” Gubar’s passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women’s health care in America.

Customer Reviews

Susan Gubar's insights are amazing

As a cancer survivor (breast and ovarian) I was very moved by this memoir and all the insightful literary references. It definitely enhances our knowledge of this disease and the women who are suddenly thrust into a bewildering medical abyss. An early symptom that is overlooked and the one that got me moving is the fact that sometimes you can actually feel the growing tumor in the lower abdomen or groin...a simple X-ray ordered by an internist could reveal the mass as it did for me. My internist referred me to an excellent surgeon/gynecologist/oncologist who was kind enough to see me immediately and schedule surgery within a week...time is critical...don't hesitate to seek help.

Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings