illness

Most of us prefer to talk about anything other than death or, at best, talk about it euphemistically. While death is inevitable, only 10-20% of us die without warning and so most of us, if we choose, can prepare for it.

"A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death" was written to help readers feel more in control of an experience that so often seems anything but controllable. B.J. Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger join us.

For seven years, journalist and New Yorker writer Eliza Griswold reported and wrote the story of how fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale forever altered the lives of Stacey Haney, her daughter, Paige and her son, Harley. Griswold’s book, “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” just received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Having an illness or a disability is stressful. It brings up lots of negative emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety. It's easy to get caught up in, or commiserate around, these feelings. But study after study shows that stress is detrimental to the body and mind. Physically, it weakens the immune system and is connected to a host of illnesses. Mentally, stress breeds more stress, making it debilitating and contagious.

For someone living with a disease or disability, stress and negative energy can further compromise health and impact relationships with those most important – families, friends, and caretakers. Because of this, Beyond My Battle focuses on helping people with diseases and disabilities get to the root of their stress so they can better detect, manage, and reduce it.

Beyond My Battle is a not-for-profit organization founded by Martel Catalano and Nell Pritchard in 2016. “Beyond My Battle: Art with Heart & Hope” is an exhibition celebrating the healing power of art for those with illnesses, disabilities, and caretakers. The event will take place on May 9 from 6-9 p.m. at Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Jonathan M. Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. He is the author of several books and a prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been serving a unique, and vital, role in helping strengthen and empower children battling critical illnesses since 1980.

The original wish-granters Kay and Tommy Austin will be special guests at the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York Gala on March 23 at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs, New York. The event will focus on the mission of the local organization, with Wish Kids and families in attendance to share their stories, and the Austins will represent Wish Granters, the volunteers vital to turning wishes into actual experiences.

We are joined by Tommy Austin and CEO of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, William C. Trigg, III.

To be alive is to be in perpetual metamorphosis: growing, healing, learning, aging. In "Shapeshifters," physician and writer Gavin Francis considers the inevitable changes all of our bodies undergo such as birth, puberty, and death, but also laughter, sleeping, and healing; and those that only some of our bodies will like getting a tattoo, experiencing psychosis, suffering anorexia, being pregnant, or undergoing a gender transition.

Gavin Francis is a physician and the award-winning author of four books, including "Adventures in Human Being," "Empire Antarctica;" and "True North."

Christie Watson was a registered nurse for twenty years before writing full time. Her first novel, "Tiny Sunbirds Far Away," won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, "Where Women Are Kings," was also published to international critical acclaim.

In "The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story," she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. She takes us by her side down hospital corridors to visit the wards and meet her unforgettable patients.

World-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg’s new memoir, “Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home” shares her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen. It is a reflection on being in love with your life even when life brings illness.

Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collection "The Empathy Exams," a New York Times bestseller, and the novel "The Gin Closet," a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the Oxford American, among others, and she is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review. She teaches at Columbia University.

Leslie Jamison's new book "The Recovering" turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Jamison excavates the stories we tell about addiction, both her own and others' -- and examines what we want these stories to do and what happens when they fail us.

Susan Meissner is the acclaimed author of "Secrets of a Charmed Life" and "A Bridge Across the Ocean." Her new novel, "As Bright as Heaven," is set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.

"As Bright as Heaven" is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist.

For many today, retirement and the leisure said to accompany it have become vestiges of a slower, long‑lost time. In a world where the sense of identity is tied to work and careers, to stop working often is to become nobody.

In this "Last Works: Lessons in Leaving," Mark C. Taylor explores the final reflections of writers and thinkers from Kierkegaard to David Foster Wallace. How did they either face or avoid ending and leaving? What do their lessons in ending teach us about living in the time that remains for us?

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion at Columbia University and a frequent contributor to the New York Times and NPR.

Dr. Atul Gawande helped transform the conversation about aging and death in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Prescription drug use in America has increased tenfold in the past 50 years, and over-the-counter drug use has risen just as dramatically. 

 In addition to the dozens of medications we take to treat serious illnesses, we take drugs to help us sleep, to keep us awake, to keep our noses from running, our backs from aching, and our minds from racing. Name a symptom, there's a pill to suppress it. In Mind over Meds, bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil alerts readers to the problem of overmedication.

The prospect of entering treatment is overwhelming for anyone facing a diagnosis of cancer. While patients have access to a vast amount of medical information online, this advice is often unreliable or confusing. In their new book, Living with Cancer, Drs. Vicki Jackson and David Ryan have crafted a step-by-step guide aimed at helping people grasp what’s happening to them while coping physically and emotionally with cancer treatment. 

The book is designed to be a resource full of patient stories, teaching patients and caregivers how to ask the right questions to get the best possible care - beginning at the moment of diagnosis. They also explain how to work with a team of doctors and nurse practitioners to minimize symptoms and side effects while living as fully as possible in the face of cancer.

Sophie Sabbage was forty-eight years old, happily married, and mother to a four-year-old daughter when she was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Since that shocking diagnosis, she has been on a remarkable journey of healing and renewal that has reshaped her life—for the better. 

The Cancer Whisperer chronicles Sophie’s extraordinary relationship with cancer and the very effective methods she has used for dealing with her fear, anger, denial, and grief.

It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctor have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet, the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker, or just plain crazy.
 
In Is It All in Your Head?: True Stories of Imaginary Illness, Suzanne O'Sullivan, MD, takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness.

  Death is something we all confront ― it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.

We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?

In Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living, Brandy Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers.

  Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family.
  
Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda’s illness—called primary progressive aphasia—from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day.

  Experts in end-of-life care tell us that we should talk about death and dying with relatives and friends, but how do we get such conversations off the ground in a society that historically has avoided the topic?

In Let's Talk About Death: Asking the Questions that Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die, Steve Gordon and Irene Kacandes share the results of a no-holds-barred discussion they conducted for several years over email.

  Vassar grad Sophie McManus' sharply written, funny and heart-breaking debut The Unfortunates, is a story of inheritance, influence, class and power.

She will read from a sign the book at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, NY tonight at 7p.m.