My Own Medicine by Geoffrey Kurland, MD

Reviewed by Walt Pierson

     I found this book among some new titles at the library. It is about a long distance runner that overcomes a serious illness. My favorite genre for reading is first person adventures which made the book even more appealing. The author in his early forties was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. This came at a bad time for him as he was preparing to run in the Western States 100, a one hundred mile race.
     After various consultations he was referred to the Mayo Clinic, where coincidentally his father is a doctor involved in research. The narrative winds its way through various departments at Mayo. The trek was well greased and the author did not spend much time in waiting rooms. The treatments are detailed in an interesting manner.
    His recovery is explored on detail. He eventually returned to his practice at a west coast hospital. Through all of this he had a true love that spent time with him both at the hospital and during his recovery. At this same time he was considering taking a new position in Pittsburgh, PA. He eventually did relocate to Pittsburgh. He volunteered as a doctor at the Western States 100.
     When the book ended the reader was left dangling. I wondered if he ever did run the 100 and what became of the long distance and long suffering girlfriend. I had never written to an author and decided to try and send him a letter. I recalled that he was a specialist in children’s pulmonary problems and that he was probably in Pittsburgh. On the web site for Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital his name popped up. I sent off a letter in which I asked the two questions. Within a week a reply arrived from Dr. Kurkland.
     He had been able to run and complete the race where he still serves as a volunteer physician. On the matter of the girlfriend he said “I met my wife after the events of the book had taken place?.
    This book is a good read. It is a story of courage and persistence. It was reminiscent of Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike.

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