In Sickness: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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A medical emergency forces a brilliant Harvard oncologist to reveal that she has been hiding her advanced breast cancer for a decade. Her husband—also an oncologist—must set aside his anger and feelings of betrayal so that he can care for her during her final year of life.
When Jane, a world-famous Harvard oncologist, suddenly collapses at work, the medical team resuscitating her makes a shocking discovery: she has advanced breast cancer that she’s been hiding for years. The results are catastrophic. In Sickness shows how even the most rational people can be nearly destroyed by their irrational fears. Tragic, moving, and wryly funny at times, this is an unflinching portrayal of a complicated marriage and its secrets.
About the Author
Barrett Rollins is an oncologist and cancer researcher who has published over one hundred scholarly articles, chapters, and books. He is the Linde Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and was, for sixteen years, chief scientific officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Born and raised in Cleveland, he graduated from Amherst College—which also gave him an honorary Doctor of Science—and received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University where he was honored with its Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a long-time trustee of the Interlochen Center for the Arts and lives in Boston with his wife Lynn and their dogs, Skyler and Zeke.
“Dr. Barrett Rollins is an oncologist who was married to another brilliant world-renowned oncologist, Jane Weeks. But when Weeks was diagnosed with breast cancer, she hid it from him, and everyone else she loved. In this excerpt from his incredibly moving book In Sickness, Dr. Barrett Rollins looks back at why his wife kept this bleak secret—and why he then helped her keep it under wraps.”
— Katie Couric Media
“Other peoples’ marriages are often beyond comprehension, but this is an eloquent, compulsively readable account.”
"Why would a distinguished cancer doctor choose to conceal her own cancer? Her husband ponders this conundrum in a book that is by turns loving and angry, as well as disturbing, fascinating, and blisteringly honest. Its readers will think twice before keeping a secret."
— Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
"A unique story of love and commitment in the face of the shocking relevation of a spouse's hidden cancer. Told with searing honesty and authentic emotion, this book captures our mind and heart from the very first pages and shows us the depth of human resilience under extraordinary circumstances. A remarkable work that illuminates and inspires."
— Jerome Groopman MD, Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, Author, How Doctors Think
"A riveting story, unexpected and all too human, about marriage, illness, and the secrets we feel compelled to keep. It's a reminder that cancer affects the psyche just as much as it does the body."
— Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies