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Kent State University Press
Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies

Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies

by Sayantani DasGupta, Marsha Hurst
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A collection of women’s illness narratives

Stories of Illness and Healing is the first collection to place the voices of women experiencing illness alongside analytical writing from prominent scholars in the field of narrative medicine. The collection includes a variety of women’s illness narratives—poetry, essays, short fiction, short drama, analyses, and transcribed oral testimonies—as well as traditional analytic essays about themes and issues raised by the narratives. Stories of Illness and Healing bridges the artificial divide between women’s lives and scholarship in gender, health, and medicine.

The authors of these narratives are diverse in age, ethnicity, family situation, sexual orientation, and economic status. They are doctors, patients, spouses, mothers, daughters, activists, writers, educators, and performers. The narratives serve to acknowledge that women’s illness experiences are more than their diseases, that they encompass their entire lives. The pages of this book echo with personal accounts of illness, diagnosis, and treatment. They reflect the social constructions of women’s bodies, their experiences of sexuality and reproduction, and their roles as professional and family caregivers. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Stories of Illness and Healing draws the connection between women’s suffering and advocacy for women’s lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780873389167
Publisher: Kent State University Press
Publication date: 09/04/2007
Series: Literature and Medicine Ser.
Pages: 329
Sales rank: 1,068,072
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sayantani DasGupta, MD, MPH, is a faculty member in the Division of General Pediatrics and the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She teaches courses on illness narratives and narrative genetics at Sarah Lawrence College and is a prose faculty member in an intensive summer seminar on “Writing the Medical Experience.” She is the coauthor of The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales and author of a memoir of her time at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Her Own Medicine: A Woman’s Journey from Student to Doctor.

Marsha Hurst, PhD, is director of the Health Advocacy master’s program at Sarah Lawrence College, where she teaches courses on the history of health care and women’s health. She writes and speaks on ethics and advocacy in health care, women’s health, and advocacy education. She works with patient advocacy organizations, with individual, professional, and lay advocates, with policy advocates, and with community-based advocacy programs. She is a cosponsor at Sarah Lawrence of “Writing the Medical Experience” and has been involved in research and program development around the importance of narrative in advocacy.

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
The Gendered Nature of Illness   Sayantani Dasgupta   Marsha Hurst     1
The History of Women's Illness Narratives: Private Relationships, Public Voices   Marsha Hurst   Sayantani Dasgupta     8
Narratives of Body and Self: The Experience of Illness     17
Faith   Laurie Stroblas     21
The Female Voice in Illness: An Antidote to Alienation, a Call for Connection   Patricia Stanley     22
Dissection   Robyn Desantis Ringler     31
Storm Warning   Angelee Deodhar     34
The Listening Room   Lara Birk     35
My So-Called Lungs   Laura Rothenberg     39
Nuts   Xan L. Roberti     45
Crazy for Life: A True Story about Living with Mental Illness   Victoria Maxwell     47
Casing the Joints: A Story of Arthritis   Mary Felstiner     55
Narratives of Diagnosis and Treatment: Relationships to the Medical Community     63
The Negative Privilege of Women's Illness Narratives   Arthur Frank     67
Stereotactic Biopsy   Amy Haddad     74
What If They Said?   Amy Haddad     76
AllPatients Are Political Women   Jasmina Tesanovic     77
Waiting for a Transplant: A Meditation   Marcy Perlman Tardio     84
Pathology Report   Veneta Masson     87
I'll Take Care of It   Ian Feldman     88
White Coat Syndrome   Rebecca A. Pope     90
Hospital Haiku   Fran Bartkowski     97
Give my regrets   Diane Driedger     98
Doctor Patel Comes to Tea   Muriel Murch     99
Narratives of Womanhood: Social Constructions of Body, Sexuality, and Reproduction     107
The Placenta, the Pancake: Metaphor in Medicine   Anne Wenzel     111
Anorexia   Cortney Davis     117
My Brown Daughter Wants to Know   Dawn McGuire     118
Adventures of Amelia   Andrea Nicki     120
The Bag   Edith Wypler Swire     123
Distant Scars   Marissa Bois     125
Hair Matters   Regina Arnold     127
Symmetrical Breasts   Maureen Tolman Flannery     129
A Dream of Living Coal   Maureen Tolman Flannery     130
Ovary   Bushra Rehmah      131
So You're Going to Have a New Body   Lynne Sharon Schwartz     133
Watching the Laparoscopy   Joan Baranow     146
Follicles   Joan Baranow     148
Choose   Elissa Meites     149
Narratives of Family Life and Caregiving     157
Space and Absence in Muscular Dystrophy   Penny Wolfson     161
Remembering Dan: Excerpts from My Journal   Joan Milano     168
And Then She Died   Maggie Hoffman     172
Vigils, III   Donna Henderson     177
My Mother Is Cleaning   Gail Rosen     179
In the Dream   Lyn Lifshin     180
Blister   Suzanne E. W. Gray     181
Silver   Jennie Panchy     190
Pure and Predictable   Patricia Dunn     192
In the Bosom of the Family: Reflections on Families and Breast Cancer   Janet Reibstein     195
Narratives of Professional Life and Illness     201
It Is August 24th   Cortney Davis     205
Becoming Flora: When the Narrative Is Our Own   Cortney Davis     207
Doppelganger   Anne Webster     215
The Particulars   Fern W. Cohen     216
Eight Hours   Angelee Deodhar     223
My Body, My Self   C. Sebastian     224
A Front-Row Seat   Rachel Naomi Remen     230
Leave of Absence   Kate A. Scannell     232
Narratives of Advocacy: From the Personal to the Political     237
Night Shift   Carol Levine     241
Sometimes Cancer Just Happens   Judith Nadell     247
A Case of Exhaustion   Marja Morskieft     253
The Intersection of Illness, Personality, Culture, and Social Services   Sucheng Chan     257
Happiness in Quotation Marks   Sunita Puri     261
Narratives of Advocacy: Activism, Education, and Political Change     267
Narratives and Advocacy: A Gendered Connection   Marsha Hurst   Sayantani Dasgupta     271
Stories from the Inside   Kathy Boudin     279
Prisoner Stories: Suffering and Death   Nancy E. Stoller     284
Surviving but Not Quite Thriving: Women's Mental Health in East Harlem   Cheryl Harris Sharman     289
Teaching about Care at the End of Life Using Creative Nonfiction Monologues   Laurie Rosenblatt      294
Narrative House Calls and Cultural Memory: Communities of Women, Communities of Presence   Rita Charon     300
Contributors     315
Permissions and Acknowledgments     324
Index     326

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