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The Measure of Our Days

About the Book

The Measure of Our Days

Jerome Groopman's The Measure of Our Days is about what we can learn about living from the experience of severe catastrophic illness. Dr. Groopman has gained a rare understanding of the value of confronting one's mortality, both for the person who is ill and for his or her loved ones. The eight patients he profiles vary widely in their personalities and in their illnesses, yet each of them ultimately demonstrate heroism, strength, and the power to alter their lives no matter what their prognosis.

These tales of illness also illuminate the physician's role as healer, confessor, teacher, and friend. Dr. Groopman is an accomplished and thoughtful physician, one who is willing to engage in relationships with his patients that transcend office visits and hospital rounds. Still, it is the patient who wages the real battle against illness, and Groopman shows us how each of his patients develops his or her own combat strategy: Kirk, the venture capitalist, approaches his cancer as aggressively as he would pursue a risky investment; Debbie, a follower of New Age philosophies, turns to the Tao for treatment; Alex, a Swiss architect, draws strength from the devotion of his partner; and Elliott takes comfort in a "gut" feeling that he will survive a dangerous bone marrow transplant. Some of Groopman's patients lose their fight with death, but the resources they develop during their ordeals greatly enhance the remainder of their lives and the lives of those who love them.

The phrase "the measure of our days" comes from a Psalm of David and suggests the limit of our time on earth. To the uninitiated, it may seem that patients undergoing treatment for life-threatening illness measure their lives in doses of medicine, amounts of radiation, months between treatments, odds for survival. In fact, though, these eight portraits show that with guidance from physicians like Groopman, days lived in the shadow of death can be characterized by the counting of blessings.

The Measure of Our Days
by Jerome Groopman, M.D.

  • Publication Date: October 1, 1998
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 014026972X
  • ISBN-13: 9780140269727