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In search of the sun. Peter Schur Henrietta Aladjem. New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1988. 265 pp. 12.95 hard-back 9.95 paperback

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a psychologist, takes pains not to cause undue alarm,
reminding readers that no one patient has all the symptoms
listed and that emotional reactions also vary. Other sections
of the book discuss emotional reactions (e.g., depression,
anger, guilt, and fear), changes in general lifestyle (resulting
from physical symptoms, pain, medication), interactions
with others (family, friends, and physicians, and sexual
relationships), and pregnancy. The special problems encountered by those who live with a lupus patient, and the
problems of the child o r adolescent with lupus, are also
described. The issues are reinforced and highlighted by
examples taken from lives of patients, a device that enhances the book’s readability.
The book is replete with concrete suggestions that
patients should find useful, particularly patients with newly
diagnosed lupus who need basic information. When discussing anger, for example, Dr. Phillips identifies different types,
describes the effects of anger on the body and mind, and
suggests ways to cope with this emotion.
Dr. Phillips responds creatively to the special problems of lupus patients. A good outlet for releasing the energy
that results from anger, he contends, is physical activity; yet
he acknowledges that patients may be too fatigued to depend
much on this approach. Watching a sporting event or a
violent or emotional movie, or reading a thriller allows
identification with characters and indirect release of the
emotional energy.
Dr. Phillips has written an excellent guidebook,
which has most of the strengths and weaknesses of books of
that genre. However, such books can suggest subtly that
change can be fairly easy and fast, a seductive notion in our
culture, but one that is untrue. Enduring change, emotional
or behavioral, is often very difficult. The fears, sorrows, and
angers that sick people experience are often deep-seated and
potential treatments. The book carefully details visits to
physicians, and therefore, has much useful medical information. The doctor-patient relationship is addressed in depth,
and a dialogue between Dr. Schur and Ms. Aladjem illustrates that theme nicely. That Ms. Aladjem harnessed the
energy which returned after her lupus remitted to help found
the Lupus Foundation is testimony to her understanding that
an important aspect of healing is the ability to reach out to
Dr. Schur’s informative comments are interspersed
between Ms. Aladjem’s chapters. His writing is concise and
readable (medical terms are defined in a glossary). Dr. Schur
speaks from a physician’s point of view-but with an understanding of the patient’s view-about a variety of patient
concerns, including fatigue, sun sensitivity, the need for
consultation, tests, and hospitalization, therapy, and emotional healing. In the final section of the book, he answers
common questions that haven’t been addressed elsewhere in
the text.
In Search of the Sun presents patients with a unique
opportunity to read what goes on in a physician’s mind when
he or she hears a patient’s story, and is a refreshing gift to
patients who want precise medical information. Dr. Schur’s
section is written at a level that allows rheumatologists to
appropriately recommend the book to internists and family
Physicians who believe the human relationship is as
important as the pharmacopeia in helping patients cope with
systemic lupus erythematosus will also want to read the
personal experience stories. Patients are more likely to trust
and adhere to medical treatments prescribed by physicians
who they believe understand how an illness affects their
lives. Physicians (and other health care providers) in training
would also benefit from reading, discussing, and comprehending the many health care issues presented.
In Search of the Sun. Peter Schur, Henrietta Aladjem. New
York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988. 265 p p . $12.95 hardback, $9.95 paperback.
Patients will find all 3 of these books well worth
reading. Each is valuable as a reference work, and all are
useful to patients with illnesses other than lupus.
In Search of the Sun is authored by Dr. Peter Schur
and Ms. Henrietta Aladjem, a founder of the Lupus Foundation of America. Since both have seen, talked to, and
corresponded with hundreds of lupus patients, the book
reflects their individual experiences.
Ms. Aladjem’s portion is a well-written, sophisticated, yet accessible story that describes the dramatic effects of lupus on her daily life, marriage, and family. Her first
symptoms appeared in 1953, so the time period covered is
the 1950s and 1960s. The story was first published in 1972, as
The Sun is My Enemy. It has become a classic, creating a
standard by which other patient accounts are measured.
Despite consultation with a series of physicians, Ms.
Aladjem’s disease went undiagnosed for 3 years, so the book
should be of particular comfort to patients who have undergone that agony. A person of great fortitude and will, Ms.
Aladjem did not succumb to apathy or lose hope. She
managed, instead, to tap an inner resolve that enabled her to
create a meaningful life. Despite inordinate fatigue, she
traveled to Switzerland and her native Bulgaria in search of
Robert B. Zurier, MD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, MA
Living With It: Why You Don’t Have to be Healthy to be
Happy. Suzy Szasz. Buffalo, Prometheus Books, 1991. 283
pages. $22.95.
Suzy Szasz has had active systemic lupus erythematosus for most of her life. In 1968, when she was 15, the
disease began with sun sensitivity, arthralgia, fatigue, and
nephrotic syndrome. It was brought under control with
prednisone and cyclophosphamide, and she did well with the
prednisone and other medications for 14 years. Then, in
1983, she nearly died from a flare of systemic symptoms and
thrombocytopenia, which necessitated a splenectomy. Soon
after, she began having repetitive, steroid-induced vertebral
fractures, which left her with short stature and chronic pain,
and dependent on the use of back braces.
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265, search, paperback, sun, schur, 1988, charles, henrietta, sons, new, scribner, aladjem, york, back, peter, hard
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