Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Enjoy Every Sandwich (Lee Lipsenthal)

Title: Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living each day as if it were your last
Author: Lee Lipsenthal, M.D.
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Pages: 195
Source: The publisher sent me a copy
Genre: Memoir
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In July 2009 Lee Lipsenthal was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. As medical director of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, Lee helped thousands of patients overcome their fears of death and pain while struggling with disease. Now his beliefs are tested as he journeys through his diagnosis, illness and treatment with his wife and two children.

When I first heard about this book I had an assumption that it was about the way in which Lee found acceptance of dying after he is diagnosed with cancer. This turned out to be a small misconception as through his work he already had many methods of dealing with fear of dying, anxiety and life events that were simply put through their greatest test when he was diagnosed. He was already heavily into meditation and holistic healing and tried every day to live a life of gratitude and love which helped him to deal with his diagnosis.
"I hope it will open the door for you to embrace your humanity, accept uncertainty, and live a life of gratitude whether you are facing the end now or not."
The books seemed to have two types of chapters. There were the more personal chapters around his illness where he described his diagnosis and the way in which he and his family reacted and felt about his illness along with chapters about dealing with anxiety and depression earlier in his life and I enjoyed reading these chapters for their personal insight and their very open and honest content.

Then there were other chapters that dealt very heavily with the spiritualistic life and methods that Lee believed so heavily in. I did not enjoy these chapters as much as i find it very hard to relate to these kinds of things. There were many different aspects from learning about past lives, the healing power of meditation, shamanic techniques and premonitions that I just simply didn't enjoy reading about as much. I also found these chapters difficult because a lot of the holistic techniques were described in detail from a medical research point of view which meant that many parts felt a lot less personal.

Every now and then a great little snippet would pop though like this one which I found very insightful
"...'today should be a good day to die.' This is a Native American expression sometimes used in battle. Today I die for a good cause but it also can mean that if each of our days is lived fully, without remorse, with love and service, any day is a good day to die."
It is an incredibly short read. I finished it in a couple of hours over the space of a day reading it on the bus to work and later that night. I think overall it is really well written and had a couple of interesting parts but as a whole it simply wasn't my kind of thing. However last night at book club I had a friend who is very interested in reading it as she is a lot more open and interested in spirituality so I think it would be a really good book for a particular kind of person. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me.

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