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Enjoy Every Sandwich

Cover of Enjoy Every Sandwich

Enjoy Every Sandwich

Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last
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This book is a culmination of what I've learned. I hope it will open the door for you to embrace your humanity, accept uncertainty, and live a life of gratitude. --from Enjoy Every Sandwich As medical...
This book is a culmination of what I've learned. I hope it will open the door for you to embrace your humanity, accept uncertainty, and live a life of gratitude. --from Enjoy Every Sandwich As medical...
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  • This book is a culmination of what I've learned. I hope it will open the door for you to embrace your humanity, accept uncertainty, and live a life of gratitude. --from Enjoy Every Sandwich

    As medical director of the famed Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Lee Lipsenthal helped thousands of patients struggling with disease to overcome their fears of pain and death and to embrace a more joyful way of living. In his own life, happily married and the proud father of two remarkable children, Lee was similarly committed to living his life fully and gratefully each day.

    The power of those beliefs was tested in July 2009, when Lee was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. As Lee and his wife, Kathy, navigated his diagnosis, illness, and treatment, he discovered that he did not fear death, and that even as he was facing his own mortality, he felt more fully alive than ever before. In the bestselling tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie, told with humor and heart, and deeply inspiring, Enjoy Every Sandwich distills everything Lee learned about how we find meaning, purpose, and peace in our lives.



    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    A Life-Changing Sandwich

    On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

    -Chuck Palahniuk

    On July 19, 2009, I made myself a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. As someone who has spent much of his life trying to prevent heart disease, I hate to admit it, but there is something irresistible about the crunch of crisp, cool lettuce mixed with the sweetness of tomato and the saltiness of bacon. I sat down at our kitchen table, a 1950s classic from my grandparents, turned on the news, and began to eat. I had just finished a conference call and was still thinking about that conversation, enjoying the salty-sweet flavors, and watching television all at the same time. After two bites I felt a sudden fullness, as if the sandwich were lodged in my chest. It felt as if I had eaten a golf ball. Pressure and mild pain started to build up in my lower chest. Without thinking, I stood to get some water, and as I swallowed, the water rose up in my esophagus, almost returning to my mouth. Something was wrong. After a very uncomfortable moment, I felt the food and water flush down my throat. As a physician, I knew that the esophagus is very soft and flexible and able to handle a lot, like a balloon that has previously been blown up. Food getting stuck there was in no way normal.

    When Kathy came home that night, I told her what had happened.

    "It must be a stricture," she stated in her doctor voice. "Forty years of heartburn will do that." She was brushing it off as if it were a nonevent to avoid the more likely and concerning reality.

    I have had a hiatal hernia from birth, a condition in which the stomach can slide up into my chest, bathing my esophagus with stomach acid on a regular basis. This can cause significant damage over many years. We wanted to convince ourselves that this was the problem. So I continued in my doctor voice: "I'm sure that's all it is. I should get scoped. Who should I call?"

    Kathy suggested Tim Sowerby, a gastroenterologist in our community.

    Tim agreed to scope me the next day. Being a doctor has its perks.

    Kathy and I blissfully entered our world of denial and objective medical talk about what was happening, but below the surface we knew what we were afraid to say out loud. We denied cancer an entrance into our conversation and our lives. I was too young. The problem had just started. There's no cancer in my family. This was just a stricture.

    "It's going to be fine," Kathy said. "Tim will dilate it and you'll be as good as new. It's going to be fine."

    On the day of the endoscopy, I was a little anxious about the procedure, but I still believed that Tim would find a stricture and dilate it, and that would be all. This was the story that Kathy and I created, and I was sticking to it. I walked the two miles to Tim's office along a beautiful little creek that passes through the small valley towns of Marin County, smiling and nodding to passersby and listening to my iPod. Rock 'n' roll music has always been my constant companion, and this day was no different from any other.

    At the gastroenterology suite I joked with the nursing staff as they readied me for the procedure. A quick needle pinch, an IV line, a little fentanyl and versed, and a few minutes later I was out.

    On waking, my daughter Cheryl was there at the bedside, reassuring me with her dark, beautiful eyes and loving smile. I had no idea that the procedure was finished. I was still drugged up. I slowly arose out of my haze and waited for Tim to give me a report of his findings. He entered and showed us the photos of my esophagus. In my mind, I saw erosion, but my medical brain was turned off by...

About the Author-
  • LEE LIPSENTHAL, M.D., ABIHM, was an internist, trained in the prevention of heart disease and in integrative medicine. A popular and acclaimed speaker and author, he was the medical director of Dean Ornish's Preventive Medicine Research Institute for a decade and has also served as president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.

Reviews-
  • Edgar Dean Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut

    "Dr. Lipsenthal is a profound explorer of our inner and outer worlds. Enjoy Every Sandwich will help you heal your fear of death and embrace the true joy of life's extraordinary journey."

  • Andrew Weil, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Healthy Aging and 8 Weeks to Optimum Health "Often, patients given a terminal diagnosis reach a surprising, transforming conclusion--you have to be ready to die to embrace being alive. But Lee Lipsenthal tells his story with such intimacy and humanity that this paradoxical fact can be accessed even by those who have not (yet) leaned out over the abyss. To deny death is to deny life. Read Enjoy Every Sandwich to know why."
  • -Bernie Siegel, M.D., Author of Peace, Love & Healing, and Love, Medicine & Miracles "This book is about the lessons one learns on the journey from understanding the experience of life and all its difficulties. It contains the profound wisdom derived from the greatest teacher, our mortality. So read on and learn how to spend your life's precious time with more love and less fear."
  • Clint Eastwood "With courage and candor, Dr. Lee Lipsenthal shows us that facing death means facing life: Your own, and the lives of those around you. After his stunning diagnosis of an often-fatal cancer, Dr. Lipsenthal embarks on a journey of bravery, practicality, and humor to guide his way through the greatest of uncertainties. He allows us in, during the dark days and the brighter ones. Let Dr. Lipsenthal be your guide on a journey that, ultimately, all of us will take."
  • Rachel Naomi Remen MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings "What if you were not afraid to die? What if the universal fear that makes us small was suddenly gone and you were free? How would you live then? Lee Lipsenthal's beautiful memoir of the first 18 months of his journey with cancer reads at times as a prose poem, at times as a wisdom story and at times as an invitation to the Dance. To read it is to step through a door that opens only one way into a larger life. Of all the books you've read this year, this is the one that will heal you."
  • John Robbins, Author of Diet for a New America, Healthy at 100, "If you want to learn to love with your whole heart, so that when you come to the end of your life you will have no regrets, Lee Lipsenthal's gracious and caring book is for you. In revealing his own struggles, and doing so with remarkable transparency and responsibility, Lee has not just written a book that is filled with grounded inspiration and hard-earned wisdom. He has written a book that you will never forget."
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Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last
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