Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia” as Want to Read:
Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  33 reviews
At the age of 49, Dr. Thomas Graboys had reached the pinnacle of his career and was leading a charmed life. A nationally renowned Boston cardiologist popular for his attention to the hearts and souls of his patients, Graboys was part of “The Cardiology Dream Team” summoned to treat Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis after he collapsed on the court in 1993. He had a beautiful ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Union Square Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Life in the Balance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Life in the Balance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 276)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This. book. sucked. I couldn't even finished it. It was extremely dry and boring.
Tiffany Larson
My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 3 years ago and its symptoms are progressing rapidly. The preface and first few chapters of this book gave me profound insight into the experience of a Parkinson's patient. I learned about specific symptoms I didn't know were part of the disease and I gained much insight into the mental distress the patient feels as the dimentia and disabilities progress. Since Parkinson's takes away the patient's ability to verbalize, family members are often ...more
I loved this honest story of what it's like to deal with dementia, told from the perspective of the person who is struggling with increasingly higher levels of dementia. For anyone who has a family member suffering from dementia, this book is eye-opening. Thanks so much to the author for sharing his story. He truly makes the struggles come alive, and helps explore family member reactions too.

The only thing that would make this story better is to spend less time talking about the author's persona
K2 -----
After seeing a friend with Parkinson's a few weeks ago I sought out this book to gain more insight into the disease. Dr. Thomas Graboys was a highly trained cardiologist whose wife had just died from cancer when began showing signs of PD. His candid book is a memoir about his disease, his family, his inner dialog as he was in denial about his disease, and his angst about going forward. It gave me many insights in the disease and made me go back to hear his interview on WBUR's show On Point http: ...more
Two starts for the writing.
One more star for the courage and strength it took to write it
Two more stars for the poem at the very end, written by Tom Graboy's wife just before she died of cancer.

A moving account of a physician's decline into Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia. It was poignant to me because my father had Lewy Body and eventually died as a result of an overdose of an anti-psychotic drig, Olanzapine, that is sometimes used to calm down the demented elderly. Dr Graboys seemed to have
This is one of the books I would most likely by-pass on my visit to the bookstores. Since none of my family members neither my friends suffer to this terrible disease I did not feel compelled to educate myself on this subject. However, I am forever in he debt to my lovely niece, Barborka, for presenting it to me as a Christmas gift.
My first thought was; do not put this book on your pile of "to read in the future", because you may never find a suitable time to read it. So I picked it up right aw
Doug Ebeling
Interesting reading for anyone with a close family member suffering from this horrible disease. It got bogged down a bit in the middle with some rather personal career stuff and I wish it had been more tightly edited. The beginning description of the author's slow discovery and acceptance of his illness, and the concluding sections where his family members describe their own feelings of loss and coping were the most helpful and most moving.
As a reader who doesn't have any idea what Parkinson's and Dementia is, this book is kind-a helpful in showing us what kind of life do people with this have.
I didn't read the entire book because it seemed like all i can read was his "list of can't to do", "how miserable he is" and so on..... I can sense big egos in almost every page.
I was about to rate 1 or 2 but when I did try to check the last part of the book, it seemed good. At least I've read something motivational phrases coming from him
Dr. Thomas Graboys was a distinguished heart doctor who seemed to have it all. He had lost his first wife to cancer but was newly married to a wonderful, smart, sexy woman and he was at the top of his profession. Then he was struck by an aggressive form of Parkinson's Disease called Lewy body disease that not only attacked his body but also his mind.

I have a personal interest in this book. Someone I love deeply has been fighting Parkinson's for years, though thankfully not the same kind that st
Gramma Lo
Apr 04, 2008 Gramma Lo rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: individuals and families dealing with chronic, progressive illness
Recommended to Gramma Lo by: online support group
Shelves: medicine, memoirs
For individuals and families suffering from serious, chronic, progressive disease, this book offers empathy, some useful tips and information, and a bit of hope.

The author, a renowned Boston cardiologist once led a seemingly charmed life. But he has had to retire from medical practice because he has Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, a progressive, degenerative disease similar, in some respects, to Alzheimer's. With the help of a writing partner who put his often incoherent thoughts in
Dr. Graboys was a happily married, renowned cardiologist who also won a Nobel Prize. Then his wife died of cancer, and he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease AND Lewy Body Dementia shortly after remarrying, forcing his retirement from medicine.

This is a different sort of memoir in that it isn't really a linear biography of what happened when or why. Rather, the author chooses to take different aspects of his diseases and examine his personal experiences for the reader in each chapter. So in
This is an interesting book to learn the insight to Parkinsons, with lewy body dementia. Typical of someone with dementia, the book does get somewhat repetitive though I imagine it must have been somewhat therapeutic for him to write this book. That being said, it is helpful to a caregiver in that it might help them understand Parkinsons from the patients perspective. I found the chapter on what to do at the End Of Life to be helpful...too many people wait too long to have this discussion with f ...more
The account of how it feels to have a severe, debilitating, progressive disease, written while it is happening is insightful and enlightening. It is not an easy read because of the diagnosis of Parkinson's with dementia, but describes the symptoms and resulting problems in a very personal (as well as clinical) way. I am finding it we'll worth reading to help in understanding the emotional turmoil of chronic devastating disease, as well as the realities of ADL. But the book needed better editing ...more
The author, a renowned Boston cardiologist once led a seemingly charmed life. But he has had to retire from medical practice because he has Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, a progressive, degenerative disease similar, in some respects, to Alzheimer's. With the help of a writing partner who put his often incoherent thoughts in readable order, Graboys recounts his experiences as the disease has taken hold of his mind, his body, and his life. The courage and determination this project mu ...more
Fawaz Ali
Tom Graboys was one of Boston's renowned cardiologists. Few years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The book is a memoir of a doctor's struggle with a disease that has taken slowly his intellectual and cognitive abilities. What makes this book interesting is the fact that Dr Graboys, unlike ordinary patients, knows what is happening and what is going to happen to him.

Worth reading and will leave you wonder about the meaning of this life. It also stands as a reminder that you should
This book hit pretty close to home, seeing as my father, too, was a successful doctor whose wife died of cancer and whose career was cut short by Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Graboys came across as very honest, and because I don't feel like I know a lot about my dad's thoughts and feelings regarding his illness, that was refreshing. I'm giving him a copy, and I'll be very curious to see how he responds to it.
James Klagge
My father has had Parkinson's for several years and perhaps some aspects of dementia. The book puts into words many things my father does not express. I am glad I read it. My father read it at my suggestion (he hardly reads anything!) and said it presented some of his issues accurately and well. Fortunately he does not have Lewy Body disease.
Cried through the whole thing. No happy ending, but an incredibly honest and painful account of the author's experience as a Parkinson's/dementia patient. I met the author almost 15 years's hard to imagine this is the same person. What a testament this story is to the strength inside this man, and potentially inside all of us.
For how tough the subject is, this is not that hard to read. The author has been dealt a terrible hand, Parkinsons along with a mounting related dementia. He describes it lucidly (with the help of a co-author/writer) and poignantly. The medical details are fascinating, as well as the doctor's journey through the medical maze.
I'm a famous physician. Oh dear, I have Parkinson's and dementia. My patients all love me. Oh darn, I have Parkinson's and dementia. I am very handsome. Oh damn, I have Parkinson's and dementia. Everyone looks up to me. Oh shit, I have Parkinson's and dementia. I am a wonderful, wonderful, unusual person. How can this happen to me?
I loved this book, but then I work with those suffering from Dementia daily. I feel for them and their families it is so important to understand their lives. The author did not sugarcoat anything and was very brutally honest about his own denial and its impact on those around him personally and professionally.
With a diagnosis of Parkinson's and dementia a cardiologist fights back the diseases to find meaning in his life when he can't work anymore. Exercise, socializing and family support keep him going. I liked him because he brings up cases from his past and family scenarios and reflects on them.
Nick Klagge
Like my dad, I read this because my grandpa has Parkinson's but has never been much of a talker so I've never heard about it from him. This was a quick and unsentimental read. I definitely know more about Parkinson's now than I used to, so hopefully that will help me be a better grandson.
Memoir written by a top cardiologist who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and a form of dementia. He describes how the disease has affected his career, his marriage, his family and his daily life. What I learned from this book? Don't take anything for granted!
Very interesting book, especially for those of us who have people in our lives going through something similar. Inspirational in how to handle a chronic, progressive illness.
I lost interest after he noted how easy it was (because he is a handsome successful cardiologist) to find a new wife after losing his first wife of 30 years to cancer.
The author's ego got in the way of the account of the reality of living with Parkinsons. I wasn't sure whose voice was telling the story.
Had a good message, but extremely repetitive. Pretty much the whole book was summarized in the opening chapter / foreword.
It was a little interesting, but I would have liked more details and less about how upset he was to be sick. Sorry.
This book is useful for those who want to know what it feels like to have Parkinson's diseaase and dementia.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, A Chorus of Hope
  • Comeback
  • Don't Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back on My Feet You'll Be Sorry
  • Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones
  • Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring
  • The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule
  • The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland
  • Limbo: A Memoir
  • Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's
  • Called To Question:  A Spiritual Memoir
  • North to the Orient
  • What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol, and Story
  • The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
  • Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale
  • Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes
  • Walking a Literary Labryinth
  • The Scent Trail: A Journey of the Senses
  • A Buffalo in the House: The True Story of a Man, an Animal, and the American West

Share This Book