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Chasing My Cure: A Doctor's Race to Turn Hope into Action; A Memoir

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  104 reviews
The powerful memoir of a young doctor and former college athlete diagnosed with a rare disease who spearheaded the search for a cure—and became a champion for a new approach to medical research.

“A page-turning chronicle of living, nearly dying, and discovering what it really means to be invincible in hope.”—Angela Duckworth,New York Timesbestselling author ofGrit

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Ballantine Books
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Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019

...“will” is that extra fight that emerges when there seems to be no more hope.

Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action is an inspirational memoir that follows a medical student’s harrowing deterioration from healthy athlete to a person with multiple system organ failure. Chasing My Cure reads like a medical thriller and I could not put it down. There is also a love story that I found especially moving.

This book is an emotional roller-coaster ride that is a heart-wrenching
David Fajgenbaum seemed to have a charmed life. He had a loving and supportive family and a close knit group of friends. He’d been the state champion weight lifter in high school, was the quarterback of the Georgetown University football team, had graduated magna cum laude, and was dating the girl of his dreams.

But when his mother died of brain cancer, his grief was overwhelming. He decided that he would pursue a career in medicine and help find a cure for cancer. Then fate dealt him another
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Chasing My Cure” is an amazing story of one Doctor’s race against time to find a treatment for Castleman Disease before it takes his own life. It is a story of courage and perseverance even when the odds didn’t work in his favor. And more than just one man’s story it speaks to the practice of medicine, the state of medical research, the limitations of our current system as well as the hope of that system and the difference one person truly can make. It is a thoughtful and optimistic book but ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While inspiring, this is not a book to read for enjoyment or escapism. Heavy on technical medical terminology and treatments so most likely of greatest interest to those suffering from a "rare" disease and/ or considering participating in a trial treatment. The rest of us have to hope that neither we nor anyone we know will never have to undergo the medical traumas the author did while chasing his cure.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an inspiration! The author is clearly a brilliant scientist, doctor and researcher who is also a great storyteller and he has the rare knack of making complex topics understandable for the lay reader. But even if you choose to skim over the more technical science you will still get so much from this book. I read it in one day (guess I’ll be doing my client work over the weekend;). After reading this book you’ll never forget the importance of turning your hope into action.

Thank you to
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For its incredible telling, for its miraculous course, for the author’s indomitable fortitude,4 stars.

The writing was not that wonderful for me, but then again, ‘it’s not why I chose to read it. No matter how Fejgenbaum puts it, I struggled the whole length of the book with what seemed like an odd pride that I cannot exactly describe. His choices were at times frustrating.

The journey that he continues to embark upon against IMDC is admirable, so brave, so relentless.

Powerful story of what
Wow! Chasing My Cure was in interesting read I’m still trying to wrap my head around. I have multiple rare diseases (or perhaps one overarching and yet unnamed, this tends to be my personal theory) and while very different from the author’s my own are also very life threatening and life limiting. As a result, I find myself drawn to medical and illness related memoirs and this one really stood out for me.

I think I like these sorts of books because I’m always looking for people who are like me,
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed this book.

I read it in the span of a day. The writing is compelling and humorous, despite discussing a situation that is anything but. Those who know me know that I am a total biology nerd, which is part of the reason why I loved this book so much. With that said, I am an immunology & infectious disease major and this book reminded me of why I chose this field to focus in.

For people who may not have as much of a biology background as myself, I feel like this is a very easy
Natalie Herr
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a rollercoaster of a memoir! It is a true story, an amazing look into the world of rare disease patients. The author is both patient and doctor, researcher and test case. I learned a lot about Castleman Disease and medical research in an accessible way (aka- the medical stuff wasn’t too over my head). I also got an intimate look into the heart and mind of a man well acquainted with death and how that changed the way he lives. Get this book!!

*Full disclosure: The author is my cousin’
Heather Bennett
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chasing My Cute is a eye opening experience this young doctor had to go through fighting Castleman disease. His own struggles fighting it and trying to find a cure. A very interesting and enlightening book.
Jena Henry
Jun 25, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
“Fear disintegrates. Doubt disorganized. Hope clears the way…”

So writes Dr. David Fajgenbaum, the author of a truly heroically inspiring book. Part romance, part medical thriller, and all memoir and true, this book will leave you in awe. How the Beast of football became the Beast of rare diseases is incredible.

David played Division I college football. His mother died of brain cancer while he was still in college and it understandably rocked him. He vowed to become a doctor to fight cancer. And
“Hope is a force, but it isn’t a superpower.” - David F (favorite quote)

David has a tremendous life story.... this book covers the years that he was in Med school and diagnosed with rare autoimmune condition: Castleman (IMCD) disease.

I don’t know if his story would have interested me if I weren’t rocking THREE really mean autoimmune diseases myself. But I am, so it did.

Being a doctor... ya can’t be surprised that his memoir reads like a medical journal. He’s gets very deep and thoroughly into
Michelle Arredondo
This truly is a powerful memoir. One that will stay with me for awhile. I was so gripped by this book that I passed my copy on to my cousin that has been a nurse for many years. I am hoping that she loves it enough to recommend this to everyone she knows at the hospitals that she works back and forth at.

Dr. Fajgenbaum is not only a remarkable and heroic and inspiring doctor. He is also a brilliant writer and storyteller of his life. I was amazed at how good this book was. His voice is
Sylvia Ward
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
4.5/5 stars. This is a must-read for anyone pursuing jobs in medicine, and for everyone dealing with a rare disease. David Fajgenbaum is author, med student, doctor, researcher, patient and guinea pig for the rare Castleman Disease. Well-written; it’s neither clinical nor maudlin as the memoir divulges the unknown world of clinical trials and the surprisingly unscientific approach to treatment protocols. I was rooting for Dr. Fajgenbaum from start to finish. I think it’s important for everyone ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I received a copy of "Chasing my Cure" from the goodreads, giveaway. David Fajgenbaum was in medical school when he came down with a mysterious illness. One that had him in the ICU close to death. His lymph nodes swelled, he gained over 50 pounds in fluid. It took a lot of testing and he nearly died but was eventually diagnosed with a unknown disease called " Casltleman's disease" after weeks in the hospital he managed to start to get better. From this day on he devoted his life to researching ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Fajgenbaum's story was that of a medical mystery meet love story meet the underdog wins story. What an amazing story of a man knocked down by disease, but then launched into battle against that disease for himself as well as others. Knowing far too many people with rare diseases, I'm grateful to learn of his work and how he has shaken things up for Castleman's and hope how they've done things sends shock waves through rare disease research to help many patients worldwide.
An insightful look at battling diseases that have difficulty being pinpointed because of their insidious ness and makeup, so when one of these diseases hits an up and coming doctor who had also had his mother die of brain cancer when he was in college, he was ready to put science in his corner to figure it out.

He ends up with a name and marker number and longer periods of remissions that will likely have an impact not only on his disease but others. A mix of other medical biographies of this
Jan Plain
3.8 stars. A well told story of a young man’s battle with a horrible disease. I was amazed by the number of times he was at “death’s door” only to pull through yet again. My only complaint with the book was that for me it was a bit too detailed on the scientific end, but I recognize that people who have this disease want to know all that they can about it because it is so rare.
Jillian Vincent
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an inspiring read. David’s perspective will make you take hold of the moments you have in order to benefit someone else. Even though I have never heard of this disease before, I found this utterly fascinating. I learned so much about rare diseases and how they are currently treated, but also I learned how to take active hope in a situation. Recommend to all.
Kate Grace
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Fajgenbaum’s intensity - as a physician-scientist, a storyteller, a loved one, and an activist - registers on every single page of his memoir. An unputdownable read.

Thank you to David Fajgenbaum, Ballantine Books/Random House, and Goodreads Giveaways for my advance copy of Chasing My Cure.
Laura Cee
Chasing My Cure by David Fajgenbaum is a truly inspirational memoir.

An accomplished individual by any standard, David is struck down by a medical enigma just as he is poised to make his dream of become a doctor a reality. From medical student, to patient, to advocate, Fajgenbaum shares his ongoing quest for a cure.
Chasing My Cure chronicles Fajgenbaum's diagnosis of Castleman disease, including his helplessness at learning of a lack of treatment options. Inspired to action, he revolutionizes
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When his mother died of a vicious brain tumor while he was in college, David Fajgenbaum decided to devote his life to taking down cancer. But before he finished his residency, it would be his own life he was fighting to save.

It started with an odd fatigue, a constant need to sleep. And some swollen lymph nodes. But even as he tried to convince himself everything was okay, even as he put off getting bloodwork done or getting CAT scans, because he wanted to finish his current rotation, a part of
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When I finally started to read Chasing My Cure, by author and doctor David Fajgenbaum, I had decided I wasn't going to like it. It was going to be boring and I wondered why had I requested it. I read a little and then I read a little bit more and I just kept reading. It was fascinating and should not have been placed in the same category as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal or Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air. Fajgenbaum's moving chronicle to find a cure for his own sickness before it kills
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written and relatable book for anyone either in the medical field or with a major medical condition. As a medical professional myself, I could completely relate to many of the situations that the author found himself in through the telling of his story, even the strange comfort in sitting down before a long study session in a library, at a long table with the supplies at hand. It brought back memories. The telling of his own story, how he came to work on Castleman Disease through ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a story that centers around the formidable and esoteric task of assaulting a rare and very deadly disease out of an ICU room and into the labs, boardrooms, and halls of academe that are the engines that drive medical research, it is the rather unexpected treat of having such an unassumingly human guide that makes the journey especially rewarding for me. I found something unusually captivating in the way Dr. Fajgenbaum shares his personal affection and gratitude for his family, his friends, ...more
Fans of books like Being Mortal and When Breath Becomes Air will definitely want to read Chasing My Cure. I love reading a book that can move me, teach me, and leave me a more compassionate person then when I started it. You can’t help but be affected by this book, and I know it will touch your heart as it did mine. You can pick up your copy September 10th.
Chasing My Cure is written by David Fajgenbaum and the book is about his journey with a life threatening medical condition. David was a
Heidi Lynn’s BookReviews
First, I would like to thank David Fajgenbaum, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for providing me this book so I may bring you this review.

Chasing my Cure A Doctor’s Race To Turn Hope Into Action’s author David Fajgenbaum is a must read book if you like Medical Memoirs like I do. David Fajgenbaum is the bravest man I know to open up his heart and tell his story the way that he did. He is also the strongest men I know who didn’t give up on finding a cure for his mysterious disease. At times it
Mary Vogelsong
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review of Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action; A Memoir, by David Fajgenbaum

David Fajenbaum was, by his own admission, an ordinary kid. He wasn’t especially talented academically or athletically, but he did have an almost autistic-like hyper focus which allowed him to spend hours watching game films after his football teammates had already gone home. It allowed him to power through study sessions when other friends had wandered off to watch TV.

It was this hyper focus that
Jessica - The Perks of Pages
As a current pharmacy student I could really relate to Fajgenbaum. I remember what it was like to see my first patient and then help my first patient. I have also had the unfortunate experience of being the patient, where no one knows what is wrong. I remember the first time I was in the hospital, so many tests were being run and I looked up at the wall and thought to myself “I’m going to die”. This was the single most terrifying and relieving moment of my life. I was 18 and couldn’t believe I ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Fajgenbaum's book is about what can happen when you are so sick that you almost die five different times, but the doctors don't really understand what you have or how to treat it. Luckily for Fajgenbaum, he was in his last year of medical school while this was all happening to him, and he had the resources, skills, drive, and connections to try to do something about it.

My own child has a life-shortening illness with some treatments but no cure, so I could relate to a lot of what he wrote
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David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, is a graduate of Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School. An assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the associate director for the Orphan Disease Center, he is cofounder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, as well as the cofounder of the ...more
“hope cannot be a passive concept. It’s a choice and a force; hoping for something takes more than casting out a wish to the universe and waiting for it to occur. Hope should inspire action.” 1 likes
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