Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ice Bound by Dr. Jerri Nielsen

I picked up this book for a couple of reasons: a.) I remembered the story from ten years ago and wanted to get the inside scoop and b.) I have a fascination with isolation. Although in this case the isolation isn't about being completely alone; it's about sharing isolation from the rest of the world with forty other people as 'The Winter-overs' do at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Interesting! I wondered how the social dynamics work in a situation like that, living in close quarters in a deathly cold environment.

But of course the main focus of the book is Dr. Nielsen's brave battle with breast cancer that struck just a few weeks after the station shut down for the winter. She was the only doctor there and had no other option than to biopsy herself and begin chemotherapy until an emergency evacuation could be arranged for early spring. It's a remarkable story. As soon as I finished the book I went to google her name and was sad to see that she passed away last summer after a ten-year battle with cancer.

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