Summer is in full force, at least here in Arizona where temperatures are well over 100 degrees. Getting out of the heat — maybe even getting to the beach — and a typical slowing of the schedules often leads to more, or at least different, reading schedules and approaches.
If you’re looking for books to read at home or on vacation, check out these titles featured on upcoming July episodes of the “Read.Talk.Grow.” podcast.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Featured book: “Yours Truly” by Abby Jimenez
Featured expert: Dr. Mira Keddis
“Yours Truly” is a romance novel about two emergency medicine physicians, Briana and Jacob, who meet while navigating some major life events. Briana’s brother Benny is a young man diagnosed with kidney failure who is on dialysis and is a difficult match for a kidney donor. Briana, and eventually Jacob, navigate their own relationship while at the same time watching Benny’s journey, struggles and eventual triumph over his disease.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 37 million Americans. While many have few symptoms, others have severe disease and need dialysis or transplant. This is the case with Benny.
We are joined by Mayo Clinic nephrologist and educator Mira Keddis, M.D., who navigates chronic kidney disease with patients every day.
Dr. Keddis, Abby and I discuss how the CKD diagnosis and treatment affected Benny. We also talk about mental health with chronic disease. And finally, Abby’s book has inspired several readers to consider being kidney donors themselves.
Women and Alcohol
Featured book: “Quit Like a Woman” by Holly Whitaker
Featured expert: Kristen Schmidt, M.D.
“Quit Like a Woman” is part memoir, part inspiration and part nonfiction focused on the alcohol culture among women. Through the lens of Holly’s addiction and decision to stop drinking, she explores mixed messages around alcohol and what can be gained when women explore their decisions to drink alcohol — or to quit.
Alcohol use is common and often marketed in fun and even healthy ways. More women are drinking more alcohol now than in the past, and this comes with a cost.
Kirsten Schmidt, M.D., is a psychiatrist who is board certified in addiction medicine. She has open conversations often about substances and is knowledgeable about alcohol and its effects.
Dr. Schmidt, Holly and I talk about shifting from what’s lost by not drinking to what is gained (and it’s a lot!). We talk about alcohol and image, including being the fun friend or the wine expert. Finally, we consider what it takes to create a community that authentically supports women who decide not to drink.
Featured book: “The Change” by Kirsten Miller
Featured expert: Paru David, M.D., contributor to “The New Rules of Menopause“
“The Change” is a true thriller with a unique set of protagonists, and it’s a perfect summer reading choice. The novel features three women who have gone through menopause and experienced all of its symptoms and effects: vaginal bleeding, mood changes, weight shifts and adjusted sexuality. And while they are at it, they uncover a crime ring.
Menopause is a normal physiologic change in women’s lives when they stop having menstrual periods. All women who live long enough will go through menopause, but each woman’s experience will be her own. Many will have terrible, disruptive symptoms, and some will have none.
Paru David, M.D., is an internist who focuses on women’s health and is a certified menopause expert.
Dr. David, Kirsten and I discuss changing the narrative around menopause. Rather than a time when women shrivel and become less useful, it is a time of power for women who are experienced, wiser and often better resourced than their younger selves. We dissect this shift while discussing the many aspects of menopausal symptoms.
Fractured health care for women
Featured book: “Ladyparts” by Deborah Copaken
Featured experts: Mary I. O’Connor, M.D., and Kanwal L. Haq, M.S., authors of “Taking Care of You“
“Ladyparts” is a memoir and commentary on how women are treated as they navigate health care. Through the lens of Deb’s own experience and while navigating a map of her various organs and systems, we see the difficulties in how women are treated in health care and their challenges to access the care that they need.
Dr. O’Connor, Kanwal, Deborah and I explore what happens when women aren’t believed when they tell health care professionals what they are experiencing. We also consider how women are treated with many medications and procedures that were not studied in women because we were excluded from science until quite recently. The conversation is also a call for change in the system to better serve women and to provide women with resources to advocate for themselves more effectively.