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By Holly Lynn

I had a health scare after Christmas. After having the worst headache of my life, I had a stroke and ended up in the hospital after a helicopter life flight. You never know when your life can turn on a dime!  Needless to say, I have been giving a lot of thought to my health.

Since then I have been reading books on brain surgery. Dr. Henry Marsh is a British neurosurgeon who writes about his life and work with exquisite detail. A pioneer in awake brain surgery, he is one of the world’s most famous brain surgeons.

His books are revelations about life, death and thought. With real compassion, he writes about his patients and their surgeries. Some are miracles and others are unpredictable tragedies. The very idea that something the consistency of cream cheese (our brain) can control our thoughts, our personalities, our mobility and our bodies, still fascinates him. In his book “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery”, he ponders the meaning of life and the human soul. He is the subject of an award-winning documentary entitled “The English Surgeon”.

As the senior surgeon at his hospital, he contemplates his retirement and what he will do with his time. In his book, “Admissions: A Life in Brain surgery”, he purchases the lockkeeper’s cottage on the Thames and plans on renovating it and turning it into a workshop for woodworking and beekeeping. He then travels to Nepal to help his friend Dev with his neurological hospital in Kathmandu. There he operates with outdated equipment and still manages to save many lives.

The most important lesson, he says, is knowing when to operate and when to walk away. Wise words from a medical pioneer.

 

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