The Smooth River is the remarkable story of how a well-known public relations expert and her husband met her stage 4 pancreatic cancer head-on. With vigor and strength, they deployed all they and medicine had to offer. But, in contrast to narrow conventional approaches, the couple developed a far more expansive view of what strength means in response to a crisis for which there are no medical cures. They called this the Smooth River.
This clear-eyed transcendent perspective was so vital that they wouldn't let anything disrupt it-not cancer's lethal march, not the strongest chemos and their failures to work, not the frequent episodes of severe pain, not how society expected them to think or act, not the process of dying itself.
The Smooth River demonstrates how to treat one's life as bigger-and far more important- than any medical condition, any tragedy, any setback of any kind. With effusive warmth, refreshing candor and practical detail, it describes how to personalize Medical and Life Plans that affirm the value of a patient's being and guide their loved ones. Its invaluable lessons show how to face the possibility of dying with sanctity and comfort, to view it as an opportunity for personal growth, finding inspiration and intense beauty in the experience-in life itself. There are lessons in the Smooth River approach for everyone.
The Smooth River amplifies the important messages of Dr. Atul Gawande in Being Mortal, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in On Death and Dying, Paul Kalanithi in When Breath Becomes Air, and Julie Yip-Williams in The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After.