In this revelatory memoir, Doctor Cynthia Li shares the truth about her disabling autoimmune illness, the limitations of Western medicine, and her hard-won lessons on healing—mind, body, and spirit.
Li had it all: a successful career in medicine, a loving marriage, children on the horizon. But it all came crashing down when, after developing an autoimmune thyroid condition, mysterious symptoms began consuming her body. Test after test came back "within normal limits," baffling her doctors—and baffling herself. Housebound with two young children, Li began a solo odyssey from her living room couch to find a way to heal.
Brave New Medicine details the physical and existential crisis that forces a young doctor to question her own medical training. She dives into the root causes of her illness, learning to unlock her body's innate intelligence and wholeness. Li relates her story with the insight of a scientist, and the humility and candor of a patient, exploring the emotional and spiritual shifts beyond the physical body.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by autoimmune disease. While complex conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are gaining attention, patients struggling with these mysterious ailments remain largely dismissed by their doctors, families, and friends. This is the harsh reality that doctor-turned-"difficult patient" Li faced firsthand.
Drawing on cutting-edge science, ancient healing arts, and the power of intuition, this memoir offers support, validation, and a new perspective for doctors and patients alike. Through her story, you can find the wisdom and heart to start your own healing journey, too.
Cynthia Li, MD, graduated from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and has practiced internal medicine in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, and St. Anthony Medical Clinic for the homeless. She currently serves on the faculty of the Healer’s Art program at the UCSF School of Medicine, and has a private practice in integrative and functional medicine. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and their two daughters.
Foreword writer Arlie Russell Hochschild, PhD, is a sociologist and author of Strangers in Their Own Land.