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Author Nancy Sharp Recalls Columbia Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Sisti

author Nancy Sharp
Author Nancy Sharp

Nancy Sharp has become an advocate for “bold living” in the years since her late husband’s battles with brain cancer. The award-winning author spoke earlier this month at the 92nd St Y about the benefits of living this way. The program  featured Sharp in conversation with FOX news anchor Arthel Neville.

In her memoir Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living, Sharp writes about the time she and her husband spent at Columbia-Presbyterian. And she recalls the gentle expertise of their neurosurgeon, a young Dr. Michael Sisti.

Years have passed since then. Dr. Sisti is now co-director of The Gamma Knife Center, but he still clearly remembers Sharp and her husband Brett. After reading a pre-publication excerpt about Brett’s ependymoma diagnosis, Dr. Sisti wrote the following in a letter to Sharp:

“Everything came back in a flash…in an instant I realized I had forgotten nothing about our first meeting and subsequent struggles to fight Brett’s cancer.”

An ependymoma diagnosis is the starting point for memoir Both Sides Now

In Both Sides Now, Sharp explores the otherworldliness and tumult of those struggles. Ultimately she synthesizes the powerful wisdom she gained from them, turning her experiences into a plainspoken and passionate call for “bold living.”

Sharp’s account moved Dr. Sisti also to reflect on the nature of those experiences:

“The surreal and dislocating nature of ‘the first contact’ with cancer never loses its potent sting. It’s such a cruel disease to everyone it touches. Cancer may be relentless, but so are we…Perhaps it’s this terrible struggle that ultimately enables us to heal.”

Nancy Sharp is a writer, speechwriter, and keynote speaker. You can follow her writing on The Huffington Post and NancySharp.netBoth Sides Now, published in 2014, has received seven literary honors.

Dr. Michael Sisti is the James G. McMurtry Associate Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery at Columbia University Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital. He specializes in the treatment of complex brain tumors, meningiomas, and acoustic neuromas. Read more about Dr. Sisti on his bio page here.

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