Review of Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action

A memoir of family, love, determination, resiliency, hope, and always questioning and following the data.

Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
5 min readAug 12, 2020


What is Castleman disease? Read Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action and be astonished by David Fajgenbaum’s harrowing medical journey with this deadly disease.

That he lived to write about it, and become a leading authority and advocate for finding treatment and a cure for Castleman disease, is simply a miracle.

Chasing My Cure is an engrossing and compelling page-turning memoir. Fajgenbaum writes as a physician, scientist, and patient.

While in medical school he becomes a patient with unexplainable symptoms, blood moles, and a fluid filled body. His organs begin to shut down.

Doctors are stumped. Could it be lymphoma? Is it an autoimmune disease?

While a medical student, he also delivers a baby. A compassionate medical student, he gives hope to George, an older patient who has terminal brain cancer and is suicidal.

Fajgenbaum’s account of how he connected to George and helped him to feel alive again is heart-warming.

George missed his daughter Ashley. This became apparent after Fajgenbaum gave him a writing exercise — just write one sentence. The sentences were always about how much he missed his daughter.

With George’s permission Fajgenbaum calls Ashley to let her know her dad is doing better. The next day Ashley calls her dad. George is thrilled.

Fajgenbaum also shares with George what it was like for him when his mother had brain cancer.

Of their connection to each other, Fajgenbaum writes,

This was the first time I may have really helped one of my patients. And it wasn’t even a complicated procedure or coup of surgical dexterity. I hadn’t uncovered medical mystery. I simply let my hope and desire for George to be happy during his final days direct my actions. George and I had gotten through a breakthrough by doing some paper work. That’s all it was. The things that sustain us need not be anything more.



Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

My debut memoir Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times is published. Website: