Ice bound : a doctor's incredible battle for survival at the South Pole

Jerri Nielsen with Maryanne Vollers.

The Antarctic winter, with temperatures 100ø below zero, shuts supply lines down completely; conditions are too treacherous for planes or boats & the only connection with the rest of the world is satellite hook-up. During the long winter of 1999, Dr. Nielsen, the only physician on a staff of forty-one people, discovered a lump in her breast. Consulting via satellite e-mail with doctors in the U.S., she was forced to perform a biopsy & in June began to treat herself with chemotherapy, in order to insure that she could survive until conditions permitted her rescue in October. A daring rescue by the Air National Guard ensued, who landed, dropped off a replacement physician, & in less than five minutes took off with Dr. Nielsen. Set in one of the most remote & desolate yet strikingly beautiful landscapes on earth, Jerri Nielsen's narrative of her transforming experiences is a thrilling adventure of researchers & scientists embattled by a hostile environment, a chronicle of the marvels -- & limits -- of modern medical technology, & a penetrating exploration of the dynamics of an isolated, intensely connected community faced with adversity. But at its core this is a powerfully moving drama of one woman's voyage of self-discovery & courage & the fierce dedication of scores of colleagues -- both known & unknown to her -- whose aid proved to be her salvation.



Breast Cancer ResourcesPosted October 25, 2011