Puts Spotlight on Raynaud’s Disease
When novelist Seth B. Goldsmith sought a reason why the protagonist of his novel might seek to leave her home in Alaska, he asked his dermatologist brother for ideas. “Raynaud’s!” he said. Dr. Goldsmith jumped on the suggestion and Raynaud’s disease figures prominently in Goldsmith’s book, The Rabbi’s Holocaust Heroes Museum.
In fact, the blurb on the back cover of the book, the second of Goldsmith’s three-part series featuring the “Rabbi of Resurrection Bay,” begins, “The idyllic life of the Rabbi of Resurrection Bay, Chani Kahn, is shattered by a cold sensitive disease…”
Dr. Goldsmith, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is a retired attorney and the author/editor of some 20 books, including the best-selling 1990 guide, Choosing a Nursing Home. His books include novels and texts about his specialty, health care and management.
The rabbi’s diagnosis comes early in the book and is covered in some detail. It will be particularly welcome to Raynaud’s sufferers that the subject is taken very seriously by the characters in the book, most particularly by the rabbi’s surgeon husband, Dr. Marc Cohn. He never dismisses or minimizes the diagnosis or discomfort his wife experiences.
Author Goldsmith said it was important to show the importance of having an advocate. “When you have something like Raynaud’s or any other health issue, you have enough problems dealing with that. Hopefully, your advocate is your spouse, or someone close who’s on the case, helping to arrange treatments, meeting with doctors, taking notes, etc.”
The Rabbi’s Holocaust Heroes Museum weaves the Raynaud’s “story” throughout, as it takes the reader from Alaska to Israel, Morocco, the Philippines and the United States. Along the way, the rabbi and her husband embark on a secret mission in Morocco, grapple with a trumped-up medical malpractice lawsuit by a white supremacist, unearth a Holocaust-related family mystery, and set out to establish a museum in Seward, Alaska to honor heroes who saved thousands of lives during the Holocaust. This absorbing historical novel weaves together the past, present and future of the Kahn-Cohn family.
In doing his research, Dr. Goldsmith contacted the Raynaud’s Association (and credits founder and chair Lynn Wunderman in the book’s acknowledgements section). “The Raynaud’s Association was like one-stop shopping,” he said. “Lynn was extremely helpful.”
He said he was “somewhat familiar” with Raynaud’s but was surprised to learn how common it is. “It doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in terms of research dollars, though,” he lamented.
Editor’s Note: We agree with Dr. Goldsmith that Raynaud’s needs more attention, and are grateful to him for covering the topic in such a sensitive manner. His book is available from Amazon.